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Archive for 'videos'

Flo notes: Hurricanes can bring out the best and worst in TV news reporters


Used to be the way for a local TV reporter to win the hearts of viewers was to show him or herself struggling against the elements during a violent weather event.

Or so they seemed to think.

Most assuredly, that mindset is still at work, or at least it was with the newsman below, whose on air performance to stay on his feet during Florence — while regular folks in the background walk casually by — has gone viral.

What most reporters have come to realize, though, is that the way to viewers’ hearts — especially during hurricanes — is to show dogs and cats, preferably being rescued.

Better yet, if you’re a TV reporter, help rescue a dog yourself.

A reporter for WTVD in Raleigh dispatched to New Bern, N.C. interrupted a Facebook Live video to “help” rescue a dog in knee-deep floodwaters.

Julie Wilson saw a woman trying to save her Rottweiler — her daughter’s therapy dog — from the water and offered to help.

Wilson didn’t enter the house with the woman, waiting outside instead, but she can be seen on the video assisting, helping to carry the dog to safety while assuring her “You are OK baby girl.”

Later, she says, “Nobody is leaving the dog in this mess. That’s what we are doing out here.” You can see the full live stream here.

Unlike the wobbly reporter higher up in this post, Wilson isn’t being criticized online, only praised as a hero.

Comments on the story online suggest that she be given everything from a raise to the blessing of God. Read one retweet: “Saw this today.. and i was so moved.. her co workers said how she was a animal lover and didn’t even drink coffee… . just gave from her heart….a true everyday hero…

Mike Seidel, the Weather Channel reporter, meanwhile, is being lambasted, but the Weather Channel defended him in a statement: “It’s important to note that the two individuals in the background are walking on concrete, and Mike Seidel is trying to maintain his footing on wet grass, after reporting on-air until 1:00 a.m. ET this morning and is undoubtedly exhausted.”

What’s clear is that simply braving the elements doesn’t cut it anymore. A TV reporter who wants to feel the love needs to be shown with a soggy dog, or a drenched cat — preferably one he or she helped rescue, optimally with the cameras rolling.

None of this is to say Julie Wilson didn’t do a fine reporting job, or that her intentions weren’t pure, or that she didn’t do the right thing in helping out the woman and the dog.

Only that I could do without TV reporters — even though they are doing a brave and noble job — trying to hammer home how brave and noble they are during a crisis.

The tragedy is bad enough without blatant heartstring-tugging, which, like blatant price-gouging, always tends to come after a hurricane like Florence passes through.

Freelance journalist Marcus DiPaolo got into the heroics as well, tweeting this rescue of kenneled dogs he said he took part in:

We assume that is DiPaolo holding the camera, and it’s not clear what more he did beyond grab the collar of one of the freed dogs and say “C’mon, puppy,” but from the tweet and his use of the word “we” he apparently wants some credit for the rescue as well.

Amid all the social media promotion of their own heroics, it’s important to remember that — honorable as those might be — it’s rescue workers and homeowners, not journalists, who are doing most of the rescuing out there, which brings us to the kitty at the top of this post.

It is of Robert Simmons Jr. and his kitten being evacuated in New Bern on a rowboat Saturday.

It was taken by a newspaper reporter, Andrew Carter, with the Raleigh News & Observer.

No, Carter didn’t pluck the cat out of raging floodwaters himself. No he wasn’t rowing the boat. But he did do his job.

Because, yes, covering a hurricane is vital, noble, heroic and all that stuff, too — just on its own.

If a reporter can help save a life — human or animal — by all means do it, but do it out of compassion, as opposed to reasons such as going “viral,” self-promotion, or over-sized ego.

Movie industry does what World War I could not: It silences Stubby, the heroic canine

The animated, true story of Stubby, the most decorated dog of World War I, was overshadowed by big studio releases when the movie came out this Spring, and now it appears to be getting overlooked when it comes to DVD sales.

As the film’s writer and director sees it, his movie about the underdog who became a military hero, is finding itself in an underdog position as well.

The movie was the first release by Fun Academy Motion Pictures Studios, which writer-director-executive producer Richard Lanni describes as a new company “carving a new niche for real-life storytelling in a crowded family entertainment landscape of fantasy and fairytale.”

But judging from open letters he has written to fans on the movie’s website, that has been tough going.

