Tuesday, October 31, 2006

You guys are hilarious! (Really, I mean it....)

Today was the deadline for submission of the 100-word essays (if, as some of you pointed out, an essay can BE 100 words) that served as your application to participate in the Comedy Sitcom course next weekend.

We got about 100 entries for the eight seats in the course. And we'll sit down tomorrow -- me and a few of our funniest faculty -- and try to decide (it's going to be such a difficult decision -- many of these entries are actually pretty hilarious...)

I wish we could open it up to everyone who wants to participate...I'm already thinking about how we're going to continue to provide this kind of opportunity on a regular basis. In fact, I talked to Dan Heffner of the Saw movies today; Saw III broke box office records over the weekend (ick ick ick). He wants to come back to Park in January, maybe to do a short course on producing....I'll keep you posted...)

Thanks for all your enthusiasm about the comedy course; you guys are the best.

Animation-o-rama! Join the production, be part of the program

This just in from Jared Bumgarner:

Hello all,

We're writing to you all again to let you know that there will be an informational meeting this THURSDAY NOVEMBER 2nd in PARK 140 during the lunch hour beginning at 12:05pm for our stop-motion animation thesis project...

We heard back from many of you, but we know that some who are interested still haven't sent emails to us....no problem, just wanted to give you all the opportunity to come to the meeting...

It will be a quick meeting mainly focused on department descriptions and general production schedule...

And don't worry if you don't know if you want to commit to the project yet...come to the meeting anyway and learn a little bit more about it....attending Thursday's meeting DOES NOT commit you to anything...

Thank you guys so much for all of the support we've already received from many of you. We hope to see you on Thursday!


Jared and Matt

Monday, October 30, 2006

And speaking of success....ICTV wins big!

Wow, it was a great weekend for Park media....in addition to the awards already described here (if you haven't read the blog, scroll down and take a look!), ICTV came away from the College Media Advisers national conference this weekend with top honors for Sports Play by Play.

"Women's Basketball: Ithaca vs. Elmira" was named winner of the 2006 Best
Sports Play By Play, and finalist awards were given to: Play by Play - Bombers Football: Ithaca vs. Cortland 11/05; Drama - Beyond: The Archive of Charles Welling 12/05; and Sportscast - The Gridiron Report 11/9/05.

Congratulations to everybody who works so hard to make ICTV and ICTV sports the best in the country!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Alex Estabrook '06 heads to ESPN!

This just in from Alex Estabrook, class of 2006 (and he may have had his doubts, but we knew he could do it -- and he did!)

Dean Lynch,

...I just wanted to let you know that the Human Resources Director at ESPN called me back yesterday and let me know that ESPN wants to hire me! My official job title is Studio Technician but I'm mainly going to be editing short pieces for Outside the Lines and Sportscenter and some of their other shows. My first day is November 27th, the Monday after Thanksgiving break, so I have a lot to do in a short period of time.

... When we first sat down to talk back in May in your office and you said I should
pursue a job at ESPN, I thought your sites were set a little too high for me. I was thinking some local station around the area would be fine. I never thought that a few months later I would be preparing to pack up and move to Bristol CT to edit for the worldwide leader in sports....


-Alex Estabrook

This just in from an '06 grad: There IS work after graduation!

Hello everyone, it's me Tony touching base with you all. Everything is going well; I am currently in New Bern, North Carolina working as a news photographer with WCTI 12, an ABC affiliate in New Bern. I work dayside shooting and editing news on DVC Pro cameras and linear editing systems. I also operate microwave trucks and hopefully someday soon, the satellite truck. Our station is big on going live and we'll go live just to be live sometimes, but it makes for a good training ground for me as far as and execution of live shots.

We also have a 20 minute football highlight show called "The Blitz" on Friday nights that involves about 8 photographers driving all over North Carolina shooting high school football games and feeding highlights from bureaus or driving them back to New Bern. On a typical night each photographer will shoot and edit 2 to 3 games. One night last week, I shot 3 games, and did a live shot at another high school. I
also volunteer to shoot additional football games on Saturdays and have gone
to shoot a UNC Chapel Hill game as well as the Wake Forest, NC State game
last weekend. So overall, I'm keeping busy, I hope everyone is doing well.
All the best!

