Friday, September 25, 2009

What role does Social Media play in your smart life?

I like working at Iowa Public Television.

If you are a regular reader, all 2 of you, then you've seen me write that before.

I get to have great discussions on a daily basis about topics in the news, of interest and good stories.

Today I forwarded this YouTube video with newer numbers on social media and its impact. Thanks to Mike Mickle for sharing, BTW.

What are your thoughts on social media?
Is it good?
Is it the future?
What value do you gain as an intellect taking part in SM?
Why not call someone?

I argue that IPTV has to be involved in social media. We are still moving forward officially at a slow, plotted pace. Others, in their personal accounts, this blog being one of them, are not. I like what Twitter can do for me and my work. I've said before, if I was still running an assignment desk or reporting full time, I would be in heaven. I think public TV has a place to a part of it all.

I like how facebook keeps me in contact with friends. I can peer into their lives and have a starting point of conversation when I see them in person.

Do smart people, who watch public TV or listen to NPR think social media has a place and a future?

Does anyone under 30 without children watch public TV? That topic will wait for another day.

Please, please, share your thoughts.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Health Care and a trip in the time machine

The Iowa Journal tries to get their arms around the debate of health care reform. The issue is huge and we take our bite tonight. We look at the "Summer of Discontent" when lawmakers went to their home districts to hold regularly scheduled town meetings. Those meetings were dominated by healthcare discussion. At times, it got loud, even a little uncomfortable. What does that mean? Will that help us solve any issues?

The reform bill is moving forward. What does this mean to insurance, hospitals and those helping craft the changes?

Great question, Paul.

We just happen to have people from those fields in our studio for tonight's show. We'll put the Iowa Journal on the monitors seen in the picture above.

Three guests with stakes in the health care debate will be in our studio: Iowa State Senator Jack Hatch, (D-Des Moines), chair of the White House Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform; Kirk Norris, president/CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association; and Joe Teeling, chairman and CEO of Bearence Management Group, a consulting group that helps employers with the purchase of health insurance.

In our efforts to get more topics in the show, we've also hop into the time machine to go back to 1959. That year Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev took a whirlwind trip through the U.S. including a stop in Iowa. The story includes interviews with Khrushchev's son who made the 1959 trip with his father, and Roswell Garst’s granddaughter, Liz Garst, who was 8 years old when Khrushchev visited her grandfather's farm.

See if you notice any changes in the beginning of the show tonight. We are trying some things. See if you notice.

On a personal note, no baby yet. We are close, due date is Friday. We just hope to not deliver on the side of the road like our friends Brad and Carie. Great story here about their experience earlier this week. I did blog about it here with the link to the WQAD story.

Maybe the monkey knows what the delay is all about.

See you tonight at 8p on IPTV in full HD. Also Friday at 630p.

If you watch The Office or Grey's or CSI, we are commercial free. No commercials to skip through on our program. So, watch us in real time and record the other show.

The entire show will be posted on Friday to Some parts of the show are already posted.

We also have an official Iowa Journal Twitter page at

Thank you for reading this far.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I hope we can make it to the hospital

We are ready. I think. I hope. I pray. This as we prepare for the birth of our second son.

I also hope and pray the same thing doesn't happen to us that happened to our friends Carie and Brad Kreiner.


Elliot Carl Kreiner was born at 10:54 p.m., Sunday night, 7 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches long, on the side of John Deere Expressway. Elliot's mom and dad are Carie and Brad.

Carie and Amy were roommates when they first started their full-time careers with John Deere. They only knew each other from the internship program, but enough to live together in Moline. So, the girls have been close ever since. Carie was in our wedding and Amy was a part of their wedding.

We keep in touch and contact, especially now that they've come back to the midwest from North Carolina. Amy and Carie have another connection again they were both expecting a baby around the same time in late September. Amy is still holding on, but Carie and Brad couldn't wait to deliver their third baby.

When I say they couldn't wait, they really couldn't wait.

