Wednesday, January 25, 2012

970 The Running

970  The Running and the Tweet

Back in ancient times, news types working for the wire services wrote what was called a “running.”  We sat down before a speech or a ball game and wrote stuff as it happened, and they sent it over the wire.  No one knows anyone on the receiving end who ever used  these.  But here they are again.

When everyone got cable and the wire services became fully computerized, there no longer was a need for this -- if there ever was one -- and they were unceremoniously dropped.  Unceremoniously and unannounced.  We just stopped doing them.

But they were fun to write, especially when something unexpected happened, especially if it was a close ball game or an unusual speech.

A favorite took place on Sunday, November 18th, 1973 when President Nixon went to Disney World in Orlando to address the Associated Press Managing Editors Association meeting.  An apt place for both the speaker and the audience, by the way.

Among the things he said as Watergate boiled around him was “...I have never obstructed justice...”  The phone rings.  It’s the main editor at what we called the “General Desk.”  “Did he really say that?”

“Yes, he really said that.”

Then he said “I am not a crook.”  A mild statement by today’s standards but shocking language from a sitting president in ‘73, especially from a stiff like Nixon.  

The phone rings.  

“C’mon, you made that up.  He couldn’t have said that!”

Yes he could and yes he did.

So from the everything old is new again department, comes the 21st century version of “the running,” which is Twitter.

For the three people in America who are not watching an event as it unfolds, reporters now “tweet” live from someplace... a court hearing or a speech or a space shot.

And does anyone actually read these things as they’re sent?  Or even afterwards when they’re aggregated and printed or posted?

Hard to tell.  There aren’t any known surveys.

The tweets, though, serve the same purpose as the runnings.  They show anyone who is interested that “we’re here, we’re live, we’re sending out stuff.  We’re better than the other guys.  Or faster.”

Sometimes, though, speed kills.


--So, do we have this straight?  Clinton’s philandering mattered, but Gingrich’s doesn’t? Explanation, anyone?

--Did you learn anything new from the State of the Union Address?  Or did it just reinforce your already well worn but true notion that in election years all of a sudden we get better economic figures than we had previously?  What a nice campaign speech.

--There are plenty of cooking shows and cooking channels on television, but there’s an important one missing, the Frozen Food Channel.  How else will we learn how and for how long celebrity chefs thaw frozen meat or how to boil water for your spinach in land that’s below sea level?  And while we’re at it, what about a Canned Food Channel?

Have You Noticed?  Fresh fruit is available all the time and no longer needs seasons but bath soap fragrances and gasoline formulas do?

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012

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