1940s State of the J-Mind

Burton Holmes made this movie that talks straight to a youngsters dome and tells ’em what being a journo is all about. You have to work in crappy weather. OK, I get it. You have to be smart. That’s negligible, but OK I get it.

If this film starts to lose its luster with me (a journalist) then it’s when it gets really  propaganda-y around  5:30min.  A woman has trouble competing with a man in the journalism world? Damn, why harp on the negative? Just a few moments later you see something so ancient in the news businesses. A guy pouring hot type, like something out of the stone-age.

And you know what? Maybe it is.


Free ¨Lucha Libre NYC¨ Presentation

See the rest of the site at http://www.luchalibrenyc.com

It´s going down Ralph McDaniels style at Columbia University this Tuesday evening, May 17. Come out and show support for the best new website that reports on the Lucha Libre scene, an underground wrestling spectacle, right here in Nueva York.

Go to 1:22 in this video to see one of the first examples of a superstar luchadore in NYC:

Drop a comment below, if you want to know exact place and time.

Whole world is watching



I think revolution is a good thing. This reminded me that the Young Lords opened their storefront community center in the Bronx this month. There are some things I’d like to report on that, but Jenny 8. Lee did that, you can find it,  here.

The good thing about revolutions is that if they’re run by smart folks, there are always papers to be got.

Check out the electronic collection of Young Lords periodicals at DePaul University….


This Is How We Duy: Keep It Story, Fam

I’d like to tell you a little story about trying to find stories for your J School beat.

Coming to Brooklyn, from Mexico City, one of the coolest topics I thought I could cover had to do with the Mexican population. Since I was in L.A. for so long, the idea of gangs and Mexican-American gang warfare was about as sexy a topic as I could muster as a young reporter. Of course, I wasn’t thinking about how utterly difficult it is to penetrate gangs (pause) and to get info that’s publishable.

While looking into gang activity in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where I lay my reporting claim to fame (I have yet to publish an SP-specific story!) I came upon a guy who runs a gang Website. Above, is an audio slide show I made. Three months after I made contact with dude, he sends me a text, inviting me to this event. An event that was basically a reunion party for potbelly, old school gangsters from NYC. Many of them walked with canes and others looked like grandpop’s who just didn’t want to give up the tough guy persona. Really reminded me of my late grandfather who walked around Newark, NJ dressed like a full-fledged cowboy. No chaps, but a cowboy hat, boots and a leather vest. He never shook that image, even when he had cancer.

So, I presents this video in class and it bombed! This is not how we Duy, said the instructor. Where’s your story? What’s the nut graph?

All my explanations were met with the Cheshire Cat eyes.

Cool topic, but no story. What is story? Everyone has their own explanation. It’s like rocket science. I’ll let you know when I find out, until then, look up Story + journalism + “how to tell” in google. Stick to the .edu sites.

One major component of my critique had to do with the fact that I wasn’t reporting anything new. Wait, what? I never heard of any biker gang reunion in BK. I googled the hell out of it. But my source did mention a guy named Bilal.

Was it Bilal from Pakistan who I worked with on my Business of Journalism presentation? Nah, prolly not.

Who is this mysterious Bilal?

Oh, THIS BILAL. The guy, like me, was scouring the web for cool stories about Sunset Park and found one. Here’s his video:

Is his video better than mine? A little bit. The lower-third info is good. He focuses on characters more. I learned a lot watching this guys video, after the fact.

I’m taking my original vid up top back to the drawing board. The suggestion: Focus on this as a STORY about how over the hill gangsters are using the online world and social media to reconnect, as opposed to sending out hits on each other.

Hmm. Something to think about. Stay tuned…..

Google power

I was impressed when I saw that super-Google engineer Krishna Bharat was tapped to be on staff, via the J School website. My only beef is with the typo. I know, small pickens, but still, this IS thee top J School where craft is king. Hear that CUNY?

In addition to that very minor typo, I couldn’t stop looking at this bleary-eyed pic of Bharat that they put up on the site. I mean, there’s only so many ways to get your eyes that red. And of course, staring at Google code all day is exactly what I’m thinking about.

The illest part of this guy’s job is that he doesn’t even have to be here to teach.

Photos via Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Back to School

I’ve been quiet in bloglandia for a minute. But believe me, I need a little downtime, because things are getting serious for me. Like, school.

The first day is always the easiest. I was thinking of all the time wasting, experimenting, and wild oats sewing I did back in undergrad. No time for that here. Way too expensive.

John here is an aspiring radio journalist. Immensely interesting cat with a backstory that reminded me of this movie.

It won’t be every day that I can carb load for free like this. Orientation is the time to take advantage.

And just to prove a point. To show the kids what they can aspire to, the school brought out the big guns. Super TV journo, the 60 Minutes legend, Lesley Stahl. Best advice she gave: Read. Read. Read. Wake up at 5 a.m., just to keep up with the news. That’s good advice, because it’s all about the work, plus, what you know. Let’s hope we get it that big.

Next stop: Brooklyn. Stay tuned.

Google Video pick of the week #016


I´m starting J School in a couple weeks (cue, Nasir),  so it´s fitting I get into the news media state of mind, for a minute.

You never set out to find great movies on GV, but every now and again, as if the Internet content gods want to prove their might, they drop a gem on you (cue, Havoc).

This week´s pick is among the greatest movies put on celluloid. It won mad Oscars. And yes, it´s better than Scarface (1983) and Star Wars (1977).  It stars a member of the Wild Bunch (1969), William Holden, and even  Mommy Dearest (1981 ).

Playwright/screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky laid it all out like a genius. Here are the words from the iconic moment. (via)


I don’t want you to riot. I

don’t want you to protest. I

don’t want you to write your

congressmen. Because I wouldn’t

know what to tell you to write.

I don’t know what to do about the

depression and the inflation and

the defense budget and the Russians

and crime in the street. All

I know is first you got to get

mad. You’ve got to say: “I’m

mad as hell and I’m not going

to take this any more. I’m a

human being, goddammit. My life

has value.”  So I want you to

get up now. I want you to get

out of your chairs and go to

the window. Right now. I want

you to go to the window, open

it, and stick your head out

and yell. I want you to yell:

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not

going to take this any more!”


This 1976 movie continues to ring true, in many ways, today. There´s no Howard Beale, but you can flip on some local networks and catch Help Me Howard. Not the same thing exactly, I know. But Chayefsky´s work saw the dawn of the decline, with its satyrical look at the ¨corporatization of the news media¨. Check out this 2004 slideshow, which breaks down who owns the platter your news i s served on. It´s by ex-NYT editor, Doreen Weisenhaus of the Univ. of Hong Kong´s Journalism and Media Studies Centre.

This one is a keeper. Cop one.