Carie and Brad were headed to the hospital late Sunday night as Carie knew it was time. Her water broke in the car on the drive from Geneseo to Moline and Trinity Hospital (the same place Noah was delivered, in the hospital). They were driving down John Deere Road when the baby wouldn't wait anymore. Brad then delivered the baby right there, 1/2 mile from the hospital.

Noah and I went to Kindermusik on Tuesday night and we came home to Amy being on the phone with Carie. I could tell they had their baby as Amy said, "oh, Elliot, what a great name."

Amy hung up the phone and said they had their baby, but there's a great story to go with it. Amy then tells the story you just read and I said, wow. That sounds like a story. Does the media know?

Yup. Figures that WQAD's Chris Minor reported their story. Here's the link to her story. As always, Chris does a great story.

Congrats to Brad and Carie.

I'm glad Brad is so cool under pressure. Even if he is a Central College grad.

I hope I can sleep tonight and not have their story going to my brain.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Iowa Film Industry Part Deux

A few days, more than a few changes for the Iowa Film Office and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

The head of the Iowa Motion Picture Association, Tom Wheeler, is now out of a job after being put on paid administrative leave.

The Governor's office issued this release a few minutes ago.


DES MOINES – Governor Chet Culver announced today the departure of two officials from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED).

The manager of the Iowa Film Office, Thomas Wheeler, has been dismissed from his position effective this afternoon. The Iowa Film Office is a division of IDED. Amy Johnson will serve as the interim manager of the Iowa Film Office.

In addition, the resignation of Vince Lintz as deputy director of IDED has been accepted.

IDED is currently reporting to Richard Oshlo, director of the Department of Management, while new leadership for the department is being considered.

Earlier today, Governor Culver asked the Attorney General, State Auditor and Department of Revenue to assist in a review of the Film, Television and Video Project Promotion Program. On Friday, Governor Culver accepted the resignation of IDED Director Mike Tramontina and asked the Economic Development Board to not approve further film tax credit certificates until questions about the administration of the program are answered.

This news comes on the same day members of the board of the Iowa Motion Picture Association held a press conference in Des Moines. Pictured above are Bruce Heppner Elgin, VP of the IMPA Board of Directors and president of StoryBench, Ann Wilkinson, IMPA board member and owner of PMS Casting, and Kent Newman, president of the IMPA Board of Directors and Full Spectrum Productions.

Many media outlets attended, lots of questions and lots of coverage has already happened this weekend.

Several members of the IMPA were in attendance as were those who are in the film industry of Iowa. It almost felt like a pep rally at one point and a wake at another.

Also got a comment about a movie StoryBench is starting next week in the West Branch and Williamsburg area.

The movie is called "Collapse," the last movie to receive tax credits before this mess. Its the third movie the Coralville-based Storybench has done and all of them have been all-Iowa productions.

Thanks to Criss Roberts for the comments.

The story continues...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Take Out the Trash Day?

NBC's political drama The West Wing gave light to the subject of taking out the trash. A story that was piled in with others that most journalists didn't care about. Sometimes, real stories, usually buried deep, were all thrown out together.

Some newsrooms empty on Friday or are focused on sports. When I worked weekends in Davenport, I was in on Friday to get a feel for what's happening and what would be a story the next couple of days. That helped to not come into a weekend cold and void of all current events.

Sometimes, when news breaks late in a day, its hard to get anything official. That can be a problem, but that sometimes leads to better stories of people reacting, not officials reacting. Sometimes that strategy works, but people are noticing when you dump a story on the weekend.

It appears that maybe that's happened Friday with the State of Iowa, Governor Chet Culver's office and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Governor Culver's press office normally issues schedules of the Governor, Lt. Gov and First Lady on Friday afternoons.
But this release has a bit more bite.

Press Release from Iowa Governor's Office
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 4:49 PM


DES MOINES – The Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Mike Tramontina, has tendered his resignation, effective immediately, to Governor Chet Culver.

The Governor has accepted Tramontina’s resignation.