And by all means, don't be strangers!
Tony Sabato

Art & Animation: How to Steer the Wheel

And other work

Experimental 3D animator & music composer Heath Hanlin will present and discuss his work on
7:00 PM
Park Auditorium

How to Steer the Wheel combines the rhythmus of music with arrhythmia of visual interpretation, resulting in a transitive nightmare.

The Smoking Gun: Journalism in a Digital Age

A Decade of Achievement: The Park Scholars' Tenth Anniversary Speaker Series

Danny Green
"Google Isn't Everything: How inexperienced investigative journalists rely too much on the internet and not enough on the telephone"

Wednesday, November 15
7:30 p.m.
Park Auditorium

Danny Green '85 will be the inaugural speaker for the Park Scholar Program's Tenth Anniversary speaker series.

In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Park Scholar Program is sponsoring a year-long and campus-wide speaker series that invites communications professionals to share their own experiences with one of the tenets of the Park Scholar Program--"media making a difference."

Some info on Danny Green:

Before Danny Green co-created The Smoking Gun web site (www.thesmokinggun.com), he was a freelance journalist and editor who wrote for GQ, The Village Voice, New York magazine, Sports Illustrated, Ski and about 500 other publications.

He started The Smoking Gun with two business partners in 1997. The site, utilizing investigative reporting techniques and original source material such as police reports, court files, FBI dossiers and mug shots, has broken hundreds of stories that have been picked up by newspapers and television outlets around the world. Among our most well-known scoops: posting the sealed grand jury testimony in the Michael Jackson child molestation case, proving that "A Million Little Pieces" author James Frey had fabricated significant portions of his memoir and reporting that Rick Rockwell, the "prize" groom of Fox's "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire" once had a restraining order filed against him by his fiancée, who claimed Rockwell threatened to kill her.

Court TV purchased The Smoking Gun in 2000. It now receives about 40 million page views per month. "The Dog Dialed 911," the second Smoking Gun book, was released by Little, Brown in October.

Danny now acts as the site's director of development as well as working as an editor at courttv.com. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.

The Ithacan Takes Top Honors - Again!

It occurred to me on Wednesday that it's late October -- and that means it's time for freezing rain, Halloween parties, and an announcement from the Ithacan that it just brought home top honors from the national college media conference.

Sure enough, just like clockwork, it's been raining like crazy, it was a big Halloween party weekend on campus, and Ithacan adviser Michael Serino emailed me this morning.

They did it again.

The national conference of the Associated Collegiate Press was held in St. Louis this weekend; it's the major college media conference of the year, and it's the site of the annual college media awards.

Last year, the Ithacan came home with a Pacemaker Award, the "Pulitzer Prize" of college journalism.

This year, it brought home another one of those. AND an Online Pacemaker Award, AND First Place in the "Best of Show" competition for its October 12, 2006 issue.

In other words, it was a clean sweep. Top honors all the way around.

No matter how many years in a row the Ithacan manages to be the best, every year is a new editor, a new leadership team, a new challenge.

And every year is another opportunity to appreciate the long hours, major talent, and incredible commitment it takes to produce our community's weekly newspaper.

Congratulations to all of you who contributed to the newspaper's success and excellence -- and thanks for giving the rest of us another reason to be proud that we're Parkies.

Stolen: The largest unsolved art heist in history (and a great documentary by a Park alum!)

Documentary Producer Susannah Ludwig ’93 will screen her film, Stolen, on November 8. Stolen is the fascinating and outrageous story of the largest unsolved art heist in American history.

Susannah Ludwig '93, Producer of Stolen
Screening of Film and Q&A Session
Wednesday, Nov. 8
7:30 p.m.
Park Auditorium.

Susannah Ludwig '93:

She is the co-founder of Persistence of Vision Films/Flourish Films; a New York based production company. The Sundance Institute recognized Susannah as a “visionary independent producer” and named her the 2003 Mark Silverman Fellow. She has produced numerous short subject films such as Shadowboxer, directed by Vilka Tzouras (premiered at the 2002 IFFM,); The Hat, directed by Julia Jordan and Terry Stacey; and Weekend Getaway, directed by Elizabeth Holder. Additionally, Ludwig has produced six behind-the-scenes documentaries for the American Movie Classics and the Independent Film Channel including The Making of Camp which aired on IFC in 2003.


