Sunday, May 20, 2007
Journalism 101A: Beth's Excellent Adventure
The blogger Beth Spotswood has been carrying on a running joke for a couple of years that Mayor Gavin Newsom is to be her betrothed as soon as he comes to his senses and stops carrying on with the various bimbos, underaged beauties, and just plain weird women who seem to populate his life.
At one point, she made fun of Dan Noyes, the investigative reporter for the local ABC-TV affiliate, accusing him of wearing too much makeup and "having a man fight" with her future husband, Gavin. To her utter amazement, Dan Noyes wrote into the comments section of her blog "I'll Flip You, I'll Flip You For Real" (click here), obviously amused by the very funny posting and he corrected her with the fact that he didn't use mascara, only powder, before going on camera.
The two met at a party at the Mission District's El Rio, of all places, and Dan invited Beth for a tour of the ABC-TV studio and offices.
Beth happily accepted and asked if she could bring along a photographer, and Dan said it would be fine as long as I didn't use a flash...
...or give away the actual location of his office because disgruntled objects of previous investigations had been known to throw stuff at his window.
Dan gave us a quick tour of his small office with photos of himself with any number of famous fellow national journalists along with a batik-style collection of press passes he'd amassed over his career.
We took a quick tour of the newsroom offices which looked just like I'd pictured them, open and fairly frantic...
...and were introduced to a dizzying array of people in various cubbyhole offices as "These are the Bloggers, Beth and SFMike."
Suddenly, there were literally just a few minutes before Dan was supposed to go on the air with the lead story for the 6PM live broadcast, and we had to tear down long hallways to get to the studio in time.
The studio itself was bizarrely unpopulated because cameramen have been replaced with robotic cameras, so that besides the two anchors plus Dan giving his special report, there were only two other people there, a stage manager and an engineer plus Beth and myself sitting in two chairs behind the cameras.
Dan's report turned out to be the first of a wild two-part look at a $20 million lawsuit filed by a couple of dozen San Francisco policemen who were involved in a tasteless in-house video that somehow became public about a year and a half ago, and which was then hysterically condemned by Mayor Newsom and Police Chief Heather Fong.
The litigious policemen are claiming that none of the four Asians involved in the video were disciplined while the rest of them were demoted and given the crummiest jobs around. Plus, they were planning to depose the Mayor, who has admitted to recent sexual indiscretions and substance abuse problems, whether or not he was drunk and/or on cocaine when he made his hysterical condemnation of the videotape, comparing it to Abu Ghraib. When the cocaine accusation popped out of one of the policemen's mouths during an interview, both of our jaws dropped simultaneously. For Beth's take on this development, click here to check out her assessment at the SFGate's Culture Blog.