Monday, February 23, 2009

Another response to my at-home dads ineligible under proposed bill in the MO house story. Looks like I'm getting responses from dads from across the U.S.

Dear Ms. Hollenbeck:

I read the posting on your TV station's website regarding the bill being sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Davis. I find this incredibly hard to believe that a representative of a state congress actually believes that only mothers can be nurturers and should not be included in this bill. It boggles my mind that this is really happening in this day and age. Fathers can absolutely be just as nurturing as a mother, this is completely insulting. ALL at home parents should be included in a bill like this, no one should be excluded because of gender.

As a full time stay at home father of nearly 12 years, the organizer of a large at home dads group in Washington DC and the secretary of a non-profit for at home fathers, I am quite sure that fathers can be just as good of nurturers as mothers. There are only two biological differences that fathers can't do and only mothers can, that's it! There are hundreds of thousands of full time at home dads, and even more primary care dads that are the full time caregivers for their children. I cannot imagine anyone actually believing that a father could not nurture their children and therefore be excluded from a bill designed to help at home parents. I would truly like to see you do a follow up piece on this story about the stay at home fathers being left out of this bill. The voices of the at home fathers should be heard on this subject, more than just the two comments in the story.

Please consider doing a follow up to this story and do more in depth reporting from the stay at home father's side.


Mike Stilwell, Secretary

Daddyshome, Inc.

Stay-At-Home dads react to my story

Check out all the responses I have recieved from the last dayside shift I completed at KOMU. Last Friday, I did a story about a bill moving through the Missouri house which would give $600 a year to stay-at-home moms to be used towards self betterment (eduaction/career jumpstart) after her kids have grown. If passed, the bill states that the money could not be claimed by stay-at-home dads, because the house representative (R-O'Fallon Cynthia Davis) says dads are not natural nurturers. Stay-at-home dads were the focus of my story. You can find my original story here.

Date: 2/23/2009 10:29:37 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: fredclemensjr@

I can't believe what I just read! I am a stay at home dad, with twin girls and I HAD to quit my job to stay home with my daughters because of the shape of the economy and the cost of day care. I am outraged to think that someone could be so narrow minded to not be able to look at the BIG picture. My outlook on stay at home parents has done a 180, since I became a SAHD, and now I wouldn't change it. It is not an easy job taking care of 2 children, house keeping, and etc. In our changing society we all have to come together and realize that this is not the 50's-60's any more and men and women should be treated as equal in both the home and work force. Woman have been fighting for equal rights for a long time, and they are finally getting their voices heard. Do Stay at Home Dads need to start doing the same? GEE, I HOPE NOT! LETS GET THIS ISSUE STRAIGHTENED OUT, AND FAST. Thank You


Reply To:

Rep. Davis,

While I applaud your bill to pay stay-at-home moms $600 per year in
scholarships for each year for each year they care for their children,
I am appalled at your notion that only mothers can nurture their
children. I believe that your argument is outdated and only furthers
the "uninvolved father" stereotype. Just as women have proven capable
of success in the workplace, men are certainly capable in the home.

My husband George has been a stay-at-home dad for 6 years. From day
one he has cared for our sons, making breakfast, lunch and dinner,
convincing them at 3am that monsters don't exist, kissing their
boo-boos, drying tears, and wiping noses and bottoms. Our boys, of
whom we are very proud, are the result of a caring, involved father.

It's an insult to every father, either working or stay-at-home, to say
that they are incapable of nurturing. I would encourage you to
research your position with real-life stay-at-home families before
cementing your opinion.

Angela Rust


Date: 2/23/2009 11:51:26 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: lpapp@
Reply To:
To: sjh4h5@ , athomedad@

Dear Ms. Hollenbeck:

Please inform Rep. Cynthia Davis that I am a stay at home dad and I do "nurture" my daughter and to think that fathers cannot and do not is pure and simply wrong in her thinking. Besides, isn't this discrimination leaving stay-at-home dads out of the bill for doing the exact same thing the stay-at-home moms are? I cook, I clean, I take care of my child, and nurture her, while my wife works full time.