In March of 1990, two thieves dressed as Boston police officers gained entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and successfully plundered five hundred million dollars worth of art. Among the thirteen priceless works stolen were two of the greatest paintings in the world: Rembrandt's The Sea of Galilee and Vermeer's The Concert, one of only 35 of the master's surviving works. The Gardner museum offered a five million dollar reward. But, as the years passed, not a single work of art was recovered. The film documents the investigation, which is still ongoing. Features voiceover work by Blythe Danner.

For more information on the film, visit www.stolenthefilm.com

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Independent filmmaker Bill Brown coming to Park

Bill Brown, one of the most interesting independent filmmakers in the country, will be in the Park School from 2:30 to 5 p.m., to screen his new documentary, The Other Side (2006).

Brown, a guest of the Central New York Programmers' Group (Cornell
Cinema), will introduce his work and will be available to discuss it with students after the screening.

THE OTHER SIDE (2006, 43 min.) A 2000-mile journey along the
U.S./Mexico border reveals a geography of aspiration and insecurity.
While documenting the efforts of migrant activists to establish a
network of water stations in the borderlands of the southwestern U.S.,
Brown considers the border as a landscape, at once physical,
historical, and political.

Monday, October 23, 2006

OK, so there's funny...and then there's funny

If you're reading this, you will also need to read the post that follows this one -- because this one is all about that one.

You will notice that the post below talks about a new mini-course in television sitcoms, and that it suggests that you need to be really funny to participate.

I feel the need to clarify what I mean by "really funny."

Some people are blatantly funny. They tell jokes. They make stupid faces. They're the class clowns. (Think Jack Black or Chris Rock.)

Others are ironically funny. They see the contradictions in life in ways the rest of us don't. They're sarcastic and snide. (Think Jerry Seinfeld.)

Others are brilliantly funny. They're the ones who pull complex ideas together into stories the rest of us wouldn't think of, or who see the world in ways that the rest of us miss. (Think Garry Trudeau, cartoonist/author of Doonesbury.)

And then there are the deadpan comics, the ones who never crack a smile and don't let on that they even know what humor is....

In other words, great comedy writers come in all sizes, shapes and types. And you don't have to a yuck-it-up type to have an incredibly valuable voice to contribute to the class.

So don't be intimidated by the prerequisite. If you think it would be fun, it would probably be fun. Write the essay. That could be fun, too.


How Funny Do You Feel?


Here's one of the coolest things in the Park School this semester...especially if your friends and family say you are the most hilarious person they ever met (or even if you think you're funny and nobody else has discovered it yet...)

We're offering a special mini-course next month, taught by one of our alum, Rick Shaw. Rick has worked for decades as a comic and sitcom producer (remember "The Nanny"? that was one of his....); he's now doing special events and writing comedy for other performers. And he's coming to Park to teach a one-credit course in "Developing the Comedy Sitcom."

Here's how it's going to work:
Eight lucky students will be selected to participate in the course.

They'll meet with Rick on Friday, Nov. 10, late afternoon, in the conference room on the third floor. And they'll spend the weekend -- literally, the weekend -- doing exactly what comedy writers do....throwing ideas around, being outrageous, playing an idea out (and out and out) until it either explodes or fizzles out...

Please note: You will need to be the kind of person who is not easily offended by the kinds of stupid jokes and double entendres that can often be considered offensive. Really. That's the nature of this kind of situation and environment, and it's important to understand that this will not be your standard Park classroom conversation.

In fact, it's going to be as close to 'real world' as we can make it...which means I'm also going to hire a "runner" who will be in the conference room to take notes (real writers talk their ideas, they don't have time to type them) and go out for Chinese food (why do you think they call them 'runners'?).

By the end of the weekend, the group will have an idea for a script.

Over the next month, the students will work with Rick via our videoconferencing equipment; he'll be in LA, they'll be on campus, and they'll collaborate on a script.

In mid-December (or maybe early January...we'll see), Rick will come back to campus for a second one-credit mini-course. This time, actors will do a 'table read' of the script and the team will spend the weekend rewriting.
By the end of the second weekend, they'll have a script in hand.

Next semester, a group of students -- we're hoping at least some of the original group will remain involved -- will work with Rick to cast and shoot the pilot. And then, yes, folks, we're going to try to pitch it (hey, why not?)

Oh, and one more thing: we're also going to be shooting the process, just in case we can sell it as a really fun and interesting reality show.