The Department of Economic Development will report to Richard Oshlo, the interim director of the Department of Management, while new leadership at IDED is being considered.

Department heads will resign from time to time during the middle of an administration.
But the news comes at the time of stories floating and in print that the head of the Iowa film office was out of a job. That story was posted on line earlier today.

Here's the most current story from the Register.
The Iowa Film Office issued a statement Friday afternoon.

Good afternoon,

You may have heard false rumors that Tom Wheeler, Manager of the Iowa Film Office, was no longer with the IDED. The IDED has shared with IMPA that Tom is still with the IDED, but currently is not in the office and, according to IDED policy, does not disclose information on personnel matters.

The main thing to know is that the Iowa Film Office is open and operating. In the interim, Amy Johnson is the main contact for the Iowa Film office, which is continuing to accept and process tax incentive applications.

The IMPA is currently finalizing our formal comments regarding the IDED administrative rules for the Film Tax Incentives. Our comments will focus on the need to maintain stability and continuity in the program; as well as continuing support for workforce training and business/infrastructure development.

Thank you,

Tammy Shutters
Program Director
Iowa Motion Picture Association

More to come on this story, that's for sure.
We've had Tramontina on the Iowa Journal a few times. We've also talked about the Iowa Film Tax Credit. In fact, it was the show's second episode back in 2007.

Then we revisited the issue in the spring.

This story brings up several questions. Have we seen the end of the film boom in Iowa?
Will Iowa's Film Office be put back together?
Is the Governor responding to pressure from critics of the tax credit?

We'll see how this story develops.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mayor Brent Matthias?

A former TV reporter, Wartburg VP and emcee for Dolly Parton plans a run at mayor of Waverly.

We've featured Waverly on The Iowa Journal and talked to now-retiring mayor Ike Ackerman. Fun thing about Ike is he can recite every town in Iowa and its population as according to the DOT map issued.

This is not an endorsement of Brent Matthias' campaign, but rather sharing the info.

Brent and I go back a bit during my time at Wartburg and the time since. He's a guy like me, communications major, went through the doors at KWWL-TV and loves the color orange.

Here's an article from 2005 about Brent from the Waterloo Courier.

He'll be in the race against some political big hitters for the Bremer County town. Bob Brunkhorst, the former State Senator, Fifth Ward Councilman Fred Ribich and At-large Councilman Duane Liddle all have already announced their candidacy.

Brunkhorst was in the Senate when I was at Wartburg and started my reporting career at KIMT-TV. Ribich was on faculty at Wartburg during my time, but I did not have any classes with him.

You may have seen Brent on commercials for Casey's General Stores a few years ago. Maybe we can find a couple of those out there and post as well.

What are your favorite Brent Matthias stories?

Here's his release.

Matthias to run for Mayor

A stranger to politics but no stranger to the Waverly Community is running for Mayor. Brent Matthias former KWWL reporter and former Wartburg Assistant Vice President for Admissions is the latest candidate to seek the office of Mayor of Waverly.

"As a son of a Mom who was a social worker and a Dad who was a farmer, and a Wartburg graduate, service and hard work have been ingrained in my life since a young age. Being raised in Bremer County and now living in Waverly since 2002, I have come to appreciate what a wonderful community Waverly is." Matthias stated.

Matthias, 39, will be running against three other candidates, all who have political backgrounds. Bob Brunkhorst, the former State Senator, Fifth Ward Councilman Fred Ribich and At-large Councilman Duane Liddle all have already announced their candidacy.

Therein lies the motivation for Matthias declaring his candidacy.

"There are so many good things about Waverly, but now it is time to take the community to the next level, and one of the ways to do that is to bring in a fresh face and new perspectives; perhaps it’s time for folks to have a non-politician to choose from on the ballot."

Matthias is not unfamiliar to serving the community. He currently serves on the Waverly Cable & Telecommunications Commission, has coached Little League Baseball and Youth Football in Waverly, and is currently a high school baseball coach and motivational speaker. That has led him to start his own company, Matthias Entertainment & Consulting. He and his wife, Kari, have four children and are members of St.John's Lutheran Church here in Waverly. Kari is a speech language pathologist for AEA 267.

