jacqueline ingles

Back in the day BLASTOFF!!!

July 4th, 2010 at 2:01 pm by under Uncategorized

4th of July

Independence Day in the Ingles Family always  meant fireworks! My brothers, who were always into some shenanigans around our Chicago home never failed to disappoint their little sister with a mini-driveway fireworks display.

With fireworks getting ready to explode all over Austin, I couldn’t help but revisit some of what I consider, the best “back in the day” fireworks.

1) POP POPS

These were the best to throw at an unsuspecting person’s feet.  What’s better? They are pretty much harmless!

Oh! My co-workers should be glad I don't have some of these!

2) ROMAN CANDLES

Ready! Aim! Fire!  Back in the day, you could actually hold Roman Candles, light them and aim as blasts of color shot out of the end. It was like holding a magic fireworks wand in your hand.  (Note: I do not recommend this now)

Roman Candles

3) SPARKLERS

Who didn’t love holding on to a sparklers and watching it fizz down to a nub?

Sparklers

4) BOTTLE ROCKETS

These will always and forever be the best way to annoy your neighbors via sound.  Not only do these shoot off and whistle, but when they reach the sky and explode, all you hear…POP!!!  Also, when positioned correctly, you can really aim these at any target (just ask my brothers).

B ROCKETS

5) SNAKES

Seriously, no! These are a total dud and only got on this list because it is the firework you love to hate.  Not only did it not look like a snake, but it burned whatever surface you put it on! Sorry about our driveway dad!

Does this not look like the ash on an old woman's cigarette?

Just look at this dud in action.  Really?  Two thumbs down on this back in the day blastoff.  Do you agree?

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE “BACK IN THE DAY” FIREWORKS?????

~This blog is dedicated to the very brave men and wome who serve our country. Especially the 41st RQS, the best men in the AF~


Poynter Institute: Diversity Day

June 30th, 2010 at 1:02 pm by under Uncategorized
“Diane: And now we go to our Asian Correspondent in the field, Trisha Takanawa?

Asian Correspondent Trisha Takanawa (Courtesy: FOX)

“Tricia Takanawa: Diane, I’m standing outside the Park Barrington Hotel because they don’t allow Asians inside.”
~Family Guy, Seth McFarlane~

Watch Family Guy much?  If you do, you know creator Seth McFarlane loves to pick on broadcast television.  His favorite topic:  diversity in the newsroom.    Admittedly, when I watch these skits on his show, I am on the floor laughing.  Why? Because there is some underlying truth.

How often as a viewer do you watch a story about Arizona’s new immigration law and see a Hispanic reporter covering it?  Or, is there a mid 30s to early 40s female covering a story regarding a crib recall?  Sometimes, reporters are assigned to stories because well, they are the only person available.  For example, on weekends, most stations work with a skeleton crew and one reporter.  So, if the hot story of the day is an immigration rally and your staffed reporter is Hispanic, well, guess who is going to be covering that event?

During my three day seminar at the Poynter Institute we got a crash course in diversity and dealt with issues just like the ones described above.

Diversity Training

Sure, many newsrooms are staffing reporters from many different backgrounds, cultures, ages, etc.  Not only does it make a newsroom multi-dimensional and representative of all demographics, but it leads to better stories.  However, this is also holding newsrooms back.  How you ask?  Well, we had investigative reporter Hagit Limor speak (another fellow Medillian!), about how much it taught her to cover a KKK meeting.  Instead of sending a Caucasian reporter, her news director sent her.  She admits it was rattling and scary, but that she would not trade that experience for anything.  Yes, there is logic to support the notion that sending a Hispanic reporter (who can possibly speak Spanish) to an immigration rally could net better interviews, better access and better understanding.  But the question was posed, “Does this really do that?”  In some cases, it can.  But the argument (and a very good case) stood, that by news directors making conscious decisions to send someone of a different race or culture to a particular story would not only broaden a reporter’s experience by educating them, but lead to a story being told from a different perspective.  After all, every reporter, regardless of balance and objectivity, walks into a story and sees it play out differently.  Different reporters are compelled to interview different people for different reasons.

Quahog News Anchor Team (Courtesy: FOX)

Anchor Tom Tucker: “Now let’s go to Greg The Weather Mime.