There are no prerequisites to the course EXCEPT that it is open to Park majors only; in fact, we're hoping that we'll get a mix of students from across the school, from across departments, from across majors. After all, no program has a monopoly on creativity or humor.

But we're only taking eight. And you need to apply -- it's that "permission of instructor" thing.

How to do that?

Write a 100-word essay that shows why you should be in the course. Show us that you can be funny. And brief.

Deadline for essays is Tuesday, October 31 (Halloween! perfect!) at 5 p.m. Email them to me at dlynch@ithaca.edu.

Tell your friends. Tell your friends' friends. It's going to be one more example of an opportunity to do something really cool -- and to learn amazing lessons in the process.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

DreamWorks' Katzenberg at Cornell...and you're invited!

Our good friends at Cornell have invited us to attend a very special event at the Statler Auditorium next week: An interview q-and-a with Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation and co-founder of DreamWorks Studios.

Here's the press release that's going out tomorrow:

CEO of DreamWorks Animation to Visit Cornell University

Ithaca, NY – October 25, 2006 – Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation and co-founder of DreamWorks Studios will be at Cornell University on October 30. “A Conversation with Jeffrey Katzenberg: The Future of Computer Animation” is sponsored by the Faculty of Computing and Information Science (CIS) and the Program of Computer Graphics. The event takes place at The Statler Hall Auditorium on the Cornell campus at 2:00pm. The event is open to the wider Cornell community and affiliated educational partners. Seating may be limited, so early arrival is recommended.

DreamWorks Animation is a leader in the creation and production of computer animated films. Such films so far include Antz, Academy Award winning Shrek, Shrek 2, Shark Tale, Madagascar and Over The Hedge with an upcoming slate to include Flushed Away, Shrek the Third, Bee Movie and Kung Fu Panda. Katzenberg has been Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation since October 2004. Prior to co-founding DreamWorks Studios in Oct. 1994, he served as chairman of the board of Walt Disney Studios (1984 to 1994). As chairman, he was responsible for the worldwide production, marketing and distribution of all Disney filmed entertainment, including motion pictures, television, cable, syndication, home entertainment and interactive entertainment. Prior to joining Disney, Katzenberg was president of Paramount Studios.

“Jeffrey Katzenberg is very supportive of DreamWorks outreach program,” explains John Tarnoff, Sr. Production Executive and Head of Show Development. “He understands the value of establishing and maintaining relationships with universities across the country. Especially those schools that will provide future talent for the computer animation industry and DreamWorks,” he added.

Katzenberg’s visit isn’t the only connection DreamWorks Animation has to Cornell University. This past summer DreamWorks Animation launched a hands-on training program called the “DreamWorks Animation Effects Challenge”. Graduating students across the country were considered for the chance to spend six months working in a rigorous, hands-on effects training curriculum at the PDI/DreamWorks campus in Redwood City, California. The program is focused on developing effects animation problem-solving skills. All classes are taught by DreamWorks special effects developers and artists. Six slots were open for this program.

Against the backdrop of selecting top graphics graduates nationwide, DreamWorks Animation accepted CIS graduate, Yekaterina Isichenko, to participate in the "Effects Challenge". That Isichenko was chosen to participate in this program is a testament to Cornell's strong educational program in computer graphics.

“Yekaterina was considered for this program because of her interest and ability in both technology and image creation. Her educational background and demonstration of visual ability advanced her standing during our search,” said Marilyn Friedman, Head of Outreach and Special Projects.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A little Park press....check it out!

So we know we're the best, but we love it when we break into the national news as one of the schools that 'gets it' when it comes to the digital age...or makes great television, for that matter.

We had a good day in that regard:

Our own Kim Gregson is in the Philadelphia News today, talking about Second Life (she was in the Baltimore Sun last week....what an expert!).

And the Amazing Race got some press in Rochester, too!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Printing madness...

Hey everybody,

None of you are at all concerned about this right now...you are, after all, enjoying the relative quiet and calm of fall break. And the last thing on your mind is what you're going to do next time you're in Park and need to print.

I, on the other hand, am working through my long "to do" list (it's been awaiting your departure, so I could tackle it one item at a time, from #1 to #521...), and #87 is "Remind students about printing."

So here it is, your reminder:

Because so many of you now have laptops,
and because that means you are hanging out in Park to do your homework instead of going back to your room in-between classes,
and because you will inevitably have a hard time getting into a lab during the day (they're always booked),
we've decided to be sure you have the ability to print those papers and assignments whenever you need to.

