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.

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