Stubby was saved from the streets in New Haven, Connecticut, where Private First Class Robert Conroy was training for duty nearby on the grounds of Yale University. When Conroy was sent overseas, he snuck Stubby along with him.

He would go on to serve as a messenger, guard and more. Over the course of his life, Stubby served in 17 battles and is credited with finding wounded soldiers, catching a German spy and, thanks to his sharp sense of smell, warning an entire platoon of a mustard gas attack.

When he returned home, Stubby was the center of attention at parades and met three presidents, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

Stubby merited a half-page obituary in the New York Times when he died in 1926 in the arms of Conroy at his home.

Stubby’s remains were gifted to the the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where the public can visit a stuffed version of him at the National Museum of American History.

The animated movie, while it got decent reviews, didn’t sell too many tickets upon its release and theater chains all but snubbed it after that.

“Everyone who saw the movie fell in love with Stubby, but there were far too many empty seats in theaters nationwide,” Lanni wrote. “Despite the enthusiastic responses we’ve received from parents, dog lovers, teachers, military families, history buffs, and kids of all ages, we simply can’t guarantee the film will remain available …

“After a challenging opening weekend, we must remember the story of Stubby. He was tenacious, resilient, and determined, and we must be the same. We’re not dead, but we are wounded and must stay in the fight.”

Now Lanni is finding the Blu-Ray version is difficult to get to consumers, as well.

“…We find ourselves fighting yet another uphill battle to make this film available to the wide audience it deserves,” Lanni wrote on the website, saying, because his new studio isn’t recognized, he has been denied the opportunity to sell DVDs on both Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

“The rationale, it seems, stems from those stores’ vendor approval policies. To put it simply, they don’t accept that a company capable of producing and distributing an award-winning animated feature film on four continents is also capable of delivering product to their store shelves…

“To put it another way, we are not recognized as a film studio in our own right and have not been presented with a process to apply for consideration as a film studio.”

As a result, he is offering it on his own, through the movie’s online store. The DVD will come out in early November, but you can pre-order it here.

U of Houston president adopts campus stray

The popular president of the University of Houston became a little more popular this week with her announcement that a stray dog who had been wandering around campus had been adopted.

By her.

President Renu Khator announced on Twitter Tuesday, “To all those concerned about the stray dog on campus for a week, don’t worry. I have brought her home from BARC to foster and adopt. Her name is Ruby!” Khator wrote.

BARC is the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Facility and is responsible for animal control in the city.

The stray had become something of a celebrity in the week she spent wandering the campus, and some students referred to her as “Professor.”

Apparently, after the dog was taken in by BARC, Khator made arrangements to foster and eventally adopt the dog.

Khator’s followers flooded her Twitter thread, sharing their own photos, praising her generosity and calling her the ‘best president’ a university could have, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“Just another reason to love our prez,” wrote one student.

By Wednesday morning, the dog appeared to be fitting easily into her new role as an unofficial UH mascot. Khator shared photos of her sporting a Cougar-red collar embroidered with a UH logo, as they walked together.

Five pound dog dies fighting off bear in N.C.

A five pound dog protecting his family was killed when he tried to scare off a bear inside their home in the North Carolina mountains.

“I thought I was going to die. I started yelling for my kids, ‘Shut your doors, shut your doors, there’s a bear in the house,'” Tiffany Merrill told WRAL.

Moments later, her dog Pickles came out. “(He) started barking and got the bear’s attention and got the bear outside and he saved my life,” Merrill said.

Pickles died in the confrontation inside the home in Black Mountain, a town outside Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“There was nothing I could do. I wanted to go out there and jump on the back of the bear and save my dog,” Merrill said.

Merrill said bears are “way more dangerous than what you think they are. After what happened to me this morning, who would have ever thought that’d happen? Not me.”

Royal news: Prince Harry and Meghan reportedly are parents (of a new dog)

Reports are that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a new addition — though photographs have yet to be published, a name has not been mentioned, and lineage has yet to be established.

PEOPLE says it has confirmed that a new pup has joined the family. The puppy photos in the video above (not from PEOPLE) are not believed to be the new royal pup.

The magazine says the couple got the dog — believed to be a Labrador — in early summer, and quotes sources as saying the new dog has been joining them at their country getaway in the Cotswolds area and Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace in London.

Harry and Meghan’s path, in that way, follows that of Harry’s brother, Prince William, and Kate Middleton. Shortly after they married they got a cocker spaniel. Shortly after that, they were parents of human babies.