So there's a new printer in Park 220, which (as you know) is open all day as a reading room.
It's for your use and your convenience. (You're welcome.)
Happy printing.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Faculty Member Lisa Drew wins national writing award

Great news! Lisa Drew, our new faculty member in Journalism, has just been awarded National Wildlife magazine's annual Farrand Strohm Writing Award. The prize acknowledges the best work published each year in National Wildlife magazine, one of the country's premiere environmental publications; her winning piece, "Alaska Meltdown" appeared in the magazine's August issue.

Here's the intro to the article (nice promo for IC!):

The Case of the Disappearing Lakes

In her article “Alaska Meltdown,” writer Lisa W. Drew points out that more than half of the state’s immense surface area, including its water, sits on permafrost, the perennially frozen soil or ice that holds entire ecosystems together. “And there’s the rub,” she writes. As global warming fueled by greenhouse gas emissions heats up the planet, the permafrost is thawing. And that, in turn, is causing many lakes and wetlands in Alaska to drain into the ground below. Increasingly, scientists are discovering, water bodies are simply vanishing and the ramifications for wildlife in the state, such as this arctic tern and chick, may be significant.

While reporting on the disappearing lakes, Drew got a glimpse of the effects of this meltdown while tagging along with an international group of permafrost experts studying the area around the city of Fairbanks. Among other things, they encountered dips in roads where permafrost was thawing and sinkholes where massive ice wedges had melted.

“I was living in Fairbanks at the time and after those experiences, I looked at the place in a whole new way,” says Drew, who now teaches journalism at Ithaca College in New York. “It’s hard to take a cityscape for granted when you know some of its underpinnings could melt away.”

Congratulations, Lisa!

What a party!


It's been a little slow on the blog over the past few weeks -- not because nothing has been happening (that's NEVER the case around here) but because we've all been so absorbed in preparation and planning for the all-college Capital Campaign Kickoff and the first meeting of the Park School National Advisory Board.

The meetings and special events occurred last week, on Thursday and Friday, and just ask anybody who was there: they were among the most exciting and inspiring events anybody around here has seen in decades.

Here in Park, we played host to about a dozen of our most successful and accomplished alumni -- starting with Bob Iger, CEO and president of the Walt Disney Company. Iger was on campus to serve as the campaign's honorary chair, but he had the good grace (and wisdom) to insist on spending some time with Park students.

So there he was on Thursday afternoon, one of the most influential and powerful people in the media today, taking questions from all of you guys. Good questions, too. Afterwards, he said it was the high point of his visit to campus, and he could have "done that all day." I, of course, immediately invited him to return whenever he happens to have the time.

But Iger wasn't the only major media player in Park last week. The school has a new advisory board comprised of some of its most successful alumni. They spent two days with us, listening to a series of reports about the "State of the Park School," and offering their insight and advice about the future. They also spent about 90 minutes at our all-school reception Thursday afternoon, talking to students (and without exception, they said that you all were amazing, poised, smart, thoughtful....in other words, Parkies!).

All in all, it was a huge success -- thanks to the commitment of our alumni, the incredible work of our staff (special thanks to April Korpi in my office, and Yeulanda Degala and Melissa Gattine in our Special Programs office), and the energetic participation of our faculty and students.

Bottom line: this really is one amazing place.....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Match Game: It's ba-a-a-ack....and in podcast!

Parkie Craig Reid came into my office at the beginning of the semester with an amazing idea: He wanted to produce an IC version of the longstanding game show "The Match Game." And he wanted to do it for podcast.

You have to love it: Imagine sitting out in back of the Park School, waiting for the bus, and watching The Match Game on your cell phone. Now that's what I call mobile entertainment.

Craig asked for a little help, we managed to come up with some (hey, we're all about new ideas here in the Park School), and a few weeks ago, he pulled together cast and crew and shot the first series of 'episodes.' I was supposed to be one of the panelists, but that's another story; I'm waiting for my turn later this month. But in the meantime, Craig's first productions are now available on Google:

Episode I
Episode II

And did you know the Match Game was known around the world as "Blankedy Blank"? Watch the show. You'll see why....

The Match Game: It's ba-a-a-ack....and in podcast!

Parkie Craighttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif Rehttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifid came into my office at the beginning of the semester with an amazing idea: He wanted to produce an IC version of the longstanding game show "The Match Game." And he wanted to do it for podcast.

