Pizza Problem

I saw this on my local TV news last night, that an 86 year old woman in Charlotte, NC was arrested for abusing 911. She called more than 20 times in 38 minutes. You can read the story here.

Why is this national news?
I live near Charlotte, so I could understand why another nearby city might pick up the story and run with it. It’s certainly unusual — news of the weird. But come on, this woman is 86 years old. She may be suffering from the onset of senile dementia. She may just be an ornery old biddy. What she did was wrong, the police first warned her, then arrested her. But why do I need to see her mugshot on TV, hear it on the radio, and read it in the newspaper when there’s so much other news out there?

Not one of the stories I heard or read added any cautionary language about why you shouldn’t call 911 for a non-emergency. That’s the natural follow-up to this story.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I also heard it wasn’t this woman’s first time abusing 911. I think her actions are regrettable, and I think she should face sanctions. I just don’t want a story like this wasting news time in my area.

More about Blog Nashville

I just have to tell you that I thought the audio blogging and video blogging seminars really struck a chord. When I was a kid, my dad took Spanish lessons and had these conversation tapes on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. The machine had a microphone and I was fascinated with it, so he and my mom bought some blank tapes and let me record. I took that microphone all over the house … or as far as the cord would stretch, anyway. I was probably 4 and interviewed my brother who was 2, read books, sang songs, told jokes — anything to record my voice on tape.

Ten years later, I’m recording stuff on cassettes with those blocky tape recorders that predated boom boxes, and a few years after that, I got my big break. I got to do my high school radio show when I was a junior. I did all the writing and recording on campus and put it together with help from WJNC-AM’s Craig Thomas for air on the radio station before every football game. It was called Cardinal Soundspot (and we used this cool reverb on the intro so it sounded like this “Cardinal Sound-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot-spot” ) I ended up becoming a DJ on Jacksonville’s #1 AM radio station (I know, I know) and then moved over into television after college.

While I was at WJNC (I even served a stint as assistant news director) I used patch panels, reel to reel, cassettes and turntables to work with sound. My news director even figured out this ingenious way to change tapes for soundbites while we recorded audio packages. He pulled the cover off a Marantz recorder, so we could slip cued up cassette tapes in there. You had to practice until you could do it soundlessly. For those of you who remember cassettes, you remember what they sounded like going into the machine. They were noisy. Then you had to push all the buttons silently so there was no clicking. When you did it all live, it felt so good and seamless. I like CD’s, but without a digital solution to editing, I felt kind of cut off from audio.

Sure, there was splicing available, but we had figured out a way to do all the editing electronically. Because of that, when I was in college at UNC working on Student Television, I picked up video editing in one session. I already understood about inpoints and outpoints, having done the same thing, crudely, with a few cassettes, carts and that Marantz. I loved editing video, and decided I would go into television news. So I did.

I left TV at the end of 2000, just when the station had started switching to the SX editing system. The system wasn’t great, but watching the AVID editor doing it all on a computer was really amazing. Now that I’ve seen video blogging, I’m dying to get in there and create some video pieces on my computer. I’m not sure I have the right software, but that’s not too hard to fix. What I don’t have is lots of home movies or a digital camera. Did I mention my husband’s a photojournalist (chief photographer no less)? We don’t have any video or own a camcorder. Pretty amazing, huh?

So … finally getting around to my point … I thought the idea of audio blogging and podcasting was amazing. A way to create your own show that other people would listen to! (Beware of copyright laws!) And the same with video blogging — creating your own packages or greetings for people to check out. It’s like having your own broadcast station right inside your pc. And you can decide if you want to be in radio, television … or both at once.