Archive for January, 2013

Scott Heidler 
Al Jazeera - English 
Correspondent

Scott Heidler
Al Jazeera – English
Correspondent

Recently, I posed this question on my Facebook page: “What defines a journalist? Can you sum it up in one word? The first few responses were what you would expect. “Unbiased, inquisitive, independent. A former colleague at KIRO TV (CBS Seattle) told me, “inquisitor.” Then the blood started flowing from the vein I’d opened up. “Interrupted dinner”, wrote another KIRO TV alum. “Curious, (crime) scene tape.” Then more insight, “Turning off the phone isn’t an option.” “Accessible”, didn’t begin to cover it.

By this time my one word request had been blown to shreds. There’s no way to define a journalist in just one word. But they kept coming.

“Partisan”, wrote an old radio colleague from WIBA FM in Madison, Wisconsin. He went on to elaborate that unfortunately, “people consume news to be affirmed more than informed.” “Honest, empathetic, compassionate, large bladder, inquisitive, witness, truth”, were the next few responses. And then this nugget of wisdom from a former KCPQ (Fox Seattle) colleague, “Anyone can be a ‘storyteller.’ “Pursuer of truth” touched off a debate. Then another former news colleague stressed that a story can be told based on “the smallest of details.”

A former colleague at KXLY (ABC TV Spokane) brought the debate back to that one word definition again. “Accurate”, he wrote. “Credible”, wrote another. “Curiosity”, wrote another. Then another entry about how a journalist could be a an author, a documentarian and a common reporter as long as there was an “effort to create a history record.” “Persistent”, wrote another. Another followed, “NEWS – north, east, west and south”, written by one of the most passionate weather casters in the nation, a gifted storyteller in his own right. “Open minded”, wrote another. “Truth seeker”, wrote an award-winning former KIRO TV colleague. And finally, “interpreter”, wrote an architect friend.

A journalist can be all of those things, don’t you agree? And as screenwriter Aaron Sorkin once said through fictional White House reporter Will Sawyer on The West Wing, “There’s never been a time when it’s more important to be good at what I do.”

Regardless your beat, your deadline, your topic or your purpose, journalism remains literature “in a hurry” as it remains an open, honest window to a fast-changing world. What would I tell journalism wanna-be’s? Simple: Attribute your sources and keep your eyes open. Look for surprises in the smallest of details because theres a big world of stories to tell. Let’s pray enough journalists remain … to tell them.

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Chicago Pastor to Run Five Marathons a Week for Five Months

 Quits Job to Help Kids in Africa Get Clean Water with international Christian Relief Group World Vision 

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49 year-old Steve Spear is training for the run of his life. The Chicago-area pastor recently quit his job as a Willow Creek pastor after 15 years, to focus on raising $1.5 million to provide clean water for 30,000 people living in Kenya. Spear, who only took up long-distance running five years ago, has completed numerous marathons and ultra-marathons but none like this. He plans to start a coast-to-coast run on April 8th, 2013 in Southern California, and finish five months later in New York City. Steve Spear says his former senior pastor at Willow Creek Church, Bill Hybels plans to run with Steve on the final leg of the cross-country odyssey into New York in August.

 

 

 

M2Last year, Spear traveled to Kenya to see how World Vision’s water projects are literally saving lives.

Right now, Spear is now training extensively in Chicago, building his tolerance. He’s also fundraising. Currently he’s raised more than $75,000, some checks coming in as large as $10,000 but the majority come in $10 and under. Once the run begins, he’ll petition churches along the way for funds. Steve Spear says, “I’ve never done anything like this before in my life.”

For donations: www.teamworldvision.org/runningforwater

Twitter: @stevespear30

Rare Feat: Since 1909 when it was first attempted, only 260 people have tried to cross the continental United States, from coast to coast on foot. How rare is that? Imagine The Empire State Building. Now take a grain of sand and lay it at the base of the New York City landmark. Now lay another grain on top of that. Eventually, you’ll have enough of them stacked up to equal the height to that skyscraper. Now take one grain away. Notice how small it is. That’s how rare it is for someone to succeed at what Steve Spears is trying to do. He plans to average more than 170 miles a week or a marathon a day for five months.

January training schedule: Steve runs Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays taking Thursdays and Sundays off.

Important Dates: January 14th, 2013 (next training sequence) April 8th, 2013 (start date)

Multi-media content: http://www.kcchronicle.com/2012/12/19/st-charles-resident-to-run-across-america-to-raise-money-for-clean-water-in-africa/ab0t8zj/

Extra Notes:

• Spear will run 3200 miles, averaging a marathon a day for 5 months

• Spear will consume 6100 calories/day & go through 10 pairs of running shoes

• 900 million people lack access to safe water

• 6000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water