You have to love it: Imagine sitting out in back of the Park School, waiting for the bus, and watching The Match Game on your cell phone. Now that's what I call mobile entertainment.

Craig asked for a little help, we managed to come up with some (hey, we're all about new ideas here in the Park School), and a few weeks ago, he pulled together cast and crew and shot the first series of 'episodes.' I was supposed to be one of the panelists, but that's another story; I'm waiting for my turn later this month. But in the meantime, Craig's first productions are now available on Google:

Episode I
Episode II

And did you know that the Match Game was called "Blankedy Blank" when it aired internationally? Take a look at the IC version....you'll see why.

IC Alum to star in BET's "A Royal Birthday"

This just in from Ebony Blue, a current IC student and spokesperson for the African-Latino Society. Q. Smith is a 2001 theater grad; the show airs at 10 p.m. Thursday.

Q. Smith (musical theater grad of 2001) will be a featured actress on Bet Jazz's new show A ROYAL BIRTHDAY. The project comes to us from KIM FIELDS (known for her work on Lifetime channel and favorite of FACTS OF LIFE).

Q. has been heard on the off-broadway recording of FAME and is making her broadway debut this Fall in the revival of LES MISERABLES!

Take a look at the story on BET

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Journalism Under Siege

Sal Paolantonio, the parent of a Park student and a May '06 alum, is one of ESPN's best-known and most successful sports media personalities. He's also a journalist at heart.

Last night, he delivered an inspiring analysis of the current state of American journalism to students from St. Joseph's, Penn and Temple universities.

I thought you'd be interested:

Journalism Under Siege

Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat I voted for.

I spent more than five years in the United States Navy. In the late 70s, when many of my peers loathed the notion of serving their country, I did.

I am patriotic. I love my country. If asked, I would have gladly signed up to travel to Afghanistan to help find bin Laden and slit his throat.

But I’ve had enough. As a journalist – a reporter all my post-military life – I can no longer be silent. This president, this administration in Washington, is attempting to turn back the clock, attempting to re-enact the rogue, imperial presidency of Richard Nixon. And it must be stopped.

George W. Bush’s attacks on the first amendment are abhorrent, immoral and unconstitutional.

“If you add up added up all the attacks of all the other administrations on the first amendment, they cumulatively wouldn’t add up to what we’ve seen from this group,” said Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.

I started my career at the Albany Times Union. I investigated corrupt government officials in the city of Albany and Rensselaer County. I traveled to Africa to cover the famine and I wrote about politicians who used taxpayer money for their own gain.

At the Philadelphia Inquirer, I covered three presidential campaigns, investigated a New Jersey judge who was eventually thrown off the bench, and uncovered the misdeeds and malfeasance of numerous government officials and politicians on both sides of the Delaware River.

At ESPN, I have been assigned the most sensitive investigative stories and trials. I have won numerous investigative and reporting awards, including the Associated Press’ highest honor for reporting, and five Emmys.

Given my career, I should be happy about the state of journalism in this country.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m very distressed. Why? Because the Bush White House is at war with the press. George W. Bush – and I’m a conservative in most cases, and a republican with a small “r” -- is attempting to return to the pre-Watergate days, when the Nixon administration tried to stop the publication of the Pentagon Papers, and reporters appeared on the White House enemies list, and the FBI kept files on journalists who challenged the administration and its views.

Right now, here’s what’s happening:

The FBI is reported to have been tapping reporters’ telephones.

The FBI is seeking 20 year old classified documents from the estate of the great journalist Jack Anderson.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has seriously suggested indicting the top editors of the New York Times.

The government is seeking to turn an 89-year old law, the Espionage Act, into an official secrets act.

Sports journalism is not even safe. Two reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, have been threatened with jail time for refusing to disclose their source for a series of articles two years ago about the baseball steroid investigation of Barry Bonds and Balco. Bonds’ steroid pusher is in jail for failing to testify, and now the reporters are being threatened with the same treatment.

Lazy federal prosecutors are making no distinction between the guys pushing the drugs and the guys reporting on the drugs.

“This isn’t just about guys in your business,” Senator Dodd recently told the New York Daily News. “It’s not about you and it’s not about me. It’s about your readers and my constituents, having a right to information.”

In response to the Balco investigation case, Dodd has introduced a federal shield law.

