Justin McLeod's Blog

2.  Parking Spots.  Why is it that our cars keep getting bigger but yet the size of the parking spots remains the same?  Sometimes I have to squeeze out of my car!  I've noticed the new Clearbrook Walmart has wider parking spots.  Amen.  Let's see more of them.

3.  3D movies.  They are all the rage right now, not for me.  I don't understand why you have to pay a surcharge, sometimes two or three bucks.  They say it to pay for the 3D glasses.  Please.  Those things probably cost 50 cents to make.  I get annoyed that they then ask for the glasses back at the end of the movie.  I refuse.  While I am at it, why is that I can see a HD movie at home but can't at the movies? 

4.  Halloween.  Last week, I did a story about how Halloween sales were up.  A viewer e-mailed us basically accusing us of being devil worshippers.  Halloween is what it is.  It is a fun holiday for kids.  Are there people who take it to the extreme?  Probably.  But I think the vast majority of people just want to have fun.  There is an impression that the news media hates covering religion, that we are all a bunch of atheists.  That is untrue.  Count how many stories we've done in the past two months at Liberty University and then tell me if we are devil worshippers!

5.  ATM fees.  There has been a lot of outcry recently because Bank of America has started charging a monthly fee to use your ATM card.  Stop whining.  If you don't like it, do something about it.  Switch banks.  It is that simple.  The bank execs will get the message.  Look at Netflix.  It tried to make major changes.  People rebelled and Netflix had to admit it was wrong.  Power to the people!

6.  Death of Newsweeklies.  I used to get Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report.  Not anymore.  The magazines kept getting smaller and smaller.  It is sad.  I used to enjoy reading all three.  I'm afraid one or two will soon be gone.

7.  Stink Bugs.  Can we please do something about these creatures?  I HATE THEM.  The other day I removed my jacket from the back of the chair.  It had been there for months.  There were seven stink bugs hiding in the sleeve.  They are all now in stink bug heaven.  If you can figure out a way to get rid of them, you will be my hero.

8.  Remakes.  Years ago, Madonna remade a classic called American Pie.  You know the song.  "Bye, bye Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the leeve."  There was outrage.  I couldn't understand.  Now I do.  I wasn't alive when the original version came out so I had no allegiance.  Now they are starting to re-make movies from my childhood and I am mad.  They include Footloose and Dirty Dancing.  What is wrong with the originals?  Let it be.

9.  Passwords.  Does everything need a password?  I have one for my e-mail at home and work.  I need a password to sign onto my computer at work.  I need a password to sign onto the newsroom network.  Not to mention the passwords for my online time card, the station's website, the station's credit card, and to make changes to my health plan.  I need a password for my ATM card.  The list goes on and on.  Enough already.  Can you remember all your passwords?  I'm also annoyed when they make you change your password every six months.  Grrrrr.

10.  Celebrity Divorces.  I could care less when a celebrity couple gets a divorce or is heading for a break-up.  Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are getting a lot of play right now in the media.  I love when you watch these entertainment shows and they'll say "but they seemed so happy."  How do you know?  How does anyone know?  Just because they pose for the cameras and smile they are automatically happy?  Why do you even care? 

August 30th

Hurricane Coverage

I am not a big fan of live coverage of hurricanes.  Sure, it makes for great TV but a lot of it is just plain silly.  During Hurricane Irene, did you see the reporter covered in a strange foam on live tv?  It turned out to be raw sewage!!!!!

I think live coverage of hurricanes is also too dangerous.  Reporters stand out there in the elements telling people not to go outside because of the danger.  So I guess that means it's ok for us to be out in it?  A little hypocritical perhaps?  I also don't like how TV news shows people walking around outside during a storm.  They do it for a reason because they know we are going to put them on TV!!!!

During the Hurricane Irene coverage, I shook my head when an anchor told viewers a man died after walking outside his home and a tree limb fell on him.  In the next breath, the anchor says "Do you want to be on TV?  Take pictures or videos of the storm and send it to us.  Wow, I guess the danger isn't real.  He was basically saying some are dying but you will be ok.

