Newspaper’s Blagojevich ringtones are (bleeping) golden

In this Jan. 27, 2009 file photo, then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks on his cell phone before making an appearance in New York on a television program. In wiretap phone recordings played by prosecutors at his ongoing corruption trial in Chicago, the foul-mouthed former governor bashes everyone from politicians and reporters to Illinois voters and even his own wife, Patti.  Whether the verbal attacks the FBI caught on tape in the weeks before Blagojevich's arrest in 2008 leave a lasting impression on the public _ let alone on jurors _ remains to be seen. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)
In this Jan. 27, 2009 file photo, then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks on his cell phone before making an appearance in New York on a television program. In wiretap phone recordings played by prosecutors at his ongoing corruption trial in Chicago, the foul-mouthed former governor bashes everyone from politicians and reporters to Illinois voters and even his own wife, Patti. Whether the verbal attacks the FBI caught on tape in the weeks before Blagojevich's arrest in 2008 leave a lasting impression on the public _ let alone on jurors _ remains to be seen. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)


This could be my favorite newspaper giveaway ever.

The Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register is giving away free ringtones featuring ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Here’s how the newspaper described the offering online:

They’re free — and profanity-laced.

Now you can enjoy the profanity-laced tirades of Illinois’ least-favorite son when you’re on the go. Beginning today, The State Journal-Register is offering free Blagojevich ringtones for your (bleeping) phone.

Remember those heady days of arrest and impeachment with these classic bits, from Blagojevich’s Nov. 10, 2008, conference call (PDF) with Patti Blagojevich, general counsel Bill Quinlan and advisers Bill Knapp and Doug Sosnik:

“Look it, I gotta tell you: I don’t wanna be governor for the next two years. I wanna get going. I’ll, I, this has been two (expletive) (expletive) years where I’m doing the best I can trying to get through a brick wall and find ways around stuff but it’s like just (expletive) my family and time is passing me by and I’m stuck. It’s no good. It’s no good. I gotta get moving. The whole world’s passing me by and I’m stuck in this (expletive) job as governor now.”

And:

“You know our mantra was — you know, before election night — was ‘win on Tuesday’ — I remember, if you guys remember this — ‘win on Tuesday, (expletive) everybody on Wednesday and quit on Thursday.’”

Here’s a link to the newspaper’s full account, including more excerpts from the available ringtones.

So here’s your assignment, Missoulian.com readers: If the Missoulian were to offer made-in-Montana ringtones, who should they feature?

Reply to this blogpost with your suggestions. It’ll be, in the words of Rod Blagojevich, “(bleeping) golden.”

Sherry Devlin

On crossing the finish line

Missoulian reporter Tristan Scott, former assistant news editor Jenn Sauer, news editor Justin Grigg
Missoulian reporter Tristan Scott, former assistant news editor Jenn Sauer, news editor Justin Grigg

All sorts of incredible, and sometimes bizarre and sometimes hilarious, things motivated runners in Sunday’s Missoula Marathon and Half-Marathon.

My daughter loved the Chuck Norris jokes posted on signs along the route.

Neither she nor I realized those were the handiwork of Jenn Sauer, former assistant news editor of the Missoulian. Or that she had planted the markers as pick-me-ups for the Missoulian’s Tristan Scott and Justin Grigg, who ran – and finished! – the full marathon. Tristan ran fast enough, in fact, that he qualified for the Boston Marathon, a truly impressive feat.

My favorite part of the marathon was watching all the runners cross the Higgins Avenue Bridge. Every one of them made me smile, and inspired me with the courage and fortitude they had to keep on running and running and running.

This morning, thanks to a tip from Justin, I discovered that we can all watch those finishers cross the line again and again. On video!

Each of the thousands of runners were captured on video – and can be seen now on the Missoula Marathon website. Here’s a link.

All you have to do is type in the first or last name of your runner – or yourself! – then click on the bib number. That’ll take you to the video.

Even if you don’t think you’re interested in watching your friends/relatives/neighbors run those last few steps, give it a look. It’ll make you smile, and keep you going.

Kind of like those Chuck Norris jokes!

Sherry Devlin

Griz ‘Tunnel Run’ is tops nationally

Photograph by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian
Photograph by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

If you’ve seen it on the Jumbotron at Griz football games, you know the University of Montana’s “Griz Tunnel Run” video is awesome.

Now, the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators has made it official, awarding the promotional video a silver award at its yearly meeting.

Here’s the news release from UM:

The University of Montana’s “Griz Tunnel Run” video won a silver award June 23 at the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators annual conference in Anaheim, Calif.