Just look at the way that the Bush White House has tried to manipulate and attack the press:

In the past six years, the administration and its surrogates have issued a stream of disinformation about intelligence and Iraq, including feeding bogus information to a New York Times reporter who helped sell going to war to the nation.

They have paid friendly columnists – and I use that term loosely – like Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher tens of thousands of dollars to mimic the White House line.

The Bush administration has accredited to the White House press corps a phony journalist who happened to be an ex-prostitute (talk about your double entendres) to pitch softball questions at White House briefings.

The administration has also tightened the Freedom of Information Act, making it more difficult for the press to learn about government activities.

And it has pioneered these so-called “fake” video reports that have been provided free to local TV stations, whose wrongheaded executives were only to happy to put on the air. Free programming that erodes the freedom of the press.

And all of this has been done in the name of protecting our national interest, our national security in time of war.

If you were doing a blueprint for a corrupt country, for a dictatorship, the first thing you would do is criminalize the exchange of information, and put limits on free speech.

This is exactly what the Bush administration is attempting to do. Besides being unconstitutional, it is also insidiously destructive to our free society.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black once wrote: “The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.”

Month by month, the Bush White House – particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, who is a direct descendent of the Nixon-Ford White House axis – has been more and more critical and threatening toward reporters and the press.

When the Washington Post’s Dana Priest wrote about sending muslim prisoners to foreign and secret jails, Cheney attacked her, calling her disloyal.

When the New York Times reporters Jim Risen and Eric Lichtblau broke the story of the government’s secret wiretap program, Bush, Cheney and the Attorney General all threatened to throw the editor of the newspaper in jail.

Thank goodness they are tough. Several months later, both reporters broke the story of the government’s monitoring of an international banking database to track the movement of Al Queda funds – which, by the way, had been an open secret since Bush himself announced the existence of the program in five years ago.

That didn’t stop the attacks on the Times, however. The White House threatened to use the Espionage Act, which was written in 1917 by Congress without news gathering in mind, to try the reporters and send them to jail.

And conservative talk show hosts chimed in. One in California (a woman named Melanie Morgan) suggested that the editor of the Times, Bill Keller, be sent to the gas chamber.

Of course, the Bush administration understands exactly what is happening in the world of newspaper journalism. Newspapers, including the Times, are shrinking and slowly dying.

And by making reporters the enemy, the White House further arouses its conservative base. Why do you think Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel (I use the term “news” very loosely) spends almost half his show every night attacking the New York Times?

The White House needs a scapegoat for its miserable disaster in Iraq, its failed policies in the war on terror.

They can’t beat Al Queda. They can’t tame
Baghdad. In need of an easier target, the White House has focused on the press. They have taken the easy way out, the one all despots eventually take. They have chosen to shoot, if you will, the messenger.

The press has been the perfect foil. The public portrayal of reporters, in film, on television, and by opinion shapers, is as – Dick Cheney’s on-time boss Spiro Agnew once said – “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

Remember the final scene from Die Hard? Bruce Willis punches the idiot TV reporter in the face. Through years and years of stereotyping on screen and from the bully pulpit, journalists are seen as an intrusion, an annoyance to be swatted away.

Of course, if it weren’t for the annoying little habit called dogged determination of two Washington reporters, Spiro Agnew might not have thrown out of office for cheating on his taxes. And his boss, Richard Nixon, may have lived happily ever after as a two-term, one-man wrecking crew of the U.S. Constitution.

Of course, what got the ball rolling to Nixon’s eventual resignation was a fight with the press that he lost. Determined to keep secret their assessment of the war gone wrong in Vietnam, the White House tried to stop the publication of the Pentagon Papers – a case the government lost.

Attempting to find the leak of those Papers, attempting to suppress dissent, was Nixon’s undoing.

As the war in Vietnam continued to drag on and the howls of protest grew louder, Nixon got more and more paranoid. To find the leaks, Nixon created a squad called The White House “Plumbers,” financed by a slush fund.

The Watergate was bugged and burglarized, and it took two reporters from the Washington Post to undercover it all.

Playwright Tom Stoppard gave a great line to one his characters, a photo journalist, who said: “People do terrible things to one another. The only thing worse is if it’s kept in the dark.”

The founding fathers gave us another great line.

It’s called the First Amendment. Let me read it to you:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

Thank you.