What also annoys me about live coverage of hurricanes is you really can't get an idea of what is going on until after the storm.  One reporter standing out in a small section of the coastline doesn't give you the big picture.  Is it really that bad?  You won't know until the storm has passed.  

I also wish we didn't give hurricanes a category.  Some are criticizing the news media and the government for over hyping Hurricane Irene.  Earlier in the week, Irene was a category 3 or 4 hurricane.  By the time the storm hit New York, it was only a category one.  People took that to mean the storm wasn't that bad.  A hurricane is a hurricane.  It is dangerous no matter what the category is.  Let's not forget 41 people have died so far from Hurricane Irene.

I will defend the news media in one regard.  It is our job to warn people.  We have no idea how bad a storm is going to be.  What if we didn't warn people and the storm was really bad?  Think of the outrage.  I think it is one of those things you are damned if you do, damned if you don't.  I'd rather be too cautious and than not cautious at all.


August 24th

Roanoke's melting pot

It's often said that Roanoke is still very much a segregated city.  I used to think that was true, not anymore.  This past year, I started to run on the Roanoke River Greenway.  I started out slowly, could barely do a mile.  Now I am up to 7.5 miles, yay.  Ok, back to my point.  I am amazed how many people use the greenway, especially the kinds of people.  You see younger and older, black and white, bicyclists, runners, walkers, and skaters.  Over the last few months, I've seen more people of different nationalities.  To me, the Roanoke River Greenway has become Roanoke's melting pot.   It is a great to see and I hope it will help change people's perceptions of Roanoke.  

I only have one regret.  I wish there was a way for Roanoke's melting pot to interact more on the greenway.  I try to wave to everyone (I miss a few)  Most wave back, some don't.  How can we get people to talk to one another on the greenway?  I don't have the answer.  Just wanted to get the conversation going.  Next time you see me running on the greenway, be sure to wave.  I won't be able to stop for long because I have miles to go!


August 12th

Another rant

If you are a frequent reader of my blogs, you know I am on a crusade to encourage people to be nice!  Before I head on vacation, I want to share with another example of the inappropriateness I see all too often.

When I was in college, a group of us Journalism students spent the day with Sam Donaldson of ABC News.  On his office door, he taped up some of his favorite hate mail.  This week I got some hate mail.  Boy was it hateful.

On Wednesday, I did the story about Earl Baker.  He is a World War II vet who flew in the famed flying fortress.  He flew 28 missions over Germany and France.  He won the Distinguished Flying Cross.

We started the story with the following sentence:  "At first glance, Earl Baker looks like your typical old man, but if you thought that, you'd be wrong.  Because Earl Baker helped saved the world, nearly 70 years ago, and the Distinguished Flying Cross he's holding, is testament to that."

Someone took offense to the word "old."  A viewer sent me the following e-mail:  "Thank goodness for this great American who like many others, fought to protect and serve this country so big mouth jerks like you could disrespect him by calling him a typical looking old man instead of an elderly gentleman and hero. I know your not, but you should be ashamed and apologize to this fine gentleman and hero. I use to respect and enjoy your reports, but your total lack of respect against this great American soldier and hero just proved you are another big mouth media jerk who thinks he has the right to disrespect a great American because someone gave you a mike and put you on a TV screen. Do not respond as it will not be read. Show some respect and grow up, seriously!!!"

I don't have any issue with this viewer criticizing me.  I am not perfect and looking back maybe I could have used another word.  Certainly it wasn't my intent to disrespect Mr. Baker.  He is a great American and I think our story clearly showed that.  The purpose of the sentence was to grab your attention and make you aware this is a war hero.

My issue with this viewer is why did he have to resort to name calling?  Also after 11 years at WDBJ, I do one story you disagree with and all of sudden I am the worst human being in the world?  Ok, I am done.  Off to vacation so I will be silent for at least a week.