Monday, October 20, 2014

Covering Politicians

There was a time when wire services, newspaper and tv stations in New Mexico actually covered political campaigns.

Associated Press Santa Fe Correspondent Bill Feather or Albuquerque Bureau Chief Howard Graves would leave their cramped offices for about a month before election day and travel the state with the candidates.  They’d file reports for their member papers and stations from places like Encino, Loving, Glenwood, Chama, Mora and yes, even Claunch.

I did the same while working for KOAT-TV.

Traveling with the candidates we would ride in the same car, fly in the same plane, eat at the same restaurant, stay in the same motel, get invited to a home cooked meal at a supporter’s home,  or sometimes, like a trip during a Dave Cargo campaign – we stayed in the same ranch house.

On more than one occasion a campaign would call and ask if I’d like to tag along on the evening trip.  We’d fly to Farmington or Socorro in the campaign plane, the candidate would make a speech, and then we’d all pack up, squeeze into the plane seats and head back.

I even took a brief trip when Morris Udall was running for President of the United States in 1976.  I flew in the plane from Albuquerque to Silver City and back.  I don’t think the station paid for the seat on the plane, and I got to meet Bill Plante, the veteran CBS correspondent who now covers The White House.  What a funny and clever guy Udall was, as is Plante. 

The candidates benefitted from the exposure – and the reporters got a story.  A fair trade – perhaps a bit more fair to the candidate, but nonetheless it worked.

All of us got to know one another.  We didn’t print or broadcast everything we saw – because in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t matter.

I recall another trip, to Las Cruces on a Labor Day holiday.  I was going to cover a “rally” that a candidate was giving – it was part of the profile I was putting together of his campaign, personality, electability, etc.  From Las Cruces we were to travel to Alamogordo for another “rally”. 
At the rally in Las Cruces, there were about 7 people – including me and the candidate.   Sadly, his campaign was going nowhere – I knew it and he knew it.  Instead of going along for the next leg of the trip to Alamogordo I had them drop me by the bus station and I rode Greyhound back to Albuquerque.

Then came the purification of the media. Conflicts of interest, reporters are taking free rides, etc. Reporters started having to pay for their seats on airplanes or in cars, paying for hamburgers at the drive-in along the way – and when that happened…within a couple years we all went away.

We covered campaigns – instead of covering campaign commercials.

I think, as a people we were all the better for it.

But, times have changed.

Now we have breaking news crawls across the bottom of a TV screen that block the video we’re supposed to be watching!  And the breaking news occurred 2 days ago!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

TV News Throwback Thursday

One gets a closet full of stories coming out of spending countless hours in New Mexico’s legislative-executive building either covering the news or attempting to persuade politicians to cast a vote in favor of “the little people.” 

Here’s my TV News throwback story for this Thursday.

The TV camera had been all set up to film an interview with a legislator.  I won’t name the lawmaker because he’s still serving.

The legislator came into the interview room and quickly took his a seat in front of a typewriter.

This is a typewriter:

The reporter (not me, and who I won’t identify because he’s still reporting) started  the camera.

Reporter :           Senator, thank you for joining me today for this interview.

Senator:              It’s been a long time since I’ve been on TV.

Reporter:            Regarding the bill up for discussion, will you support it?

Senator:              I have no comment at this time!

At which time the senator pushed away from the desk and left.

I swear to The Almighty it happened!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Call Saul

Breaking Bad News about Saul

Actually, it's good news  -

The producers of Better Call Saul, the AMC apparent comedy that will come out in February of next year based in Albuquerque in the years before Walter White...have released a video.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fair Disappointment

Imagine the disappointment ... I was so close to seeing this... and then...

Very clever marketing message ... just a sample of how well run things are at the Los Angeles County Fair.   On the day of my visit, more than 70,000 folks from the inland empire were there, a record attendance day...on a Thursday. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Ryder Cup Throwback

For the non-golfers out there, this probably means little.  To my pals, friends, family and others who might casually pay attention to golf...this is the week!

But, I wander for a second.   When growing up in Taos I started playing golf at the Taos Country Club - a privately owned club that operated on a shoe string - and the proceeds from special parties and the bar.  Mind you, I wasn't old enough to drink - but I had access to the place.

A friend of the family, Ed Lineberry, the husband of Duane Van Vechten, a prominent and very wealthy person of Taos, used to chide me and others who played golf - saying it was nothing more than "cow pasture pool".

In Scotland, maybe.  At Taos Country Club - there was no pasture and not any cows that wandered around the course.

Anyway...this is Ryder Cup weekend.   It is truly one of the great sporting events in the world.

I've been lucky enough to attend 3 of the competitions.  The first at Oakland Hills near Detroit in 2004, The Americans were soundly defeated.  The Euro's took the trophy back across the pond.

Then 4 years later at Valhalla near Louisville where I took these pictures - the USA won:

Sergio Garcia during a practice round.

Two years ago I went to Medinah near Chicago...this is a collage of that visit.

      Olay Olay Olay                                                                                            U S A   U S A   U S A

American's lost that one, too.

Looking forward to the matches this weekend - even though they'll be going on in the wee hours of our morning.   NBC and NBC Golf Channel providing live coverage.

And really looking forward to the Ryder Cup's return to the US of A in 2 years - to a course in Chaska, Minnesota.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Albuquerque "U"

Here's a throwback.

This photograph of the state fairgrounds racetrack was taken about 1940.  The track is still in the same place.  The line through the center of the picture is Louisiana Boulevard as it runs between Central (Rte 66) and Lomas.   On the side of the hill, the "U" that was placed and painted there by students from the University of New Mexico.    About the only thing today that is the same, the racetrack and the infield which is still used for parking.  The rest is infilled with housing and development - all the way to the "U" which is, present day, really hard to find - if at all.  

The canyon to the right of the photo is Tijeras Canyon - still used today by I-40 - one of the primary cross country highways in the US of A.

A throwback to the good ol' days.