Meghan and Harry’s new dog will join Guy, the rescued beagle that Meghan entered the marriage with.

Meghan, 37, had to leave her other aging dog, Bogart, with a friend when she moved to London from Toronto last November, when the couple got engaged.

Guy went from a U.S. shelter to a Canadian adoption group and was then adopted by Meghan Markle in 2015. He has become a visible part of Meghan’s new royal life. He sat her feet as she sat for her hair and makeup on her wedding morning, and was said to be one of the highlights at the wedding reception.

A spokeswoman at Kensington Palace declined to comment on the new arrival, PEOPLE said.

(Photos: Guy and Bogart, at left; Harry and Meghan, on wedding day, at right)

Mississippi State football player charged with starving Great Dane

storyA member of the Mississippi State football team has been suspended after his arrest on animal cruelty charges related to allegations he left a Great Dane locked in a room without food or water for at least three days.

Head Coach Joe Moorhead devoted a full 30 seconds to the incident in an 11-minute press conference Wednesday, stating little more than that offensive lineman Michael Story was indefinitely suspended as soon as the team learned about the charges.

Police in Starkville apparently did not reveal much about the incident either.

Both the name of the complainant and the address of the home where the incident occurred were redacted in the police complaint, which made no mention of any reasons Story might have had for sequestering the dog.

Story was charged Saturday on a misdemeanor count of aggravated cruelty to a cat or dog, WTVA reported.

The complainant told police that Story “shut Kodak the Great Dane in the back room of his apartment and did not feed or water Kodak the Great Dane since Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, until Aug. 18, 2018. Mr. Story then stated at a later time that Kodak the Great Dane had been in the bedroom of the apartment for roughly a week’s time.”

At a press conference on the final day of training, Coach Moorhead answered questions about training and the outlook for the team before a reporter asked, “What is Michael Story’s status with the team?”

“I’d rather just meet this out in front of it,” the coach answered, but his subsequent remarks shed little light on what happened.

He confirmed that Story had been suspended indefinitely as soon as the charges became known.

“We talk to our team all the time about our decision-making and our conduct off the field, and that’s something we certainly stress everyday. The discipline of this will be handled accordingly,” he said.

He added no more, and the next question was, “What’s the rotation at cornerback?”

You can watch the full press conference here.

Story, a junior from Ripley, was practicing as a second-team left guard early in preseason camp. He started twice as a freshman in 2016 but hasn’t started since.

(Associated Press photo by Michael Woods)

Paw-ternity leave, despite all the media hype, isn’t exactly sweeping the nation

Paw-ternity leave — or employers giving employees paid time off to care for a new dog in the family — is being called a “growing trend” again.

Don’t let your expectations grow too high, though, because it’s not really.

It’s instead what happens when cute idea meets catchy name (fur-ternity leave, it’s also called), and the news media forgets (or just doesn’t care) that they did pretty much the same story a year or two ago.

This latest round of attention the idea is receiving stems from a single report about a single company in Minneapolis.

Nina Hale, a digital marketing company, is offering employees one week of flexible hours to care for new pets. The company started the policy — not exactly the same thing as paid leave — after receiving multiple requests from employees with new or sick pets.

Basically it allows the company’s 85 employees to, after approval, work from home for a week.

Of course there are probably many companies that, being decent, already offer such compromises to employees without touting it.

But when a “marketing firm” does it, rest assured it will magically become big news, whether it’s really big or not.

In this case, the Star Tribune story led to a New York Times story that led to a Daily Mail story that led to every other media outfit and blogger to jump on it, in the process calling it a “growing trend” and making much more of it than it is.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic idea, but it’s not spreading like wildfire.

If there is a true trend here it is that companies — generally smaller, tech-related ones — are offering more lucrative benefits in an attempt to attract the best employees.

In reality, paw-ternity leave has been a little quicker to catch on overseas than in the U.S.

Musti Group, a pet food company based in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, offers a three-day paw-ternity leave plan to its 1,500 employees.

In the U.S., New York data company mParticle has a paw-ternity program that gives employees two weeks of paid time off if they adopt a rescue dog or other pet.

But, as we wrote two years ago — the last time it surfaced as a “growing trend” — don’t hold your breath waiting for your employer to offer it.

You’d be much better off going to the boss and seeing what kind of deal you can make, and if the answer is none, take some vacation time. Your new dog deserves it.