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InMarket: What newshounds do

What do good newshounds do? They break news, which is exactly what Bob Schieffer did during his 10th annual Schieffer Symposium on the News at Texas Christian University on April 9. The news? Guest panelist Jane Pauley, longtime NBC journalist, is joining CBS as a contributor for CBS Sunday Morning. Noting that Pauley has just released a book titled Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life, Schieffer said “She is reinventing herself and is coming to work at CBS.” Prior to the symposium, the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley was broadcast live from the Bob Schieffer College of Communication in the Moudy building. The broadcast drew a standing-room-only, overflow crowd. And, Schieffer noted, Pelley mentioned the Schieffer College of Communication at TCU three times during the broadcast – not that he was counting. Pelley, in turn, noted that Schieffer was wearing purple socks, something he does every day.

Panelists for the symposium were Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, columnist Peggy Noonan, Pelley and Pauley. Much of the discussion centered on the state of the news business, and – for the first time in several years – there was some good news, according to the panelists. The Washington Post, acquired last year by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million, is hiring 36 people, according to Woodward. Pelly, meanwhile, noted that viewership among the traditional evening news shows has grown recently to 25 million, up from 23 million. Despite some positive trends, the panel was concerned that too much news is going unreported. Too many questions are going unasked.

Woodward recalled a general who would never return his phone calls for a story. Woodward figured out the best time to drop by his home (“8:17 p.m., after dinner,” Woodward revealed). He knocked on the door, the general answered and, after blustering a few minutes, invited Woodward in and answered most of his questions. Woodward said he fears that no one is showing up these days to knock on the door. Much of the finger-pointing went toward new media and the Internet. “Never before has so much information been available to so many people,” said Pelly. “That’s a great thing. But never before has so much bad information been available to so many people.” A lot of viewers wonder about what they’ve seen on the Web or whatever. “People would like to go to a place that is a brand they can trust,” Pelley said.

Which means journalists need to ask some tough questions, Schieffer said. “Journalism is not about tweeting,” he said, even though, ironically, several journalists at the event, this scribe included, quickly tweeted the news about Pauley. “It’s not about scratching the surface, it’s about getting below the surface. There are no shortcuts. The only way to do it is to keep talking to people until you’re not being ignored.” Schieffer said that in this era when everyone’s a publisher or a blogger, journalists have to keep to a higher standard. “We don’t put anything on CBS News unless we’ve gone to some trouble to find out if it’s true, and if it’s not we don’t put it on the network,” he said. “We have to hammer that home to young journalists.”

We’re country Hey ya’ll, we’ve been named America’s Most Country City. Git out yur six-guns and commence to celebratin’. This breaking news comes courtesy of Estately Blog, a website that helps people find real estate around the country. According to their rating system, our cowboy boot and pickup truck ratings helped push us over the top. The site took the 50 most populated cities and ranked them from 1-50 based on the percentage of Facebook users listing these 10 topics as interests: country music, fishing, hunting, NASCAR, firearms, barbecue, cowboy boots, pickup trucks, rodeos and sweet tea. Beer drinking was nowhere to be found on the list. According to the site’s write-up on the designation: “Dallas and Fort Worth may be neighbors, but Fort Worth is definitely the one that changes its own oil and keeps the cooler stocked with cold beer on ice…Cowtown’s stockyards are no longer the center of cattle drives, but the city is still the birthplace of Townes Van Zandt, it loves pickup trucks more than any other city in our rankings, and it’s home to Billy Bob’s Texas – the world’s largest honky tonk.

“The city is so country it’s rumored judges in Fort Worth courtrooms give visiting Dallas attorneys grief if they’re not wearing cowboy boots. All this combined earns Fort Worth the title of ‘Most Country City in America.’” Nice to see they noted the poetic storyteller Van Zandt in their write-up to show that just because we’re country doesn’t mean we’re illiterate hayseeds. So which was the least country city in America? The place you left your heart, San Francisco. And where was Dallas? No. 26. Just too many BMWs and Lexuses. Arlington was No. 11 – plenty of pickup love, but not enough gun love. Proving the blog’s point, Texas Motor Speedway reported that the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was one of the highest grossing race weekends in the speedway’s 18-year history, even though the race got postponed from Sunday to Monday. Merchandise sales were key with the best-selling items being the Duck Commander 500 camouflage caps, camouflage T-shirts, total print T-shirts, feather flags, legacy T-shirts, splash-down T-shirts, koozies and bandanas.

 

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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