Picking Up the Pieces

 
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I haven't been a very good Pulp caretaker lately due to a long piece that is kicking my ass hard. This thing had me feeling like Tom Hulce at the end of Amadeus, only I was surrounded by a thousand times more papers and F. Murray Abraham wasn't there to help. Oh, and it wasn't a masterpiece, just a really complicated business story. Still not done with it but ready to start shaping it into something coherent. My editor and I are both hopeful it will be worthwhile by the time it's published.

So consider this a housecleaning post. Here are some things I've been meaning to write about but haven't had the time:

--  The current edition of the Homeless Voice, the other newspaper sold on South Florida streets by homeless people, is a special one. College journalism students from five schools -- including FAU and FIU -- visited the Coalition of Service and Charity (COSAC), where the homeless people who put together the newspaper live and took the helm, writing and reporting the entire current edition. I don't get all goo-goo eyed over just anything, but this project, supervised by the Society of Professional Journalists and FAU's Michael Koretzky, is pretty cool.

-- Bestselling author and former Sun-Sentinel reporter Michael Connelly has a new book coming out about a reporter getting a buyout -- and taking his last few days at work to win the Pulitzer Prize! Nothing like some realistic Hollywood-aimed literature to tell it like it is. This came across the Pulp transom from Miriam Parker at Little, Brown:

I'm writing to see if you would be interested in reviewing/discussing a new novel by Michael Connelly called THE SCARECROW on your blog. Your first instinct might be: sorry, but I don't cover novels on my site. That may be true, but this is a novel that will be of great interest to you and your readers. First, it is a fabulous read. Secondly, in with the page-turning crime story is a serious examination of the crumbling of the newspaper industry from an insider--Connelly worked on the crime beat in Florida and at the Los Angeles Times in the 80's.

Might as well take a look. Here's a description of the book from Connelly's site.

Jack McEvoy is at the end of the line as a crime reporter. Forced to take a buy-out from the Los Angeles Times as the newspaper grapples with dwindling revenues, he's got only a few days left on the job. His last assignment? Training his replacement, a low-cost reporter just out of journalism school. But Jack has other plans for his exit. He is going to go out with a bang -- a final story that will win the newspaper journalism's highest honor -- a Pulitzer prize. Jack focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer from the projects who has confessed to police that he brutally raped and strangled one of his crack clients. Jack convinces Alonzo's mother to cooperate with his investigation into the possibility of her son's innocence. But she has fallen for the oldest reporter's trick in the book. Jack's real intention is to use his access to report and write a story that explains how societal dysfunction and neglect created a 16-year-old killer.

Hmm, do you lie to sources about your intentions? Haven't read it yet, but my guess is that twists and turns will ensue ...

--  The Sun-Sentinel is working with political consultant and radio talker Barry Epstein on a politics and gossip blog. Here's an apparent test run post on the Sentinel site that concerns Rep. Kelly Skidmore.

-- Journalists in Transition, the group founded to help suddenly out-of-work journalists, is having a panel discussion this coming Saturday at the Broward County Library in downtown Fort Lauderdale this Saturday at 3 p.m. that will involve former journalists Alex Clifton, Jill Barton, and Oscar Corral, who will talk about their career changes. I'll try to throw another reminder up before Friday.


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