My LEO Life: 2006 divided by two

column-rick-reddingimg_assist_view.jpgI’m only six months into this gig as a LEO columnist, so to do an annual media review seems a bit too much. So let’s call this my semi-annual look at what mattered in local meda.

The story of the year, no doubt, was the technology boom that moved news of all types online. If TIME made YOU its Person of the Year, YOU said you wanted to get your news online.

So our newspapers and television stations beefed up their Web sites, asking citizens repeatedly to turn to the Web for immediacy and detail. The Courier began airing video, while television stations sharpened their online reporting, and one even hired an established writer, Billy Reed, to post columns online. The state’s most-read blogger, Mark Nickolas, made news himself when Gov. Ernie Fletcher blocked state employee access to his BluegrassReport.org.

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It’s Almost Next Year for Cards, Cats

Even though Louisville hasn’t even played its Orange Bowl game, it’s never too early for speculation about next year — when football energy may reach an all-time high around here. After Kentucky’s thrashing of Clemson in the Music City Bowl, momentum for a surging Wildcat squad will be peaking by the time it faces the Cardinals at home (remember, it’s not the opener next year) on Sept. 15.

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919 Albums, Some Worth Hearing

The annual countdown at WFPK provides some entertaining listening, but what’s more fun is looking at the list online and figuring out how much of the music you’ve actually heard of. Then there’s the sport of spotting all the grammatical and spelling errors (Bruce Springstein?) on the list. Must be a shortage of musically-inclined spellcheckers at the station.

This year’s list is 919 albums. The last few years have featured lists of artists, albums and songs. And I think the folks in charge have run out of topics, which is OK. In fact, running a countdown between Christmas and New Year’s is a great idea, and would be OK even if it were the same list every year. It ends Saturday night before 9, with no doubt the Beatles White Album, or something like it.

It’s much more interesting to listen to the less-known discs on the list, and to hear artists like Michael Jackson or Tenacious D (number 919) make one-time appearances on the station, mixed in with station regulars like Citizen Cope and Joan Osborne. Then there’s the approach of listening just to hear where your favorite artists rank (Delbert McClinton’s “Cost of Living” #758).

The Trouble with (some) Pictures

cheer.JPGThere’s a story percolating among local media members that has yet to be officially reported, perhaps because no one can confirm enough of the story to make it worthy of news coverage. It involves a former University of Louisville cheerleader who posed for nude pictures that somehow ended up on the Internet.

A link to the pictures, at a site called Image Beaver, has been passed around e-mail addresses. Most of the folks I know and have asked about it know about, and have seen, the photos. I’m not posting the link here, but let’s just say the photos are pornographic, and leave it at that.  I’ve carefully cropped the photo you see here.

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C-J Losing Two Reporters to “Dark Side”

The bylines of veteran reporters Chris Poynter and Kay Stewart will be gone from the Courier-Journal in 2007.

Both are leaving journalism to work in P.R. Poynter will join city government as the Mayor’s spokesman for all things economic. Poynter is part of a group developing dowtown properties, including Gallery Square Lofts, a $4 million project announced earlier this year at Clay and Jefferson streets. Poynter told me he got a call from Chad Carlton, the Mayor’s communications director, who offered him the job over lunch. Poynter spent nearly a decade at the C-J, and was among the paper’s staffers embracing the new technology push. He recently traveled to Russell Springs to report on the city’s reaction to the Miss USA/Donald Trump controversy.

Stewart, who covered last fall’s 3rd District Congressional race, is joining a Frankfort-based government-relations agency involved heavily in the Bridges project. She’s finishing her second stint at the C-J. She spent 19 years there before leaving for Doe-Anderson, where she worked for six years. In 2004, she came back to the C-J.

Both said that the changes going down at Sixth and Broadway had nothing to do with their departures. Their last day is Dec. 29.

“May” You Be Defeated and Prosper

Help me figure this one out. John May, a Republican appointed by Gov. Ernie Fletcher in May as Jefferson County PVA, lost a hotly-contested race for the full-time job to Tony Lindauer, a Democrat. He’d barely cleaned out his office before being offered a new government job by Gov. Ernie Fletcher. He started as a deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Revenue Dec. 16.

His old job paid him a salary of $85,000. In his new post, in which he oversees the job being done by Lindauer, he’ll make $95,000. He’s the number two ranking officer in the Revenue Cabinet. According to the state, he’s replacing Oldham County attorney Eric Craig, who is returning to private practice.

So by losing the election, May gets two weeks off and a $10,000 raise, and will do some sort of official work for state government. Is it any wonder that people don’t trust Fletcher?

“Mess USA” is Perfect Media Storm

For the Miss USA pageant, it’s been a perfect media storm. Nothing the pageant has ever done has generated as much publicity as when Donald Trump granted Kentucky’s own beauty queen a second chance.  The story has gone beyond simply being discussed on the major networks, but to every imaginable outlet that can think up an angle. ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, NPR’s All Things Considered, along with all the entertainment and mainstream media. I even heard Rush Limbaugh mention it. Conner was the topic of a Letterman Top Ten list:

10. “Thought a slutty Miss USA could help make America popular again”

9. “Haven’t been myself since I heard Rumsfeld was retiring”

8. “Cracked under the pressure of having to smile and wave at people for a year”

7. “Russians drugged my sushi”

6. “If a hot babe can’t get drunk, sleep around and make out with her female roommate, the terrorists have won”

5. “I told them my talent was ‘beer pong'”

4. “It’s Isiah Thomas’ fault”

3. “Too drunk to think of a number 3″

2. “Wanted to skip straight to the has-been portion of my career”

1. “Why should Paris Hilton get all the ‘drunken whore’ ink?”

But the funniest is this segment from The Daily Show:

The Daily Show: Naughty Miss USA
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls-l-rLEZXg]