Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sometimes the scam artists hardly even try, but people must fall for their tricks

This was waiting for me in my inbox. Are the scam artists even really trying? Let's hope not. (Would someone really fall for this? Let's hope not.)

What other types of email scams show up in your mail or email box?

How reporters use hidden cameras

This is fascinating to watch. Here’s how 60 Minutes recently set up a hidden camera shoot. Like CBS News, we rarely use hidden cameras .

When we do use hidden cameras, I must explain to my bosses why we can't get the video or interview with as much quality, any other way. We have many, many discussions that often last hours.

We discuss everything from how we'll set up the scene, to what happens when something goes wrong, to what we'll do if the person comes at us swinging.

I've never done a hidden camera shoot where my heart isn't pounding to the point where I feel everyone can hear it. I'm always nervous.

Monday, August 13, 2012

1 thing that will make reporters not read your press release #SM #B2B #journalism #wjchat

I don’t want my blog to become a weekly rant, so let me know when I’m reaching that point. This is meant as a helpful tip to PR professionals.

This morning I received several story pitches via email. I’d say you are doing pretty good as a PR rep if you get me to read your full email because it’s one of -- no joke – hundreds I receive each day. And on a Monday morning, I have even more to go through than usual.

My helpful hint: DO NOT send me a press release or pitch in a word document. 

On my cell phone (which is where I get most of my e-mail) it takes too long to open and when it does, it’s not fun to read a full-page document on a screen just larger than a postage stamp. (grin)

This tip is also helpful for viewers who send me story tips. (And viewers: please keep sending them.)

If I had more time, I would read story pitches no matter the format. I want to know what is going on. The fact is, I just don’t have time.

The best way to get my attention – whether you are a viewer or PR rep – is to call me. 303-871-1432

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A failed attempt for my 1st camera-sky shoot.

It was a last minute decision to hit the mountains last night. The clouds had opened up in Denver and I guessed they had done the same up high. I wanted to see the meteor shower.

At 10:30, I loaded up with Rocky. My family has a cabin in Evergreen.

By 11:30, I was laying on the deck, seeing just a few. I kept waiting for them to become intense, no dice.

Since I am a gadget guy, I brought my DSLR camera for my first sky shoot. That didn't work either. I must do more research on how to get the shutter to stay open for long periods.
Don't get me wrong, I still had fun.

Anyone else get lucky shooting meteors? I'd love to see your pics.

Whether things worked out or not, it was an excellent excuse to spend a night out of the city.

Send pics my way. And thanks to all my Twitter buds who offered me advice last night.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sometimes we don’t report everything we know. Here’s why. #ColdCase

Police have asked us not to release all of the details that we know about the murder of Sean May.

May was a popular prosecutor in Adams County. He was murdered Aug. 27, 2008 near his pregnant wife. Police have received hundreds of leads, but have not conclusively identified the killer.

There is a $125,000 reward for information that solves this cold case. Anyone can call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP.

Here’s why I am not reporting every detail. 

In high profile murders, police tell me there are a handful of people who come forward claiming they know information about the murder.  Some of those who come forward are criminals looking to get a reduced sentence for giving information. Some might be tipsters who heard someone else talking about a murder.

It can be tough for police to know who to believe.

I know exactly where he was shot and how many times and so does the killer.

One of the ways police officers figure out who really knows information about a crime is by asking basic questions: How many times was the person hit? Where did the bullets hit the person? How else was the person injured? Where exactly was the person killed? Was the person shot from behind or in front?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Learning to get public information at the very place that won’t give me all the info I want #theatershooting #ire

It feels ironic that I’m sitting at the University of Colorado Denver in an Investigative Reporters and Editors conference learning how to request data and turn stories other reporters don’t.

I’ve spent the majority of my time this week trying to get information from the same university about the theater shooting.  My success rate: <5%.  

There is a gag order issued by a judge. That means the university can’t comment on the shooter.

HOWEVER: I wish the university would do an interview with me about how they deal with “troubled” students/staff. I do not believe that is covered by the gag order.  (So far, they have issued press releases. Here is one.) They get credit for that, but I think viewers deserve and need more.

A public university should answer to its citizens.

There are indications that it may do more in the future and I look forward to that.

Information making its way to the public is important. I hope my success rate increases next week.