Maybe she should think twice, and three times, or even ten times, about this. Apparently she also thought buying a truck for personal use with state money was a good idea too. She's extremely lucky to still have her job.

A Stay-at-Home Nurturing Father and Damn Proud of It,
Les Papp

Subject: RE: Rep. Cynthia Davis Parenting bill
Date: 2/23/2009 11:57:29 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: rcornelius2@

Hi. I just read about Rep. Davis' bill for $600 payment to stay at home mom's but not stay at home dad's. This is absurd and the lady is an idiot. As a Republican stay at home dad in Texas, I can't believe the stupidity of this woman. I have always said even before being a parent, and now more so as a SAHD, that being a stay at home parent has to be the hardest job of all. It tests your stamina, will, determination, mind, abilities, and more. This bill would be discriminatory at the onset. The FMLA already says that parents, male and female alike, must get equal benefits.

Please make sure you report to the people of your state that this is wrong and discriminates against dads everywhere. At a time that our society and country has realized how important a dad, albeit both parents, is to a child's upbringing. If there is to be some type of legislation like this, then it has to be all inclusive of both mom and dad. However, I believe this type of legislation is ridiculous and socialistic at best, and coming from a Republican woman. I'm confused. It is wrong and a waste of taxpayers dollars. We already have a welfare system where you can get paid for having babies.

Subject: Davis is an IDIOT!
Date: 2/23/2009 11:59:57 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: bronner@
Reply To:
To: sjh4h5@ , athomedad@

Ms. Hollenbeck, I have been the primary care-giver of my daughter since the
day she was born. She is now six, and it's been the best job of my life.
To think that this Davis buffoon thinks she can nurture a child...and I laughable.

I, for instance, have never allowed MY child to run around unattended near
busy streets. And Child Protective Services has never been called to MY
home to return a lost child. Apparently this is the level of nurturing that
Ms. Davis is so proud of.

My daughter is a fantastic child: caring, compassionate, upbeat and joyful.
And she attends a special school for the Gifted, after having blown the roof
off her IQ tests. If this clown Davis thinks she can do better, she's
delusional as well as misguided.

As a member of the media, I implore you to do everything in your power to
stop her ridiculous legislation and to shine a spotlight on her ignorance.

Thank you,
George Bronner

Interview with Andy Hall, media giraffe

This is the transcribed interview with Andy Hall (as mentioned below). What a wonderful rolemodel for those in the journalism field. After speaking with Hall, I am inspired to someday fund a similar non-profit center for investigative reporting. I promise this interview is worth the read!

Name and Title: Andy Hall, Executive Director and Founder of Center for Investigative Reporting in Madison, Wisconsin
Address: 5006 Vilas Communication Hall
821 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 606-262-3642


Andy Hall grew up in Indiana and graduated from Indiana University in 1981. He worked for seven months for the New York Times as a “copyboy”. Following that, he worked as a reporter for eight years at the Arizona Republic, covering a variety of topics. He was also a part of the investigative team, which broke the Keating Five scandal. In 1991, he began working at the Wisconsin State Journal, working as an investigative reporter and then as a K-12 education reporter. For the past ten years, he has taught journalism and mass communication courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Motivation behind starting center:

Hall was looking for a means to pursue his two great passions for investigative reporting and teaching. He got into journalism because he “wanted to do some good.” He was inspired by Chuck Lewis, who started the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C. The business model for the Center for Public Integrity was replicated for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Reporting.

Funding the center:

The center was initially funded in January 2009 by Hall’s severance check from the Wisconsin State Journal. He had assembled the pieces for the center over two years, and was ready to start working there full time, so he left the Wisconsin State Journal. Luckily, the journal supported his decision and worked out a severance agreement with Hall. The WCIJ just recently received a 100,000 start-up grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism program. WCIJ is currently accepting money from organizations and individuals. It will not accept donations from companies. It hope to set up a system for micro-payments for citizens to donate to causes they see as worthy.

Purpose of center:

The purpose of WCIJ is to help increase the amount and quality of investigative reporting in Wisconsin. The Center’s mission is to “protect the vulnerable, expose wrongdoing and seek solutions to ongoing problems.” They will focus on issues that matter to folks in Wisconsin, and will incorporate all kinds of journalistic mediums- print, broadcast and online. Government integrity and ethics, as well as government efficiency will be a major focus of the center.