The NACMA awards honor outstanding achievement in marketing and promotion. Awards are presented in 16 categories, with each category divided into three groups based on school size and conference affiliations. More than 650 entries were submitted for the 2009-10 year.

UM won silver in the Group II “Video Board Segment” category. The gold award went to the United States Military Academy. Drake University took bronze.

The UM video was produced by Chisel Industries, a Montana-based company. UM Executive Vice President Jim Foley supervised the production. View “Griz Tunnel Run” and other videos online at http://www.umt.edu/home/seetheads.

Congratulations from all of us here at the Missoulian!

Sherry Devlin

A-W-E-S-O-M-E afternoon at the state bee

Rose Tracy of Anaconda prepares to spell one of the final words in the 2010 Treasure State Spelling Bee, while runner-up Ania Chaney of Missoula looks on. BILLINGS GAZETTE PHOTO
Rose Tracy of Anaconda prepares to spell one of the final words in the 2010 Treasure State Spelling Bee, while runner-up Ania Chaney of Missoula looks on. BILLINGS GAZETTE PHOTO

“This is how I spell ‘spelling bee,’ “ an assistant news editor proclaimed early Saturday afternoon. “B-O-R-I-N-G.”

But alas, he spoke too soon.

By the last round of the 2010 Treasure State Spelling Bee, every computer in the Missoulian newsroom was showing the live streaming video from Billings, as two Missoula middle-school students and two-time state champ Rose Tracy of Anaconda spelled increasingly unlikely words.

And, yes indeed, one of those spellers was “our own” Ania Chaney, daughter of Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney and a familiar face in our newsroom since she was a tiny tyke. (Now, she towers over nearly all of us, and is most certainly a better speller than we are!)

In the end, Rose prevailed and achieved the rare title of three-time Montana state spelling bee champion. Ania came in second, and Missoula’s Claire Hinther ended in a three-way tie for third place.

And it was anything but B-O-R-I-N-G. Fingers were crossed, breaths held, heads scratched when Ania received her last word: “getatable.”

“Getatable?” came the cry from across the newsroom. “What’s getatable?”

Turns out, it’s pretty much: get at able. As in able to achieve the desired result.

But who knew?

Ania did an awesome job, falling short by adding just one “t” to many to the word.

Then came Rose and “pyrolatry,” or the worship of fire. While we freaked out – “pie what?” – Rose calmly asked for the language of origin, figured out the pyro for “fire” and “latry” for worship and spelled the winning word with seeming ease.

Wow! Not long after, dad Chaney called the newsroom to report the news. “We know!” I told him. “We watched the whole thing!”

And we had but one word to describe the performance of one and all: A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

Sherry Devlin

Score! Your sporty kids in the newspaper

Raise your hand if you want to brag about your kids or grandkids. Knew it!

The Missoulian has just the deal for all of you with the hands waving: our new youth sports page, coming each Tuesday to the Sports section beginning March 30.

This new feature is basically a full page of photos – from you! – once each week, highlighting non-school youth sports in western Montana.

And that’s where you come in. We need you to submit photos of your children and grandchildren – or the kids on your sports team, if you’re the coach – for publication on the page.

The photos will fill the majority of the space. The remainder of the page will be a community bulletin board of sorts, with news about class registrations, tournament sign-ups, calendar items of upcoming events – announcements of any kind pertaining to youth sports. We need you to send in those news items, as well.

Our idea is to shine the spotlight on sports and clubs that do not routinely receive coverage in the Missoulian, specifically non-school related activities. Think Little League, Y sports, club swimming and cheerleading, gymnastics, martial arts, horseback riding – all the ways our children compete and enjoy sports here in western Montana.

The page will run year-round, and the first edition is a little over a week away. Which means we’re putting together that first page THIS VERY WEEK.

Photos and announcements should be submitted via e-mail at youthsports@missoulian.com. Photos should be in the form of a jpeg with enough information for a caption, including the identification of as many of the subjects in the photo as possible.

If, as we suspect, we receive more photos than will fit in our print edition, those photos will be published on our Web site, Missoulian.com. I’ll keep you posted on how and where to find those online photos. Questions? Drop us an e-mail at the above address and we’ll get back to you. Or give me a call anytime about any ideas you have for the Missoulian: 523-5250.

Sherry Devlin

We’re positively mad about March

The Grizzly basketball team was welcomed home late Thursday with a parade through Missoula. LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian
The Grizzly basketball team was welcomed home late Thursday with a parade through Missoula. LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian

We’re a little mad here in the Missoulian newsroom, because – in case you haven’t noticed – it’s March. And that means high school basketball tournaments and the Griz and Lady Griz vying for a whirl around the floor at the Big Dance.

