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Patterson on KDHX 88.1FM Tonight, 7pm

April 20, 2009 Media Comments Off on Patterson on KDHX 88.1FM Tonight, 7pm

Tune into KDHX tonight (4/20/09) at 7pm as I will be the guest on Collateral Damage with hosts DJ Wilson & Fred Hessel.   You can listen on the radio (88.1FM) or online.  Tpoics will likely include transit funding, a proposed smoking free ordinance and the new members of the Board of Aldermen.


Poll; Local Politics on the Small Screen

The poll for this week is about your TV viewing habits.  Specifically, if you watch the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on the city’s channel 10 on cable, STL TV.

STL TV provides government related informational television programs to the residents of the City of St. Louis. The channel, which is available to basic cable subscribers, serves as a vital link in making local government more accessible to the community via cable television.

STL TV is operated 24-hours daily and has logged thousands of production hours in pursuit of its mission to inform, educate and promote City government operations.

For the past several years, STL TV has produced original programs tailored to inform and promote the City of St. Louis. Weekly coverage of the Board of Aldermen meetings (beginning in 1993), Mayoral Press Conferences, public events and other government-related programming has been a major function of STL TV since 1991.

Do you watch the weekly live broadcast of the Board of Aldermen?  Do you get TV10?  The poll is located in the upper right corner of the main page.

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One Paper Towns

March 20, 2009 Media 7 Comments

This week Seattle joined an increasing number of major cities with a single daily paper.  I flew out of Seattle Monday as the staff at the 146 year old Seattle Post-Intelligencer was finishing the final touches on their final print edition.  The print paper is ceasing but the business marches on as an online news & info portal.  Other papers continue but are being published a few days per week.

St. Louis has been a one paper town since the closure of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat in 1986.  Some are predicting many one paper towns will become no paper towns. Ad revenues have fallen drastically over the couple of decades while costs have risen.

Eventually St. Louis will be a no daily paper town.  The Post-Dispatch is thinner than before.  It may well go to fewer days before ceasing print publication.

Industries change as times change.  Cities change as well.  A century ago many people needed the afternoon or morning paper to inform them of what happened.  That need no longer exists.  The need that remains is journalists being around to uncover scandals.  The Post-Dispatch following the recent towing scandal is a perfect example.  A printed paper is not necessary to uncover these stories.  A good business model is.

The Pulitzer family cashed out of the Post-Dispatch at just the right time.  Lee Enterprises is now stuck wth massive debt from their 2005 acquisition of Pulitzer, Inc.  Newspaper companies all over the country are in trouble.

The question I have is how will a 2-paper town going to a 1-paper town or no paper town impact the civic pride?  Will businesss and politicians be able to get away with more with fewer paid journalists on the local beats?


Politicians using New Media to Communicate With the Public

We are without a doubt fully in the information age.  We want news and we want it now.  We don’t want to wait for a monthly neighborhood meeting or a quarterly newsletter to stay informed.

Missouri’s junior Senator, Claire McCaskill, does an amazing job of using new media techniques.  On March 3rd she posted on Twitter:

“Those naysayers bout twitter don’t get it. It’s all about communication. Communication is always a good thing especially in my job.”

A web feed (or news feed) is a data format used for providing users with frequently updated content. Content distributors syndicate a web feed, thereby allowing users to subscribe to it. Making a collection of web feeds accessible in one spot is known as aggregation, which is performed by an Internet aggregator. A web feed is also sometimes referred to as a syndicated feed.

In the typical scenario of using web feeds, a content provider publishes a feed link on their site which end users can register with an aggregator program (also called a feed reader or a news reader) running on their own machines; doing this is usually as simple as dragging the link from the web browser to the aggregator. When instructed, the aggregator asks all the servers in its feed list if they have new content; if so, the aggregator either makes a note of the new content or downloads it. Aggregators can be scheduled to check for new content periodically. Web feeds are an example of pull technology, although they may appear to push content to the user.

The kinds of content delivered by a web feed are typically HTML (webpage content) or links to webpages and other kinds of digital media. Often when websites provide web feeds to notify users of content updates, they only include summaries in the web feed rather than the full content itself.

I don’t plan to at this time maily because many of my constitutents are not online. When I was in office we had regular 20th Ward Meetings in which anywhere from 100 -400 people would attend. I also did a yearly newpaper, direct calls and written letters and attended the police and block unit meetings. Also those who used the email found that was the best way to contact me since I check my email early morning most days. I have not had a problem interacting with the press and or interested citizens. If they phone me at the office or home and leave a message or , write and/or email me, I respond appropriately. My ward meetings were often published in the press and were announced at the end of the Board of Alderman’s meetings. They wee open to the public as well as the press. The press came on several ocassions.”

So they can email but they are not online?  Seems to me you need to be online to send an email.

Four out of five U.S. adults go online now, according to a new Harris Poll.

The survey, which polled 2,062 adults in July and October, found that 79 percent of adults — about 178 million — go online, spending an average 11 hours a week on the Internet.

“We’re up to almost 80 of adults who now are online, or are somehow gaining access to the Internet. That’s a pretty impressive figure,” said Regina Corso, director of the Harris Poll.