Weather Mime: “OK… it’s going to be cold… lots of wind…”

~Quahog News, Family Guy, Seth McFarlane”

Not only does is need to be management’s goal to expose their news team to different stories, but reporters need to strive to challenge themselves and want to cover issues/stories they are unfamiliar with, etc.

The second biggest diversity issue we took on dealt with journalists being representative and inclusive in the stories they tell by including a diverse group of interviewees in every story.  I was taught this in J-School, and  is something I already strive for  when possible, in the field.  How often do you see the expert in a broadcast story be an older white male? (Journalists, raise your hands if you are guilty of doing this?  My hand is up) How often do you not see a cross-section of people interviewed, including people of different ages, races, etc?  Sometimes, this cannot be done, but most of the time, it can, with a little extra effort on the reporter’s part.  Bottom line, the more people you interview of different backgrounds, the more inclusive and representative your story will be.

For instance, the last time I covered an immigration rally, I made this my goal.  I spoke with a teenager who showed up (young person, bi-racial), an older Hispanic female and a white male in his mid-thirties.   The Hispanic female was against Arizona’s law, the teen was undecided on the issue but concerned and the Caucasian male was one of two people who showed up in support of the law.  Check out the video below.

Could there have been more diversity included? YES.  However, the point is, reporters do not need to run to a story and grab whatever interview is easiest. Stop, take a look around, watch, observe and think!  Is there anyone there you didn’t expect to see? Who is most unique?  Are your interviews providing viewers with a broad vision of what is going on?  Who is your coverage leaving out?  I know, and sometimes viewers do not know this, but reporters are on some pretty tight daily deadlines and searching for diverse faces is not an option.  Sometimes, it has to be a get what you can type situation, but when time is on your side, think strategically. But, it is something we need to strive for an remind ourselves of in the field.

Things to Try

  • Need an expert? Find someone you have never spoken to and who is of a different ethnicity/race than yourself.
  • When shooting b-roll, let that tell viewers who is there.  Always zooming into the cute child at the ballpark? How about a tight shot of the 80-year-old couple that made it to the game?
  • Ask yourself, what community have I never reported on in my city? Perhaps an enclave of immigrants from Haiti or groups that form out of a niche interest.  Then, make calls to find out what is going on with that group or subculture?
  • Don’t assume your interviewee knows about a hot button issue like immigration reform  just because they are Hispanic or social security just because they qualify as senior citizens.  Stereotyping, even on a small scale, can really hinder your reporting.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a story that was brought to my station’s attention by Scott C., a photographer.

He found out about this story at church and it turned out to be one of my favorite stories.  It dealt  deal with Burmese refugees (click link to watch),  a group I have never reported on in my life and an underrepresented group in Austin.  The story even included an interview with a Middle Eastern man, someone from yet another underrepresented demographic.

Burmese Refugees Face Freeze without Heat

Volunteers deliver heaters


The Poynter Institute: Getting Reporters Back on Track

June 25th, 2010 at 9:11 pm by under Uncategorized

Two weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a reporter’s continuing education seminar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, along with many other talented journalists.  And yes, I am the only person who goes to Florida to work.  However, two other Texas based reporters did the same as well as a fellow LIN employee.

SPJ Reporter Conference

During our three day seminar we covered a plethora of topics including ethics, diversity, a document driven newsroom (FOIA) and social media.

I made friends and learned many ways to better serve you, my viewer, with each and every story I turn, either on-air or online.

“Developing a network of young journalist to call on for advice, video editing questions and “talk shop” will help me become a better investigative journalist. Having an opportunity to connect with other journalists in Texas has helped me gain a better understanding of the Texas culture and lifestyle.”

~Lynn Walsh, Investigative Reporter, Texas Watchdog~

My fellow LIN employee, Hubert Tate, and I

Lynn Walsh & I

I even posed with Poynter himself!

Attending the The Poynter Institute could not have come at a better time in my professional life.  Admittedly, I was burned out, in a rut, just following the daily cycle of pitch stories, interview, shoot b-roll, edit, meet deadline, post online and repeat.  How did the career I was so passionate about turn into something I wanted to pull my hair out over?  This conference helped me answer that question and I will tell you how.

