Kickin’ It With Ed

Ed is not like Newt, or Rudy, or RP or Gary Johnson. Ed is waaayyy more mellow, although he too has political aspirations. He’s a local guy who believes he’s been screwed by the town of Bartlett. I’ve talked to him a bunch, and he is convinced his rights are being trampled on despite a number of court judgements arguing otherwise.

Now he’s running for Bartlett selectman in 2012, despite that race being more than six months away. I got a chance to talk to him today and shoot a portrait, but I was distracted by something in the background: his campaign sign. Seven months early, but he’s hard at it.

And did you notice how he refers to himself? “Hobo Ed.” Imagine if “Hobo Mitt” were to storm the campaign trail!

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A Day of Clean Up

Today was all about picking up after myself, journalistically speaking. I came into the office just in time to get an email about an error in a story. There was a high school party over the weekend where police had to get a search warrant to bust eight teens for underage drinking. I wrote it up, including the fact that many of them were athletes and the arrests may affect their eligibility. For one of the young women I listed the wrong sports, implicating another young woman who’s name is very similar. The mother of the second young woman, understandably, was very upset. I did what I could, putting together a correction and an apology for her daughter, but it still sucks.

A story can be 99 percent right, but that’s not good enough. In a story about eight teens getting arrested, with ages, addresses, and facts about the arrest, the thing I got wrong was basketball and volleyball instead of cross country and track. Still, that’s enough. It’s enough that one young woman in no way connected to the incident felt implicated.

I did what I could with an honest mistake. It happens, and it’s bound to happen again. Hopefully the next time it occurs the person it happens to is as willing as this girl was to accept our apology. My apology.

The Bang Bang

“Journalism is not a profession. It’s a craft.”

I read The Bang Bang Club last year. Before that I didn’t know much about Greg Marinovich, or his close friend Joao Silva. Days after I finished the book, Silva’s legs got blown off by a landmine in Afghanistan. This interview is from April, when Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed in Libya, when Terry Gross had him on Fresh Air. Excellent look at war photography and journalism.

Sad Reminders

See this photo? This is the Tigris River in Iraq, where it passes though the city of Al Kut, or Kut. I passed through there on my way from COB Delta to Camp Shocker this winter. I remember being amazed to see so much water. It didn’t seem possible amid the country I’d seen.

At 7:45 a.m. yesterday, according to the New York Times, two car bombs exploded there, killing 35 people and wounding 71 more. Those were just two of 42 intertwined attacks around the country that killed almost 90. It was the most violent days there in a long time.

It is chilling to look at this picture, just one of several I snapped out the window of the MRAP as it drove through Kut, and think how exposed the people there are to the daily violence. Yesterday was a bad day to be an Iraqi living in Iraq. If this level of violence continues many more days will be bad days. Last trip I was behind a blast wall almost the entire time. I may do the same for the next trip, but at some point real reporting requires you to walk among the people, even if some of them want you dead. It’s a terrifying proposition, but that’s where the value comes from of having someone there.

Maybe it comes from having just watched The Killing Fields, but the story can’t always come from the mouths of lieutenant colonels. We’ll see where that idea gets me…

Ira Brings the Heat!

I love This American Life. The first time I walked into a radio studio, it was because I wanted to learn how to do what they do. Today I was looking around for something connected to the presidential primary and I stumbled on this critique of this story (listen to the full story below).

 

 

Granted, it takes an hour, but you should to listen to it. It is just the type of abuse journalists should be looking for and bringing to the public’s attention. And reporters can’t be timid just because someone threatens to sue. Luckily there are laws protecting reporters who have the courage to criticize people in power. Rock on, Ira, and keep keeping them honest.