How it works:

All content will be available for free to news media in Wisconsin. Partners in Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television and the UW-Madison School of TV and Mass Communication will work on projects through the center. The center will collaborate with all media outlets throughout the state. It will also serve as a resource to news organizations in Wisconsin conducting their own investigations. It will answer questions about who would be helpful sources on a story, how to file open records requests, and other topics of interest. It hopes to help all news media, both mainstream and ethnic, dig deep into matters of importance to the citizens of the state of Wisconsin.

Personal Motivation:

“I got into journalism right after Watergate, and I’ve seen the power and importance of hard-working journalists like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to help hold a corrupt president accountable. I saw when institutions fail the news media has a central role to play in protecting democracy”, Hall said, “I have really held fast to that idealistic vision over these decades, even as we’ve all had to deal with financial cutbacks and we’ve all grown older and in some cases, become more skeptical. At heart, journalism remains an extraordinarily important pursuit, perhaps more than ever now, as we’ve seen government efforts go array and government officials become better at covering their tracks. Hall added, “It’s essential we become more connected with human sources and better at analyzing data to see how things are really happening.”
Hall says he hopes this will eventually have regional, national and international interest. He thinks the model should be easily replicated in other states to help strengthen investigative journalism and democracy. It should also help encourage citizens to question going-ons in their communities. WCIJ hope to teach residents how to begin looking into issues and hold state-wide workshops to help citizens “become experts at what is going on in their society.”

Personal and financial risks:

Hall’s wife, Dee Hall (reporter for Wisconsin State Journal) and himself have invested a substantial amount of money to get the organization off the ground. WCIJ will likely need $500,000 a year to run. Hall says this money may not be easy to come by. He comments, “It’s a time of great parole for our society and though it may be tough to come by, support is needed for time and labor-intensive journalism. It is essential to develop business models to ensure investigative reporting will stay alive, and journalists will be given resources to do this important work.”

The role of participatory democracy:

“We’re hoping to empower residents of Wisconsin and to give them the tools to do a better job looking into the quality of life in their community. People love their communities and their state and they often worry about what is happening in their state. We hope to move them past the state of worry and to take action,” Hall said.

“We want to turn residents into citizen journalists. We hope to help them develop investigative skills and to turn those skills into action or if they find some sort of wrongdoing that deserves attention, they will alert that [wrongdoing] to WICJ so that those findings can be explored by professional news media,” Hall said.

Hall On the State of Journalism:

“In many regards, there is a lot of good news about the state of journalism and democracy. People still care, they have not checked out. Voter registration remains high. The number of people reading the work of journalists is actually at an all-time high, if you combine those reading the paid product and those viewing that content online. What we do still matters and people still turn to us when confronted with important issues. We however, are at a time when the economic pillars for for-profit journalism have crumbled, and nothing is in sight to replace them,” Hall says.

Since advertising revenue is down and new avenues for advertising are available, Hall believes many of the dollars that have drifted away will not be coming back. Hall says he hope to support the effort of for-profit media organizations with his non-profit organization during this tough economic time.

In this economy, how do we preserve journalism?

Hall believes, “We have to start with trying to understand what are the most essential parts of journalism that need to be saved. Because the resources aren’t there, we cannot save it all. One of the essential parts to save is the ability to aggressively and fairly examine the actions of powerful officials in our community and in our state.”

Some other parts of journalism that need to be saved, according to Hall include: political coverage, sports coverage and business coverage. He says media outlets have recognized the importance of saving breaking news, the weather, celebrity news, and sports because all of those attract high audiences, especially online. He says in this case, the business models have been adapted to save these types of coverage. Hall says, media outlets also have to look at what models we have for saving investigative and watchdog journalism. Hall thinks non-profit is part of the answer to saving these models. He hopes his center will also be part of the answer.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Busy week journalistically

