Hell, it might have been Fish’s first Cadillac ride although either way he was just a passenger.
None of us in the news game could afford pricey wheels like the one he cruised in today. Well, maybe, if we picked up an old Fleetwood because it was cheap, didn’t smoke much and was roomy enough to live in, if necessary.
It used to be said you only enjoyed freedom of the press if you owned one. Those times vanished with the last millennium as the Internet and outlets like Twitter, Facebook and WordPress spread faster than a Grumpy Cat video. Now anyone — from press-card and citizen journalists to neighborhood activists, would-be writers, hacks and shills — can beat an online drum to attract your attention and say anything they please. This is one revolution that actually handed power to the people but with little guidance for spotting honest information brokers among the misguided, misinformed and routinely deceitful.
John Cleveland didn’t die at the assignment desk in the KRQE newsroom although I feared he might given the health issues he mentioned from time to time. Instead we are told he died in his sleep, a peaceful end for a larger-than-life character who boosted the game and noise level of an already frantic place. He wasn’t much past 50 and leaves behind a wife and young son.
John Cleveland. Photo by Rebecca Valdez.
For those of you who don’t know TV newsrooms, the assignment desk occupies the high ground at the center of the maelstrom. It’s where police scanner chatter merges into ringing phones while competing with a two-way radio base and shouts from all directions. The manager assigns photographers to reporters and live trucks to photographers, dispatches the helicopter, updates all on fresh developments and constantly calls contacts for information and confirmation. Continue reading →