Saturday, August 30, 2014


I had the first long telephone talks with my boys in Missoula today and they both sound very good. Ten days ago, they moved from this west coast city to a college town in the mountains. It has to be disorienting, but they seem to be adapting pretty well so far.

We talked about their classes (they like them), their dorm rooms (they like them), the cafeteria food ("pretty good"), the weather ("hot but will get cold soon, people say"), their finances (okay), meeting new people (slow but sure), and the town ("it's nice.")

The huge hole they have left back here is filled with our excitement about their new life out there. I told them our small news -- that the work on my flat is done and that their little sister may get to adopt a new pet rat soon, and we discussed sports.

God, how I miss those guys. I know as a parent you're not supposed to let it happen, but they became my best friends over recent years. We always followed the Giants together and discussed the issues of the day.

I did bring up how much I miss them but I also made it clear I am happy they are thriving out there.

At times like this it would be nice to have a partner. Yesterday at a meeting at work with two young colleagues, one a 30ish single man and the other a 25ish married woman, they both pointed out to me that given how I have been working a 60-hour week for a year now, with no days off, maybe it's a good thing that there is no wife at home to complain about how little I am around.

This in the context of how much they appreciate me as their boss.

I smiled and said, "No worry about that. After my experiences with women, especially the ones that left me, I'll never make the mistakes of having a partner again."

The woman told me, "Never say never, David."


Sunday, August 24, 2014


Either a 6.0 or a 6.1 earthquake rumbled through the Bay Area overnight, waking up Julia, Ghoasty, Pumpkin and me around 3:30 a.m. The cats ran for cover. Julia said it's the first earthquake she's ever felt.

I started communicating about our coverage with colleagues. The quake was centered north of here, near the wine town of Napa. Within 20 minutes, we had blog coverage and within an hour, live radio newscasts.

For the next eight hours, I was part of a small team of us who live within easy distance of the station coordinating our coverage. One thing you do not want to do during a crisis situation is to frighten people or carelessly pass on rumors.

You do not want to exaggerate injuries, physical damage, or danger. The main challenge is to try and stay calm, avoid falling for rumors, and wait for official confirmation before you report *anything*.

I have to say it helps to be a veteran at times like this. My old friend and colleague, Scott Shafer, also lives close to KQED and rushed in to play the role of on-air anchor.

As much as some like to vilify media people, and craft conspiracy theories about how we are somehow biased, what we really try to do is serve the public and our specific audiences the best we can -- on all stories.

First, we don't make things up. Second, we try to verify whatever we tell you. Third, no matter what our political, religious, or personal beliefs, we do our level best to eliminate those from what we broadcast over TV, radio, or the Internet.

In other words, we try very hard to not have an agenda.

If that sounds like a veteran journalist talking, it is. I've been doing this work since I was 18 years and 9 months old. That would be for half a century if I can make it to next January.

On days like today, I am truly proud of my profession. We take lots of hits from all sides ideologically, but truly we try to do our best.

After all, when a natural disaster hits, none of that other stuff (ideology, race, sex, age, sexual orientation, wealth, and so on) really matters all that much, do they? Maybe those are the only times we all have the opportunity to remember we are all just people and we are all in this together.