During this week's KOMU dot com shift, I had very little to work on for the website. There was only one nightside reporter on Tuesday, because two of the reporters were live and Dhominique Rick's story about sexting was aired that evening. I spent a couple hours making changes to the website, and spent the rest of the shift working on my website. I have decided to build my video resume using WIX. I have made very slow progress with WIX. I spoke with Mike Brannen about how he built his website, but it turns out the site has changed a bunch since he built his resume last year. Some of the trouble I encountered in building the resume occurred when trying to add a PDF file (I'm still struggling with that one), also when trying to connect my domain (which I purchased a couple months ago) with my WIX site. Youtube also seems to be having a tough time uploading my video files because they are so large and because they are in a .mov format. This is going to be a long process. I have considered seeking outside help, but figure I'll toy with it a bit more. Additionally this week, I worked on my capstone project. I tried to do some background research on growth and development in Columbia and also pegged which key stakeholders in Columbia's growth I would like to interview. I'm a bit concerned that the stakeholders won't want to dedicate an hour of their time to us for interviews. They should have interest in our project and our cause, but I'm worried they won't find it as noteworthy and important as we do. I spent the majority of my time this week planning the RTNDA (Radio television news director's association) trips to Memphis, TN and Las Vegas, NV. I am the president of the organization, so most of the organizational tasks are in my hands. I am very excited for both trips. I love networking and I find other journalism professionals fascinating. Speaking of journalism professionals, I worked on my media giraffe project this week. The subject I interviewed, Andy Hall, was fascinating. He established the center for investigative journalism in Madison, Wisconsin. He started the center with his own money and has such a wonderful motive for the center. He wants to establish outlets for participatory journalism. Under the program, citizens can call in with ideas for investigative reports...and even better, news organizations (newspapers, online news sites and television stations) can get additional resources and funds from the non-profit organization. Hall said he wants to keep investigative reporting alive and well even when journalism is struggling. He called investigative reporting "journalism that matters" and vows that he will keep the center around even when the economy gets tight. He is my idol. I'm glad I had the pleasure to speak with him, and I'm glad our profession has journalists like Hall. What a great influence!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Week Four:

I spent a large amount of time during my KOMU dot com shift this week working on moving archived stories to the new development subcategory. I am part of the "Growth and development in Columbia: What will the city look like in 10 years?" capstone project, and grouping together these stories will be essential to set up an RSS feed from KOMU, the Missourian and the Columbia Tribune to the new website. I was curious if we should try to pull KBIA pieces on development and create an RSS feed for them as well. Matt Thompson said he isn't sure how to create an RSS feed, so we will have to figure that out soon. Andrew McKibbon added about 30 stories to the development category, and during my shift I found about 15 more to add. In addition to that task, I also created a slideshow for a story Ryan Takeo did on the price of cattle declining, while feed and cattle maintenance prices go up. Because his story was shot on a cattle farm, it was much more visual than the other nightside stories. The problem I had is that I added descriptions and titles for each photo, but they didn't appear to show up on the actual slideshow. I toyed with that for quite some time, but couldn't seem to get it to work. I also added additional images to a story Michael Kelly did on more opposition to Ameren UE's desire to increase rates while building a second nuclear plant in Columbia. My focus during this shift was making sure all the images looked perfect on the web. We had a bit of a snag with photoshop, because the photos were being sized in inches instead of pixels when we went to crop them, but we were able to get that fixed. Some of the reporters had video that was too hot or too dark, so for a couple of stories I had to find generic images to post to the web. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

This week, I felt a lot more familiar with ACM (it had been awhile since my overnight weekly shifts). We began the new process of setting up pages for the reporters in ACM, allowing them to write their scripts directly onto the space we gave them. Margaret Enright and I created two web extras we were particularly fond of. For one extra  we created a slide show of still frame photos. We chose to use Michael Kelly's story about the new nuclear reactor and the opposition to it because the people's expressions were very visually interesting. We also wanted to show more photos of the nuclear reactor because he did not use all the shots in his package. The other extra was an explanation video pertaining to Samantha Running's package about measuring energy consumption in the residence halls. Sam didn't have room in her package for the explanation video, but we found it very informative. So, we edited a few pieces together and posted it on the website. I love how the web provides an outlet for extra content...especially when that content can further the meaning of the story.