And now that the Griz are actually going to the Dance – we’ll find out where on Sunday – we’re even madder about March.

That’s why the Missoulian has reporters, photographers and videographers all over Montana today, and in Cheney, Wash., covering basketball games. In fact, we’ve got two reporters in Billings for the state AA girls’ and boys’ basketball tournaments. With tons of coverage coming from the state A, B and C girls’ tourneys as well.

And Lady Griz reporter Bill Speltz is in Cheney, Wash., for this afternoon’s semifinal game between UM and Portland State. The winner goes to Saturday’s Big Sky Conference championship game.

Here are home, sports editor Bob Meseroll is just back from Ogden, Utah, and providing daily coverage in the wake of the Grizzly basketball team’s outrageous win over Weber State Wednesday night. That game was what March is all about in the basketball world. Absolutely.

We commit a lot of resources to our basketball coverage this time of year – a ton of resources, in fact, for a newspaper our size.

That’s because we know these are important events in the lives of Montana families and Missoulian readers. I’ve been to many a high school basketball tournament with my children, and there’s nothing quite like them. And the Griz and Lady Griz in the NCAAs? Nothing short of awesome, if you’ve ever been lucky enough to attend.

And whether you’re there or not, we’ll be there for you – covering all the game action, as well as the behind-the-scenes stories. We’re posting everything online in “real time,” right as it’s happening, then following up with in-depth stories and lots of photos in the print edition of the Missoulian. And we’ve got a ton of video this year from the prep games, all posted on Missoulian.com.

So get your game face on western Montana,
and join us in the pages of the Missoulian and online at Missoulian.com as we plunge headlong into the special madness that is March!

Sherry Devlin

Chelsi Moy and Kurt Wilson are national champs

Rocky Boy High School senior Eric Schildt looks over an information booklet from the University of Montana given out by UM recruiters. Photo by KURT WILSON of the Missoulian
Rocky Boy High School senior Eric Schildt looks over an information booklet from the University of Montana given out by UM recruiters. Photo by KURT WILSON of the Missoulian

I’m proud to announce that Missoulian reporter Chelsi Moy and photography editor Kurt Wilson have won first place in the 2009 National Awards for Education Reporting, the most prestigious national competition for education writing.

Sponsored by Education Writers of America, the contest honors the best education reporting in the print and broadcast media and is the only independent contest of its kind in the United States.

A total of 334 entries were judged in this year’s contest. First Prize winners receive a cash prize of $150 and a plaque.

Chelsi and Kurt won first place in the “feature, news feature or issue package” category for a spectacular story and photographs about the University of Montana’s efforts to recruit Native American high school students on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation.

Over the course of three days, they spent time with students and teachers at Rocky Boy and Box Elder high schools – at school and in their homes – to explore why so many Native students are reluctant to attend college in Missoula. Then, as UM officials arrived for their annual recruiting visit at the schools, they documented that interaction. The result was an incredible, up-close look at reservation life, the hopes and dreams of Native high-schoolers, and UM’s continued work to bring more Native students to Missoula for college.

In words and a package of stunning photographs, they provided Missoulian readers with a moving and intimate portrait of life on one Montana Indian reservation. It was significant work, one I’m thrilled to see at the top of the Education Writers’ list of award winners.

Contest judging was conducted independently, under the direction of Adrianne Flynn of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. This year’s panel of distinguished judges were Sandy Banisky of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Patrick Boyle of Youth Today; Tamara Henry of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland; Eric Kelderman of the Chronicle of Higher Education; Susan Kopen of WBAL; Howard Libet, of Center Maryland; Ylan Mui of the Washington Post; Deb Nelson of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism; Frank Quine of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland; and Molly Rath of Baltimore Public Schools.

Congratulations, Chelsi and Kurt! We are proud of you.

Sherry Devlin

UM President George Dennison watches from the back of the room during a class presentation at Rocky Boy High School last week. Photo by KURT WILSON of the Missoulian
UM President George Dennison watches from the back of the room during a class presentation at Rocky Boy High School last week. Photo by KURT WILSON of the Missoulian

Wanted: Photos of your sporting kids

soccer

Some of my favorite memories of my children’s growing-up years were made in the grandstands at hundreds of Little League, Y basketball, Y soccer, and sports camp games.

I’ll never forget the year my daughter’s first-grade soccer team scored only one goal – but what a goal! They were so far behind in the game, but when little Whitney Tawney kicked that ball into the net, every girl on the team ran out on the field and tackled her. They rolled around and laughed and cheered like they’d just won Olympic gold. And they had. I can still hear the big booming laughter of Whitney’s dad, and the looks on the faces of the opposing team’s players and parents. (“Do they know they’re about a dozen goals behind?”)

