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Sep 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

KDNL’s Jeff Alan a `Responsible’ writer
KDNL-TV, St. Louis, News Director Jeff Alan has authored his first book, “Responsible Journalism: A Practical Guide for Working and Aspiring Journalists,” published by Bonus Books and available in stores on Monday. With a foreword written by Hugh Downs, the book has chapters on topics such as live reporting, attribution and how to look for nontraditional stories.
“It’s about how not to make mistakes,” Mr. Alan said. “With our inherent competitiveness, with the growing number of electronic outlets, people are rushing to judgment on a lot of news stories, and I’m seeing it more and more. I felt that we needed a piece of work like this in our business, and there isn’t anything like this that exists right now.”
The book includes a responsibility test written by professors at the University of Central Florida, so journalists can test their level of responsibility in given situations.
“There hasn’t been one book recently that deals with the new type of electronic journalism,” Mr. Alan said. “A lot of these books were written for just newspapers or TV. This book is written for both. This is for journalists. We’re turning into an entirely different journalism world, and that’s why this book is so important. We have to keep ourselves in line with ethics.”
RTNDA’s Cochran praised for work
Barbara Cochran, Radio-Television News Directors Association president, will receive the Freedom of Speech Award from the Media Institute in October for her work on behalf of journalists’ First Amendment rights. As president of RTNDA she helped convince the Federal Communications Commission to revoke the personal attack and political editorializing rule, the last vestige of the Fairness Doctrine, which was abolished in the 1980s.
During the recent Florida presidential election debacle, she was instrumental in convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to make its audio tapes available following oral arguments on the election cases, since the court records all of its proceedings. Supreme Court proceedings had never previously been televised or broadcast in any way, so it was the first time the public heard audio of the Supreme Court at work.
Just last week, RTNDA protested the Justice Department’s subpoena of the telephone records of Associated Press reporter John Solomon and opposed a plan by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., to reintroduce anti-leak legislation because such a law interferes with First Amendment rights of journalists. “It’s really a great honor, and I feel very fortunate to be leading an organization like RTNDA that can stand as a beacon for the First Amendment at times when the First Amendment is besieged,” Ms. Cochran said.
In other RTNDA news, the organization’s annual convention starts Sept. 12 in Nashville. The general session on Sept. 13 will be devoted to the topic “The State of Local News,” with 13 panelists.
Other seminars on Sept. 13 include the coverage of 2000’s election with Ted Savaglio, director of Voter News Service, on a panel moderated by CNN host Jeff Greenfield. That night the super session will offer a preview of the new PBS documentary “Local News,” which airs in October. The documentary focuses on WCNC-TV, Charlotte, N.C., and includes WCNC News Director Keith Connors. On Sept. 15 the Paul White Award, RTNDA’s highest honor, will be given to sportscaster Jim McKay.
Hot topics this year may include the interactive media seminars, such as “Caviar Web Sites on Cheeseburger Budgets,” “Fitting Local News Into the World of Digital” and “Protecting Your Intellectual Property.” One management seminar on Sept. 15 may also prove popular: “You Got the Bullet, Now What?” which discusses what to do after being fired. Panelists include Don Fitzpatrick, Mendes Napoli, Sue Kawalerski and Kenn Venit.
Bauer-Gonzales vacates KNBC post
After months of speculation, Nancy Bauer-Gonzales resigned as news director at KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, as of Aug. 31. The buzz is that she has interviewed across town at independent KCAL-TV, where her husband, David Gonzales, is an anchor. But KCAL still has made no announcement about hiring a news director. KNBC will now begin searching for Ms. Bauer-Gonzales’ replacement.
Karissa S. Wang can be reached by phone at 323-370-2430, via e-mail at kwang@crain.com or by fax at 323-653-4425.