Posts by Al Tompkins

Enough with the PowerBall cheerleading -- just report the story

I wish journalists would stop being such cheerleaders for Powerball. I could do without seeing one more journalist buying a ticket and promising to bring one home to the anchors. Just report the story. This Powerball sucker game fervor is an opportunity to seriously examine how lotteries have or have not lived up to the promises that supporters made when … Read More

Should you use the video and the fax from the WDBJ shooting? That depends.

WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward became the 31st and 32nd journalist murdered this year while doing their jobs. They were on the air doing a routine morning show assignment on tourism. They weren't on a foreign battlefield or similar dangerous place journalists around the globe report from daily, but today's news underscores that it isn't … Read More

Same-sex marriage: Covering the battles ahead

Now that the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage has had time to sink in, journalists should wake up to the fact that a complicated and contentious debate lies ahead. Just as Brown v. The Board of Education didn't end discrimination in schools and Roe v. Wade did not end the abortion debate, Obergefell v. Hodges will not end … Read More

NBC and Brian Williams still have explaining to do

Brian Williams moderates a debate between presidential candidates in 2008 file photo. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)I believe in second chances and redemption. But NBC's decision to move Brian Williams to MSNBC isn't enough of an endgame move for me. NBC News has not released the findings of its investigation into inaccurate and embellished statements that Williams made on the news … Read More

Church shooting: Choose your words carefully

This image has been provided by the Charleston Police Department.(Charleston Police Department via AP)I wanted to share some thoughts prompted by an email I got this morning by Matt Jaworowski, a Media General Digital Content Producer. Matt noticed a barrage of social media comments wondering why journalists are not using the word “terrorist” to describe the man who … Read More

Networks use drones to cover Nepal quake

(Screen shot from NBC's drone coverage of Nepal.) NBC News' Miguel Almaguer used dramatic video captured by a drone in his reporting from Nepal this week. The images soaring above the ruins of destroyed temples in Kathmandu are a demonstration of how valuable these drones can be in adding context and scale, even while they are currently … Read More

NPR now allows users to embed 800,000 pieces of audio

Starting Wednesday, NPR began including embed codes with every story. With yesterday's change, NPR is enabling widespread distribution of its audio, said Patrick Cooper, director of Web and engagement for the public radio network. "We're throwing open the doors to embedding, putting our audio on your site," he said. Until now, NPR has only allowed embedding "sporadically," … Read More

Meet Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother who slapped her rioting son

Graham. CBS landed an interview with the most talked about person caught on camera during the Baltimore riots. But Toya Graham was not a rioter — she is a mother who saw her 16-year-old son Michael in the middle of the rock-throwing crowd. "He was coming across the street with a hoodie on and a mask. At that point I just … Read More

Journalists are looking for the Baltimore mother who stepped in last night

Veteran WMAR photojournalist Manny Locke was in the middle of a covering the unfolding riots in Baltimore when he noticed a woman plowing through the crowd then yelling and slapping one of the masked hooded young men in the street. Locke kept rolling as it became clear the woman was the young man's mother. Here's the video, which is laced … Read More

Journalists attacked and injured in Baltimore riots

At least nine journalists have been beaten or injured in the Baltimore riots this week — including several Monday night. Casey Harper, a reporter with the Daily Caller Foundation, says he took a liquor bottle to the head amid a "mob of attackers." Hey Team. I'm alive. Phone stolen, took a liquor bottle to the head and … Read More

Resources for journalists reporting on the earthquake in Nepal

A man walks past damage caused by an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, April 25, 2015. A strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha) Journalists who are looking for information, images and video of the … Read More

Here's what it's like to win a Pulitzer

I spoke with four Pulitzer-Prize winners to find out how winning has changed their lives and affected their journalism. All three said the prize opens doors but it also adds pressure to live up to the high expectations of having "Pulitzer Prize Winner" on your resume. spoke with: Jacqui Banaszynski, Knight Chair professor at the University … Read More

Behind 60 Minutes' decision to air video of sarin gas victims in Syria

Sunday evening, CBS News' 60 Minutes aired what it said was some of the most disturbing and graphic video it has ever put on television. The network began warning viewers about the video Friday. The story Sunday night warned viewers that "If you have young children watching right now, that is usually a good thing. But this story is … Read More