"My family and I have talked about giving back by being involved in city government and I always said "someday". But after being flooded out of our house in the summer of 08' and learning more about the political process through recovery efforts, I realized that this is the time to become more involved and that "someday" is now." Matthias said.

Matthias's key issues will include; bringing more economic development to town, looking into flood recovery and flood mitigation issues, improving the systemic health of city government, and bringing in more tourism to Waverly.

"We want to focus on all the citizens of Waverly and hear what their needs are and how they want to see their community move into the future. Waverly has good schools, a good college, a good hospital, a good retirement community, good businesses, and there is no reason that Waverly can't be the star of the state! It should be an exciting time for all of the families and citizens of Waverly!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Norman Borlaug, Economy and the Dead Zone

The first show of the new season is in the books, now its time for episode two of The Iowa Journal.

I've mentioned before that we playing with the format a bit. Did you notice?

This week we also do something different. No studio discussion. Its just three stories this week. We had a discussion scheduled on the Dead Zone and Iowa's contribution, but have dropped that for another big story. The death of Iowa native Norman Borlaug.

We've got a hold of a documentary that was in the works about Borlaug and will air a part of that Thursday night at 8p on statewide Iowa Public Television. Market to Market is also working on a feature as well. Andrew Batt is on the case. Look for his report Friday night. On a side note, I had just mentioned Borlaug's health to Batt about ten days ago after hearing that Borlaug was not in good health. I will stop mentioning anyone and their health for quite sometime.

We also will look at the economy according to Creighton University Economics professor Ernie Goss. Earlier this month, Rick Fuller and I traveled to Omaha to spend a couple of days with Dr. Goss. He's been on show in a couple of other times to talk about gambling, and regional economies. He's a good friend of the show and always enjoyable to talk to. We already aired one feature on his MidAmerica Business Conditions Index on Market to Market. You can watch that story here. We'll air our feature on Thursday and then post the full interview about Iowa's economy on our website.

--UPDATE-- The full interview lives here. If the video is not there, check back, it will be soon.

Another fun side note about Borlaug as said by Penn and Teller. Ok, really just Penn since Teller is silent. Here's a fun video sent to me by Derek Balsley.

Producer Nancy Crowfoot also is putting the finishing touches on Iowa's contribution to the Dead Zone. What are Iowans doing to put chemicals in the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf Of Mexico? There is a conference about this issue taking place in the next few days, so this is a preview to that. We'll revisit the topic later in the season in-studio when we can devote time to it.

Thanks for taking the time. Glad to have you reading this far.
Have you seen the monkey?

See you Thursday at 8p on IPTV. BTW, no new Grey's Anatomy this week.
UPDATE: The Office is new. But they do reruns. We don't.
You can also watch our replay Friday night at 630p.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Season of The Iowa Journal

Its time to get those DVRs ready to record a brand new season of The Iowa Journal, your favorite Iowa Public Television program. Except for Clifford, Sid, Martha and a whole bunch of other great shows on the network.

We are back Thursday at 8p on statewide IPTV in full high definition. We begin season 3 with a look at education in Iowa. The official line from our website is:

"The Iowa Journal examines the need to refocus the work of school principals, and how that could help increase student achievement."

In a previous Tweet on Wednesday morning, you were given homework. Here's the note again..

"Your homework before Thursday's return of The Iowa Journal at 8p on IPTV."

Our program will include a look at The Principal Story, a documentary airing on IPTV September 15th.

Here's part of the official news release.

Troyce Fisher of the School Administrators of Iowa; long-time Des Moines North High School principal, Vincent Lewis; and Ben Johnson, a newer assistant high school principal from Fort Dodge. The program will also feature reports from Clear Creek Amana Middle School, and an interview with Iowa Department of Education Director Judy Jeffrey.

See you Thursday at 8 or Friday at 6:30p on IPTV.