The results reflect a steady rise since 2000, when 57 percent of adults polled said they went online. In 2006, the number was 77 percent. (source)

It is true that a fewer percentage of blacks are online, but the numbers are increasing.

The sharpest growth in Internet access and use is among young people. But blacks and other members of minorities of various ages are also merging onto the digital information highway as never before. According to a Pew national survey of people 18 and older, completed in February, 74 percent of whites go online, 61 percent of African-Americans do and 80 percent of English-speaking Hispanic-Americans report using the Internet. The survey did not look at non-English-speaking Hispanics, who some experts believe are not gaining access to the Internet in large numbers. In a similar Pew survey in 1998, just 42 percent of white American adults said they used the Internet while only 23 percent of African-American adults did so. Forty percent of English-speaking Hispanic-Americans said they used the Internet.(source)

Our politicians have got to stop presuming that their audience is not a part of the 21st century.

In the 23rd ward all seven candidates for Alderman had websites.  Two March winners, Antonio French in the 21st Ward and Shane Cohn in the 25th Ward, used blog-based websites (chronological posts with feeds) and the social networking site Facebook.

In the time it takes to talk to one constituent in the phone a politician can reach hundreds or more.  So here is some easy no-cost or low-cost ways for other elected officials to start communicating electronically in addition to face-to-face at meetings.

Email lists:

Nearly everyone has an email address so this is still a good way to reach folks.  Managing lists, however, can be a nightmare.  Setting up a free Yahoo or Google announcement group is the way to go.  Set the group up so that anyone can join, leaving the list management to Yahoo or Google.  Publicize the existence and watch the number of members grow as regular emails are sent to the group.  One email per week is a good number.

Website or Blog?

A blog is a special form of a website.  While websites have traditionally been static and required specialized software to create and update, blogs make it east to add new information and archive old information.  Free blogs can be had from Google, WordPress or in the case of Claire McCaskill, Tumblr.  This last one is new to me.  It is very simple and is set up so it can be updated on the web, with a phone or using email.  Very smart & easy.

Facebook & Twitter:

Facebook is a good supplement to email lists and blogs but not everyone is on Facebook.  Like Facebook, not everyone is on Twitter.  Unlike Facebook, Twitter has a feed that people can subscribe to.  This can let someone use Twitter as a short form blog.  An entry might be, “Introducing bill on Friday to allow steet vendors city-wide.”  Another could be, “Hearing on BB56 on street vendors Thurday at 10am in Room 208.”  Twitter tweets are limited to 140 characters so it doesn’t take much time.   Both Facebook & Twitter give you the code to place your updates on your blog — see my sidebar on my main page as an example.

I urge current and future elercted officials to see the importance of keeping the public informed about their work on our behalf.


Catching Up, A Potpourri of Topics

You go away for nine days and you miss stuff.  Plus I had some major technical issues for a week. Adjusting to the time changes from the West coast and central time zones has not been easy.

The following is a potpourri of topics:

Ballpark Village softball field and parking lot:

OK, I was back for this exciting news.  Where we thought we were going to have a mixed use village we will instead have a softball field and a surface parking lot.  I understand the economic conditions today but this dragging started years ago.  Current conditions are simply a cover.  It has been said this solution is temporary for the July All-Star game.  My guess is it will still be there a decade from now.

Treasurer’s Office and the Post Office:

Parking revenue contractor ACS forgot to pay the Post Office $53 for a P. O. Box so hundreds of payments got sent to a dead letter office.  Thus, payments people had mailed in were not received.  Not good.

Graffiti downtown:

The vacant building across the street from my loft got tagged with graffiti on three floors.

Graffiti in windows of unfinished Leather Trades building at 16th & Locust
Graffiti in windows of unfinished Leather Trades building at 16th & Locust

This was a project started by the now defunct Pyramid Construction.


Organizer of the biggest scam on Wall Street is finally in jail.  Yesterday his accountant was arrested on charges of fraud for rubber stamped audits.  Many more folks had to have been part of the ponzi scheme.

Natasha Richardson:

Actress Natasha Richardson died as a result of a head injury from a ski accident.  Richardson had bleeding between her brain and skull.  13 months ago I had a stint to drain bloody fluid from my brain after my stroke.  We can’t walk around wearing helmets  but after deaths like this we may want to consider it.  Certainly when bicycling, riding a scooter or other such activity please be sure to wear a helmet.  Story on CNN.


Newspapers ceasing print.  More layoffs.  Bankruptcies abound.  AIG pays bonuses.  Earmarks are demonized while bigger budget items go undebated.

Software & Hardware:

On my second day of my vacation my blog encountered major issues.  The problem was hard to pinpoint.  All is well now.  In a weird way I’m sorta glad I couldn’t post new posts.  It gave me more freedom to enjoy my vacation.  At least until the last day.  I took over 1,100 photos and I backed them all up to Flickr as soon as I pulled them off my camera.  Good thing too because the hard drive on my Mac notebook (12″ G4) gave out.  I have some good video clips I hope to recover.