Dr. Dianne Lynch, Dean
Roy H. Park School of Communications
Ithaca College
w: 607.274.3895
Dr. Dianne Lynch, Dean
Roy H. Park School of Communications
Ithaca College
w: 607.274.3895

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Elevator speech? What's an elevator speech?

What would you do if you had 30 seconds alone in an elevator with one of the most powerful businessmen in the world? Stare at the doors? Listen to your iPod? Text a friend? Or seize the moment and make the pitch of your lifetime?

Here's your chance to find out. Three lucky IC students will get 30 seconds to pitch a brilliant business idea to Bob Iger, CEO of Disney. Mr. Iger will then choose one student to receive a $100 gift certificate to the book store or two VIP passes to Disney World.

Here's the catch, you'll have to do it in front of several hundred influential alumni, faculty, administrators and fellow students. Think you can turn half a minute into your big break? If so, bring your idea and your best 30 second pitch on Thursday, October 5 from 2 - 4:30 p.m. in the Klingenstien Lounge in the Campus Center to audition for your chance to make your case to Mr. Iger on October 12.

You must be available to attend the campaign kick-off gala reception on October 12, 2006 from 7 – 9 p.m. in the Hill Center. Time is limited for auditions, so we will take the first 25 who RSVP to Lynne Pierce at lpierce@ithaca.edu. In that RSVP you must include when you are available to audition on the 5th (the more flexible you are, the bett

Saw: Standing Room Only in Park

Dan Heffner's visit to Park on Saturday drew a standing-room-only crowd to the Auditorium to hear him talk about life in Hollywood, the Saw series, and what's next for Jigsaw (questions about that generally prompted a single response from Heffner: "Go see Saw III").

After that presentation, Heffner met with students from BuzzSaw, the Ithacan and ICTV. He had dinner on Friday night with a group of faculty and administrators, so when I asked him what he wanted to do Saturday night, his response didn't surprise me: "What I'd really like to do is hang out with some students."

And that's what he did. It's Sunday morning and I haven't heard yet what they ended up doing, but I left him yesterday in the capable hands of Ram Calley and his pals. I'm sure they'll have a few stories to tell.....

Speaking of which, this just in from another Park alum, Alexander Wysocki:

Dear Dianne,

I was keeping up on some Ithaca news and I noticed that "Saw III"
will be coming to Park this weekend. It is great to see Hollywood
making its way back to New York.

When Abbey Kirk ( IC '04 ) and I were in the IC LA program we were
lucky enough to get internships on the first "Saw" movie as
Production Assistants. At the time we were not quite sure what we
were working on. It was a horror film, and that was cool enough. We
worked hard and late, but the crew was fun to be around and the
experience was exactly what we went out to LA for. I remember Dan
being very stressed on the set when we were shooting, but when he had
some free moments, he was very gracious to us and made us feel welcome
on the set.

I remember helping the art department with pieces of the bathroom set
and, then the same day, getting be a camera assistant for few a
scenes. We both had the pleasure of making Danny Glover fresh
squeezed orange juice in the morning (he likes the plump left in so he
knows it is real). Abbey was walking into one of the storage areas
and was stopped dead in her tracks by the puppet on the tricycle, and
yes it even is scary in real life. It was a great experience for us.

Abbey's favorite moment was occurred at the end of a particularly
stressful day on the set. The DP was changing the light on a set,
when James Wan, the director came out and took a breather in her
section of the set. He was leaning up a against the wall and asked
her "Is this your first movie?" "Yes," she replied cheerfully. "Mine
too" and he took a huge drag on his cigarette.

At the end I talked to Cary Elwes (He's the actor who "saws" of his
foot) about his famous sword fight scenes in Robin Hood Men In Tights
and The Princess Bride. After that I helped him stuff a giant
television in the back seat of his Mustang.

Now that we are out here we have had great luck with all of the Ithaca
connections. One producer we worked for actually hired us just
because we were Ithaca graduates. This producer, Joe Revello, also
happens to be the neighbor of one Dan Heffner. Small world.

I thought I would let you know about some of these interesting stories
that are relevant to what is going on right now. As a former member
of the saw crew I cannot wait until the 3rd movie hits theatres. We
watched the first one premier on Halloween night in Ithaca many years
ago and it was great to see our names in the credits. Since the crew
was so small, that meant that our names were really big, which was
also a thrill.....