Thursday, July 26, 2012

I learned to live differently today... without #Twitter

My hands got clammy, I kinda got the shakes. When news spread throughout the newsroom that Twitter was down... I didn’t believe it.  Like everyone else, I stopped, fired up my web browser and tried to load the page.

Immediately, I checked my iPhone, my tablet.  How was I to function? Like so many, I resorted to my second “like”: Facebook.

With the help of a CNN article, I found some people who survived the outage with humor.

I kept checking myself... over and over and over again.
Here’s Twitter’s explanation for the problem, if you care:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When 1 news organization is wrong, we all look bad

8:02 p.m. update:
FOX News stands by its reporting:

The University of Colorado Denver issued a statement Wednesday evening confirming that a suspicious package was found but calling the July 12 timeline "inaccurate." The university said it was delivered Monday and found on the same day. However, it wasn't clear if the statement was referring to the package from Holmes or the harmless package from someone else.'s source reaffirmed that Holmes' notebook arrived before the massacre.
The university also denied Wednesday that the package "sat on a loading dock," even though reported it was instead found in a mailroom.

Read more:

Original post:

I’ll admit, I was worried today when FOX News reported details about a package that I hadn’t reported and didn’t know. I called sources like crazy. No one could back up the entire FOX News report.  Hours passed and still no verification.

Believe it or not, I started to breathe a sigh of relief.

I began to question the report. But it was also a relief in a way because that meant the package hadn’t arrived long before the shootings and it wasn’t the one thing that could have prevented the killings.

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus just sent out a statement that says, “The anonymous Fox News source that the package was received on July 12 and sat on a loading dock is inaccurate.” (read full statement after the jump)

The news release says the suspicious package (that I reported was sent by the suspect with a return address of his) was delivered July 23.

I work hard, along with my co-workers in 9Wants to Know, to double check our facts and question our sources when they tell me something.  It’s uncomfortable to ask someone (who is nice enough to give you information) ‘How do you know this? Did you actually hear this or did someone tell you this? How are you in a position to know?’

I have no idea what steps FOX News took and I’m hesitant to throw stones. Gathering news responsibly and accurately is very tough – especially when there is a gag order.

One thing I will say: we in the media all lose when a media outlet makes what appears to be a mistake.

Some might argue that the university is trying to save face by discrediting the FOX News report. I don’t understand how that would be beneficial since the facts will eventually come out anyway.

Comments I received on social media. (Updated 12:28 a.m. Thursday. The full release is below.)

Update on suspicious packages discovered at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is the theater responsible in any way for #theatershooting?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our thoughts on covering Westboro Baptist Church, if they protest in Aurora #theatershooting

Some of you have tweeted me asking if Westboro Baptist Church is coming to Colorado to protest after the theater shootings. Viewers have called the newsroom asking the same.

Newspaper articles online and social media posts indicate that may be true.

I hope this blog helps explain our coverage decision and does nothing more.

For the most part we don’t cover Westboro Baptist Church protests when they come to Colorado. They have been before and only rarely have we covered them.

Should something newsworthy happen while they are here, you can be assured 9NEWS will keep you informed.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

Not sure what to title this... #theatershooting

I’m not sure what to write. The last few days have been a blur. I find myself thinking about the victims and their families.

It would be easy to write pages of thoughts. I’d like to write a bit about each victim who died to honor their lives. I didn’t know any of them personally so I will leave that to their families and friends. We’ll work hard at 9NEWS to help you get to know each of the people who were just trying to have a fun evening at the movies.

I haven’t seen the movie and plan to wait a while before I even decide whether to see it.

About 10 minutes ago, I talked to one of our producers who had a break from work yesterday and went to see it. (She had previously purchased tickets.)

Police stood by the theater employee who was taking people’s tickets, she said. Then an officer came into the theater and stood watching for about 10 minutes of the movie.

Every time someone would get up to use the bathroom she said moviegoers wouldn't take their eyes off that person.

“I have never focused so closely on emergency exits,” she told me.

Isn’t it amazing how one person can affect so many people?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

When you write to me… (and please do)...

First, know that I love hearing from viewers. As odd as it sounds, I even like hearing from people when they are critical of my work. I think it’s because I produce a story, present it to thousands of people and don’t get to see their reaction. Email, social media and letters are how I “see” what’s on their face.

Lots of viewers send us email tips. I couldn’t survive without them. More than 50 percent of my stories come from people who saw someone abusing power, taxpayer money , etc. and wrote to me.

To those people, I say thank you.

I’m noticing some emails are getting long… pages and pages long. I want desperately to read the whole thing, but sometimes the time I have is limited.

Just like we do as reporters, tell me the most important stuff up top.

Here’s something else that might help:

Do you have pictures of what you are describing?
Do you have video?
Could you legally get video or pictures?
What evidence do you have to back up what you are claiming. (My bosses love to ask me, “How do we know X, Y, Z? Can you prove it?” When I have an immediate come back answer with facts, things go smoothly.)

Again, please keep writing to me. Your tip could be my next big investigation.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spam (and trickery) that makes you blush

Check out this (fake) email I just received:

Hello. I'am Lyudmila. Do you remember me? We talk on facebook.
Oh ok, i'll remind you
I'm from Belarus,35 y.o., I'm brown with grey eyes, my height is 170,and my weight is 56. I'am in your city now and i'm looking for good guy to spent one week together.
Nothing serious in relations, but i want to spend night in the men's bed.

I think you understand me :)

I make i little page with more information about me with my photos, becouse a lot of websites blocked at my work.

If you would like to meet me, you can visit my page here
Just search for my ID, I'm wild_pantera.
You should sign up on this site, but it's free. You can message me on this site.
Hope, you'll write me!

What's interesting too is that when I copy the above text over to a text editing document, additional text shows up. It doesn't show up on the email I received when I open it in Outlook. It's also not white text at the bottom, I checked that. I assume this text is meant to throw off spam filters? (It worked.)

out. Stables and hay-barns filled two sides of the farmyard below him. "Great Lord!" cried Bull, "I never knew an elephant could go so fast.
"I am Inspector Ratcliffe," he said, with a sort of haste that vergedheart stood still also, for he heard from that space of rugged stones thelooked anxiously from one Professor to the other Professor to see which was

(the text just stopped right there.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You might consider this a social media rant

What's the purpose of posting the same picture you take on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter?

When I follow you on several social media sites, I do it because I am interested in your status updates on Facebook and your pics on Instagram, etc.

What I am not interested in is seeing the exact same photo with the same caption posted on every site. I'll quit following one or more which isn't what anyone wants, right?

I've made the mistake too. Can we agree to stop?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Liking the new Google+ for iPad

I posted earlier about how I liked Google+ but just never used it. I've been better the past two days. Now I really want to keep it up and the Google+ iPad version might help.

I love how the new posts float on my screen. Graphical content looks amazing.

One note: a post with only text looks like an orphan as I learned the hard way. (see my photo)

Now if I could just get more of my friends to use Google+.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I want to use Google+, I really do... But I don't.

I was just reading the Google Official Blog and it reminded me that A) I can download the new Google+ for my iPad and B) I never use Google plus. Why is that? If I put the iPhone application on my home screen will that change?

There was once a time when I didn't care for Twitter all that much. Now I love it.