Often times, no matter what career you are in, you find a rhythm or work flow that works for you.  You learn how to cut corners, meet those endless deadlines, etc., all while losing sight of the purpose of your job.  You are no longer functioning as a human being but a machine.   Somewhere, somehow, Jackie got lost in the mix.  The Poynter Institute made me realize this by taking me back to the basics.  All of the professionals who took the time to lecture (some for three hours straight), give advice and faced an endless classroom of raised hands…I owe you many thanks for reminding me how important my job is and how very few people get the opportunity to go out and find out information others depend on.

Below, you can follow me day-by-day regarding what was taught, what I learned and  ways I want to challenge my entire newsroom.

Back to J School

DAY 1

Topics: Freedom of Information Act & Ethics

Instructor:  Dr. Sunny Hughes

TAUGHT

  • Viewers want a more document driven newsroom
  • Few journalists have ever filled out a FOIA request
  • It’s important for reporters and news directors to plan time to present viewers with document driven stories, either giving journalists work days or paying them to work on their days off.
  • FOIA a story you want to cover in six months.  It could take this long to get documents back or longer.

JOURNALIST QUESTIONS

  • How many FOIAs have you filled out at your current station?
  • What is one story/idea you would like to FOIA?
  • How can you better serve your viewer with a document driven piece?

LEARNED

I will be the first to admit, I have filled out one FOIA in four years and that was in graduate school.  Should I be put in the corner and reprimanded? No!  Instead, I need to challenge myself that every work day I get (usually once every 40 days), I will take time to fill out one FOIA.   I also learned how concrete documents make a story, whether presented on-air or online.  It also showed me how it can take a story from being superficial to one with great depth.

CO-WORKER CHALLENGE

I want to challenge my fellow reporters, and you too anchors, to FOIA one thing every month.  Think you can step up to the challenge?

Inspirational Qoute in Poynter Garden

Topic: Ethics

Instructor: Kevin Smith (current Society of Professional Journalists president)

TAUGHT

  • Law may be in your side, but that does not make your actions ethical
  • Common ethical problems reporters encounter include: conflicts of interest, privacy, sources, cutting corners and manipulation of images.
  • There are many ethical ways of thinking, what method do you apply to your decisions? (ex: utilitarianism)

JOURNALIST QUESTIONS

  • How do ethics now apply to social media like twitter, facebook and Myspace?
  • Do you as a journalist or your newsroom, have a process for copyediting and oversight of the content posted on social media sites?
  • In what cases is it reasonable to use a photograph you found on Facebook without asking the owner’s permission? In what cases is it not?
  • Should an interviewee or a source send you a thank you gift in the mail or have perishable goods delivered to you, what do you do with that gift? Do you accept it? Will accepting it compromise how you view that person/how you will cover them in future stories?

LEARNED

Kevin Smith’s lecture showed me that ethics is one subject area that changes constantly depending on the factors of a given situation.  Journalists, especially, have more to worry about than being right or wrong, particularly the image they portray to viewers, readers and listeners.  I also learned that personal and professional images merge online.  Instead of accepting a source who has sent you a friend request, set up a professional account and a personal account.  Do not mix up friends with sources because it can send the wrong message.

CO-WORKER CHALLENGE

Ponder this ethical case:  A news manager “friends” a neighbor he meets at a block party.  A year later, the neighbor decides to run for mayor.  The news manager gets an indignant call from the incumbent mayor’s press secretary suggesting the station coverage will be biased, since your news manager supports the challenger.  Does the news manager have to “unfriend” his neighbor to preserve the appearance of fairness?  Could the manager make things right if he “friended” the mayor, too?

How many reporters in Austin are friends with sources on facebook, myspace or some other social network site?  Also, if you are, should you “unfriend” them?

Also, does the picture you posted on your social media pages show professionalism (regardless if you make your pages public, viewers can still see you have a page).   Maybe that photo of you on West 6th Street at 4 a.m no longer seems appropriate, thoughts?

Don't let delivering news on TV go to your head. Be humble.


Food for Thought

April 28th, 2010 at 3:29 pm by under Uncategorized

Food shows are my guilty pleasure. Reporting on anything food related, therefore, is the icing on my cake! Luckily, reporting in the Hill Country presents me with a lot of opportunity to
produce food/agriculture related stories that provide you with a sneak peek of how the food on your plate or the bourbon in your glass got there.

