Saturday, February 28, 2009

"The Rocky" shutting down

My friend Judy Longshaw, who works in the University Relations office at Winthrop, has called my attention to another sad day for print journalism in Colorado and the rest of the U.S.

One of Colorado's best daily newspapers (winner of four Pulitzer Prizes) is the Rocky Mountain News--affectionately known as "The Rocky."

"The Rocky" ceased to operate this week, with corporate heavyweights citing a failing economy and sharply declining ad revenues, among other things, as the culprits.

Denver, Colorado, still will have the broadsheet "Denver Post," but lots of people in Colorado loved the taboid "Rocky."

The pictures that accompanying this blog post help tell the story of the drama in the Rocky's newsroom earlier this week.

One curious note, brought to my attention by Paul Osmundson, editor of The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald: See that guy with the gray hair typing diligently as the newsroom folks are told by the newspaper's owners that they will no longer have a place to work?

And see him again, in that other photo--still at work at his desk?

Wonder if he's writing the paper's obituary?

By golly, the story has to get written, regardless of whether there's a paper to print it in!

One other note--not entirely unrelated: I ran into Terry Plumb last night. Plumb is the long-time editor (now retired) of The Herald in Rock Hill.

He informed me that Sunday (March 1) will be the last edition of The Herald printed on the press in Rock Hill. This is after about 150 years of printing our community's daily newspaper here. This was our press (I call it "our press" because it's been in Rock Hill so very long and has amazed so many people here--so many school groups, business owners, ordinary citizens and others who have toured The Herald over the years.) But alas (another sign of corporate or chain owned newspapers) our press will be disassembled, packed up and moved out of town. Meanwhile, The Herald will be printed on the big press in Charlotte--at the Charlotte Observer (sister paper, as of a few years ago, of The Herald).

A sad day for Rock Hill.

A sad day for Denver, Colorado.

A sad day for print journalism.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Censorship at Winthrop University

Mark Hamilton, a faculty colleague at Winthrop University, recently has been having a bit of friction with University Relations (the PR arm of Winthrop). Seems he thought his artwork images ought to be distributed by University Relations' enewsletter.

University Relations said it would distribute information about his artwork, but not the artwork itself. Their reasoning: some high school students (prospective Winthrop enrollees) get the enewsletter and Hamilton's artwork (which includes nudity) would be inappropriate for such a young, vulnerable audience.

Censorship of an artist's work or is this something else?

Here, in part, is what Hamilton recently said:

"This censorship by University Relations extends to not only written and or spoken word but to works of Art. This past year my wife and I had some works on display at an exhibition at USC in Columbia. I notified University Relations and they asked for details and images for University Publications. The work was submitted to University Relations and I was told that they would run a blurb but no images since the images contained nudity. It seems funny that USC would publish them in a beautiful 4-color brochure, my work has been published in over fifty international publications yet I am censored by my parent institution....."

Ok, here's my take.

If it walks like a censor and it quacks like a censor and it smells like a censor, I'd say, it's (well, you can finish the sentence...)

Long live collegiate artists like Hamilton who remind us of the preciousness and fragility our First Amendment freedoms.

The above accompanying photo, by the way, can be found at Jennifer and Mark Hamilton's Web site.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Quote of the week--from The Waffle House

Times are tough all over, but at The Waffle House in Rock Hill, you might be able to order more than just a plate of waffles.

That brings me to my quote of the week--from a story Saturday in The (Rock Hill) Herald by Toya Graham about marijuana sales at the Waffle House on Cherry Road in Rock Hill.

Here are a few graphs from Toya's piece:

….An anonymous caller tipped police that Stegall and Toomey were selling marijuana inside the Waffle House at 2553 Cherry Road, where Toomey was employed as a cook, said Marvin Brown, commander of York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.

"You can't just sit in a Waffle House and sell marijuana," Brown said. "I know the economy is bad. They're going to have to find some other way to make money."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sunshine, warmth and golf in Rock Hill

If golf isn't the hardest game in the world, I don't know what is.

I tried playing today after a few months hiatus.

Didn't do very well, but I lOVE to try. (Had to get out in the sunshine and warmth and enjoy the great S.C. outdoors after the recent cold snap.)

I swing and sometimes I don't hit the ball. I cuss--sometimes even saying the "firetruck" word. I flail about and think to myself, "Why do I keep trying at this...?

Several times today, when I hit the ball, I pulled it way left, or I barely nicked it, driving the ball way right.

Not a great day today hitting the ball at the Winthrop golf course, but a satisfying one--with fresh air, invigorating scenery and friendly people. No high pressure stakes at this course--just weekend golfers out of a few hours of recreation.

This brings me to this thought: How does Tiger Woods do it so effortlessly and beautifully?

I watched him, in person, two years ago when he won the Wachovia Championship, pocketing $1 million-plus for that victory, in Charlotte.

The man is superman around and on the greens. And off the tees, he hits it a mile.

So he has all the tools, all the gifts.

What you maybe didn't know: Tiger hits hundreds of balls on the driving range--after he plays 18 holes. He puts in just as much practice with his putter and chipper.

The best never sit on their laurels.

Here's to Tiger Woods, the best at the hardest game in the world.

I'm in awe of the guy.