Behind the scenes and stories at WQAD

Covering the Caucuses

WQAD is in Des Moines, and as of :15 minutes ago, linked via satellite back to the Quad Cities. We’ll be live from the Iowa Events Center Monday night on “News 8 at 10:00,” all day Tuesday beginning at 4:30 a.m. with Jim Mertens on “Good Morning Quad Cities,” all night long and back Wednesday morning as well.

When we’re not live on-air, you can follow along on WQAD.com, Facebook.com/jasonfechner and Twitter.com/jasonfechner! Hope you join us!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with family, friends and a easily accessible bottle of Pepto-Bismol…

The newsroom’s always in a good mood come holiday-time (mainly because many of us are on vacation…), but today was especially upbeat as the day before Thanksgiving traditionally means the end of November “sweeps,” the period that ratings are measured, no one’s allowed time off, and everyone typically pushes themselves (and sometimes others) to try and get the most out of everyone else.

Now, time to relax a bit and down-shift from fifth to fourth (and sometimes third) gear…

Keep those story ideas coming to jason.fechner@wqad.com, and get more constant updates on what’s going on at WQAD via facebook.com/jasonfechner and twitter.com/jasonfechner

Happy Thanksgiving!

“The End” of “The Office”?

I’ve been a loyal viewer of “The Office” ever since it hit the airwaves in the U.S., and even went back and watched the original version from ‘across the pond.’ I’ve always thought the U.S. version was the funnier one (yes, I know I’m in the minority on that…), perhaps because the characters were easier to relate to (I’m likely a hybrid between Jim and Creed, maybe with some Stanley thrown in for good measure).

After Steve Carell announced last year that he was leaving the show, I thought, “That’s okay– there are tons of funny actors and actresses who will keep it going (i.e. Phyllis).” I’ve continued to watch…

… and I think last week’s episode (Dwight hosts Andy’s garden party at the beet farm) might have been a sure sign to me that the best is well behind us, the end perhaps close at hand: “The Office” has ‘jumped the shark.’

Don’t get me wrong– I’ll still watch and I’m sure there will still be some laughs along the way, but I hope everyone behind the show works to wrap it all up with a bow at the end of this season and not extend it into a 9th.

Thoughts? Leave them here, e-mail me at ‘jason.fechner@wqad.com’ or post ‘em on my Facebook page…

A return to normalcy… for now…

A whirlwind last few months has come to an end this morning, as WQAD is back to full-staff on the producer front, meaning I’m no longer producing “News 8 at 10:00,” freeing me up for all my side projects here at News 8. So, look for more frequent blog posts, new installments of “8 Good Minutes…”at WQAD.com, more behind-the-scenes YouTube videos posted here and on our website, etc.

More to come…

Just tell the truth…

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted an entry about this before, but it’s apparently worth repeating:

If you can’t clearly deny an accusation against you, then you’re guilty.

Right now, Rep. Anthony Weiner is in a dust-up over an inappropriate picture he ‘tweeted’ to a 21-year-old college student. When asked, repeatedly, over whether or not he did it, he had this to say:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/05/rep-anthony-weiner-gets-combative-with-reporters-about-lewd-twitter-photo.html

He’s first claimed he was the victim of a hacker. He then refused to succinctly say he didn’t send the picture. Here’s how I envision it playing out if he hadn’t sent it:

“Representative Weiner,” I’d ask, “someone is accusing you of sending an inappropriate picture out over Twitter.”

“Not me,” he’d say. “I’ve never sent any inappropriate pictures to anyone. Period. Any accusation is false.”

Seems pretty simple to me.

I’d be like if someone accused me of doing illegal drugs, spending time in prison, vising Mars last summer, spending time on the weekends as a jockey (can you imagine my 6′5″ frame racing a horse, let alone in those goofy pants?!), dating former WWE wrestler Chyna or collecting garden gnomes.

Nope. Never. Nein. Nada. Nix.

Seem pretty simple to you too? Post your response here or e-mail me anytime: jason.fechner@wqad.com

“8 Good Minutes…”

Rolling out a new web exclusive beginning tonight at WQAD.com called “8 Good Minutes…” Each week (ideally, maybe more, maybe less…), I’ll shoot a laid-back interview for exactly eight minutes with someone in the Quad Cities. The first installment features News 8’s Chris Minor– enjoy!

http://www.wqad.com/videobeta/f0f13578-275d-4e20-a15f-2e38fc814648/News/8-Good-Minutes-with-Chris-Minor

Welcome Home!