I could go on and on … as I’m sure many of you could.

Which is why I’m excited to announce that the Missoulian is adding a new feature to our Sports section, a full page of photos – from you! – each Tuesday, highlighting non-school youth sports in western Montana.

But we’re going to need a lot of help from you all!

The photos will fill the majority of the page. The remainder of the page will be a community bulletin board of sorts, with news about class registrations, tournament sign-ups, calendar items of upcoming events – announcements of any kind pertaining to youth sports.

Our idea behind the page is to shine the spotlight on sports and clubs that do not routinely receive coverage in the Missoulian, specifically non-school related activities. Think Little League, Y sports, club swimming and cheerleading, martial arts, horseback riding – all the ways our children compete and enjoy sports here in western Montana.

The page will run on Tuesdays year-round with the first page to appear in the sports section of March 30.

Photos and announcements should be submitted via e-mail at youthsports@missoulian.com. Photos should be in the form of a jpeg with enough information for a caption, including the identification of as many of the subjects in the photo as possible.

If, as we suspect, we receive more photos than will fit in our print edition, those photos will be published on our Web site, Missoulian.com. I’ll keep you posted on how and where to find those online photos. Questions? Drop us an e-mail at the above address and we’ll get back to you. Or give me a call anytime about any ideas you have for the Missoulian: 523-5250.

Sherry Devlin

We’re in awe of Missoula County’s top S-P-E-L-L-E-R-S

Lolo Middle School fifth-grader Sam Person won the 2010 Missoula County Spelling Bee last week. MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian
Lolo Middle School fifth-grader Sam Person won the 2010 Missoula County Spelling Bee last week. MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

I’m tardy in writing this note, but didn’t want February to end without congratulating the winners of the 2010 Missoula County Spelling Bee.

Lolo fifth-grader Sam Person won the county bee this year, no small feat for a first-time participant. His enthusiasm – and smile – were contagious. Runners-up were Clair Hinther, Target Range, seventh grade; and Ania Chaney, Washington Middle School, eighth grade.

Ania, by the way, is the daughter of our own Rob Chaney, a Missoulian reporter. She also worked on the staff of the Midway Dispatch, our student-produced newspaper at the Western Montana Fair, this past summer and gave her dad a real run for his money. (Just kidding, Rob!)

All three of Missoula County’s top spellers will compete at the Montana State Bee in Billings later this spring.

Also posting strong finishes at the county bee were alternates Alex Menendez, eighth grade, St. Joseph’s; Avery Boyd, fifth grade, Lewis and Clark; and Harrison Maughan, sixth grade, C.S. Porter. They’ll make the trip to the state bee if the top three can’t attend.

The Missoulian is a longtime sponsor of the county and state spelling bees, and all of us here are forever in awe of the skill shown by each year’s winners. We provide the top six spellers at the county bee with cash prizes, and all of the students with a book.

The Missoulian’s Bill Schwanke has long been the MC and pronouncer at the bee, and Lynn Schwanke – who retired from the Missoulian last year – has been the glue that kept things organized year after year.

It’s also important to note that this was the last year at the bee for Rachel Vielleux, Missoula County’s superintendent of public schools. By virtue of her elected position, she’s presided over that last 25 years’ worth of spelling bees. We thank her for that commitment to our children and our community. She will be missed, but has more than earned her retirement.

You should know that the spelling bee is our newsroom’s most dreaded assignment each year – not because reporters don’t respect the bee and enjoy writing the resulting stories. But because they do respect the bee, and know they’re almost certain to misspell a word somewhere in the resulting story!

Which, of course, is making me nervous about this blogpost, so I’d best sign off now with a final congratulations to Sam, Clair and Ania. We’ll be cheering you on at state!

Sherry Devlin

I’ve seen the future: Sentinel journalism

banner

The next time someone says journalism or newspapers or writing/reporting/interviewing/editing are things of the past, send them down to the end of my street to the little outbuilding of Sentinel High School where the Konah is produced.

Better yet, send them online to this video produced by the Konah staff. It’s funny and smart and creative and full of the reasons why I love journalism and newspapers (and why, oh so many years ago, I loved working on the high school newspaper) – and why this craft is here to stay.

These kids get it. They’re a little bit nerdy, and completely hilarious, and right on about newspapering (“It is utterly the greatest thing ever invented … ever … of all time … the best”). And they’re my neighbors down at the end of the street!

Lucky for me. Lucky for newspapers. Lucky for the future.

Sherry Devlin