This week, tucked away off FM 1980 in Marble Falls, I got to explore Sweet Berry Farm.  Dan Copeland and his wife Gretchen own and operate this 20 acre strawberry farm.  The best part,
they plant the seeds, but you get to harvest!  It’s called “Agritainment” and it is how Copeland turns a profit. It’s simply the marriage of agriculture and entertainment.

Strawberries

In other words, you spend your day picking ripe berries, then you pay for them.  But, in between picking, you also pick up some knowledge–something Copeland strives to provide his
customers, especially the 4,000 school children that get bused in each year on field trips.  I will admit, as much as I know about baking from scratch (just ask KXAN’s weekend crew
how good the treats are I bring in!!!) and all the knowledge I have gained from my late nights munching on Doritos watching Food Network, I had NO clue how strawberries are grown.  I enjoy strawberries,
but my knowledge was limited to the produce aisle at HEB. Hopefully, people are in the same boat, err, I mean shopping cart I am in!

Here is a little food for thought on strawberries:

Now, since I am a food ninja with mad culinary skill, I cannot help but force a few of my strawberry recipes on you. If you were here in person, I would try to feed you and let’s face it, as advanced
as technology is, I simply can’t email you food, yet.

Here is one of my favorite strawberry recipes:

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (Courtesy: FoodNetwork)

Ingredients: Strawberries (keep stem on)
Milk Chocolate (you can do white or dark too)
Wax paper

Directions:  Rinse your strawberries, pat them dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
Place your chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and put it in the microwave on medium heat for 30 seconds.
Chocolate tends to melt quickly, so check it frequently and stir.  Typically, an additional 30 seconds in the microwave will get the trick done.
Once your chocolate is melted, grab a strawberry by its stem and dip, making sure all sides get covered.
Then, lay the newly dipped strawberries on a piece of wax paper to dry.
Let sit for about twenty minutes until the chocolate forms a hard shell–once it does, you are good to dig in and eat!

You can do more than dip strawberries. Some people like to freeze them, make shortcake, eat them raw or blend them into a smoothie.

I am always looking for new recipes.

What are some of yours?


Guns on school grounds getting too common?

April 9th, 2010 at 3:58 pm by under Uncategorized

Learning that an 8-year-old student at Colt Elementary brought a loaded handgun to school Friday April 9, did not shock me.  It took me only moments to realize that as both a reporter and a person, I am desensitized to these occurrences because they are becoming all too common in our country.

Student, 8, brings loaded gun to school

Teachers at Colt and Marble Falls Independent School District officials are lucky no one was injured or hurt–unlike the countless other incidents that have placed schools, colleges and universities in the national spotlight for all of the wrong reasons.

Do the names Columbine, Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University sound familiar?

NIU Massacre Audio Slideshow

For me, one in particular is very personal.

In 2008, I covered the Valentine’s Day Massacre at Northern Illinois University while I worked as the Illinois political correspondent for MTV’s Choose or Lose Campaign.  Five undergraduates were shot to death after Stephen Kazmierczak opened fire on unsuspecting students in a lecture hall.  The visions of students crying at five makeshift crosses planted in the snow, kids writing memorials on boards and the sound the yellow crime scene tape made flapping in the bitter cold wind are all things I will never forget.  In short, I have seen the devastation, upset and emotional havoc these tragedies leave in their wake.

Crosses are erected on the NIU campus to remember those killed in a shooting rampage.

I have kept in touch with a few students I interviewed at NIU, and I can tell you, the pain of this event still runs deep.

Yes, today, MFISD, teachers, students, the city of Marble Falls and the State of Texas were fortunate, the gun was confiscated before a tragedy occurred.   But, there are many questions we need to ask and many answers we need to better PREVENT these occurrences.  Here are a few for thought?

Should we have metal detectors in all schools?

How are these students, in this case an 8-year-old, getting their hands on guns?

When a third grader brings a loaded gun to school, who should be punished, the student or their caregiver (s), or both?

Do incidents like these call for stricter gun laws?

What should happen to students caught with guns?

KXAN will have a full report on the incident at Colt Elementary this evening, but in the meantime, ask yourself,  What can be done to keep guns out of children’s hands and out of our schools and campuses? In reality, there is no way of knowing if your college dorm, your child’s classroom or the countless other places students go will be the scene of a shooting.