One year after leaving for the Sinai Peninsula, roughly 440 Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers are coming home this weekend.

The troops with the 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment, based out of Milan, Macomb and Galesburg, Illinois, left in May, 2010, for a tour of duty with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). These soldiers from Illinois and  Iowa oversaw and upheld terms of the 1979 peace treaty between  Egypt and Israel, ‘observing and reporting’ any movement on the border between the two nations.

News 8 traveled to Egypt back in November to embed with the MFO for a week and report on their progress.

“Our Soldiers did an outstanding job accomplishing their mission,” Lt. Col. Maurice Rochelle said in a statement. “There were no major accidents, incidents or casualties during our deployment and we succeeded in every facet of our mission. I am proud of the work these Soldiers have done representing Illinois and their families should be proud of them as well.”

A homecoming ceremony for units with 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment in Milan will take place at 10:00 a.m. May 14 at armories in Milan, Galesburg and Macomb.

The Milan-based 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment includes the Forward Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery in Milan; Headquarters, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery in Milan; Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery in Milan; Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery in Macomb and Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery in Galesburg.

News 8 will have complete coverage of the homecoming Saturday on News 8 and WQAD.com.

Here are links to stories News 8 did with the troops while overseas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clM15NKXb3c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAkDQfhWlk8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52ChbTaLso4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQlQIPLRJok

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUjgZyF3A04

I bid the Evo adieu…

I love technology. Love it. However, I hated the most technologically advanced phone I’ve ever owned, one of the most buzzed about on the market– the HTC Evo.

It was time for an upgrade, so I strolled into my local Sprint store, browsed the long row of new phones and did what I always do: gravitate to the most advanced, most expensive, most laden with bells-and-whistles one. This thing shot HD video and  could upload video and 8 mp pictures to Facebook, Twitter, etc. (a requirement for what I do these days…). It had tons of apps, a giant screen, 8 gb of memory… and on and on and on…

It also relied solely on a touchscreen.

Fail.

“Hi, HTC Evo, I’m Jason, and here come my giant thumbs on your tiny sensitive little letters.”

I was misspelling “I.” I was accidentally dialing phone numbers I should never accidentally dial. Stress was consuming me (though the game “Angry Birds” is pretty cool…).

So, long story somewhat shorter, I returned the phone today and exchanged it for the newest Blackberry Curve. I can still do plenty with it, including the most important thing: call people and send text messages.

Ah, sweet technological relief, how I’ve missed thee…

Magazine Overload

So, I don’t subscribe to any magazines. I haven’t for a few years– I used to subscribe to Time, Sports Illustrated, Esquire and Rolling Stone, but I found them stacking up on the coffee table month-after-month, unable to find the time to read them and basically wasting paper.

Well, last month I picked up a copy of Esquire again and they had some deal too-good-to-pass-up ($7.99 for 12 months?!), so I bit the bullet and got back into the magazine subscription world, envisioning laid back Saturdays with a cup of coffee in one hand and director Barry Sonnenfeld’s gadget updates in the other.

Apparently in the time I’ve been away from periodic print, it’s gone the way of MTV, though. A quick flip through the page was sensory overload. Besides the smells of roughly 12 colognes mixing together, each page now pulls ones’ eyes in about 40 different directions: an article, a corresponding picture, a smaller picture which corresponds to another article on another page with a page number, random quotes near the bottom of the page that don’t correspond with anything, etc.

What. In. The. World. Is. Going. On?

Have people become so scatterbrained because of quick video edits, fast-moving video games, cellphones, texts, etc., that magazines have been swept up in the sensory overload craze?!

Anyone else feel the same way?! Jason.Fechner@wqad.com…

Other Blog Outlets

Unfortunately, this blog has a tendency to be like a pair of stonewashed jeans– I’ll use it often for a while, then forget about it in the back of my closet before finding it again and using it for weeks at a time (this, of course, assumes that I own a pair of stonewashed jeans and could wear them without the ire of my girlfriend or fashion-forward sister…).

Anyway, a nice viewer named Nancy asked at last weekend’s Flower and Garden Show why I don’t post blog entries as often anymore. I explained that I still post plenty of stuff, but just not as frequently here.

You’ll find more frequent out-of-the-box posts and insights at the links below. I promise they’re all stonewashed-jean free:

http://www.facebook.com/jasonfechner

http://www.twitter.com/jasonfechner

http://www.youtube.com/jasonfechnermedia

I’ll also try to update this more often as well. Thanks for reading and watching!