Thursday, December 06, 2007

DINING WITH THE MOUTHPIECES

We had the chance this week to dine with PIOs -- public information officers serving the city, county, school district, the zoo, Ozarks Greenways and the convention and visitors bureau (if we left out anyone, mea culpa).

Purpose of the lunch: Get to know us! "Us" being three local bloggers, including the chief typist of this joint, the guy from Life of Jason and the fella who runs Branson Edge.

Seems official types want to do more outreach to bloggers, part of the continuing shift away from mainstream media-only access. It's a solid idea; expect to see more original reporting from local bloggers, as they slowly gain parity with their professional typing peers.

Thanks to Jason and the Edgeman for their input, and to the PIOs who suffered us without much grumbling.

32 comments:

Jason said...

Ron, it was an honor to meet you as your blog was one of the inspirations to me starting out. You have a good team at KSPR and you're my first choice for TV news in town.

RON DAVIS said...

Jason: Didja get your dollar back? Pleasure to meet you, too. And congrats on breaking the digital glass with your blog.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Was that the luncheon I was invited to? Because I mentioned to Michael Brothers, when I called him back about it, that it was a shame some of us can't attend daytime functions in the middle of the work day...

This sort of thing needs to happen in the evenings. That would be the moral of the story, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Who paid for your lunch? Was this another example of food and beverage paid for by the public?

I wonder how many times a week we citizens pick up the tab for meals and refreshments for city officials (and their guests) at a time when many members of the public are skimping on their own groceries because times are tough.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

For the record... I wouldn't take a free - er, taxpayer-funded - meal. It's not mine to take.

Anonymous said...

Oh for heaven's sake. The "taxpayer funded lunches" aren't exactly draining the budget, and typically are seen as investments in human capital. If you want to fight something pick a battle that is worth your effort. A $2 sandwich ain't it, kid.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

It's the principle, not the cost.

Anonymous said...

Was this luncheon posted? Were minutes kept? Was city, county, zoo, school, Ozark Greenways, convention and vistors bureau business discussed? Was grace said?

Darin said...

It was top secret meeting with government officials. Because they weren't elected but rather appointed no official documents exist.

I ordered the most expensive item on the menu, because I'm a jerk like that when the government is buying.

The chronicles of my day in Springfield are posted on Tech Trends in a post entitled Blogging Springfield.. On Branson Missouri. All posts where any kind of consideration is given, including a free sandwich is marked with the tag Total Sellout. A link on the sidebar identifies potential commercial bias.

Anonymous said...

Great. Now PIO's can lie to bloggers as well as the media.

Anonymous said...

Not only is this an example of supping at the public trough, a photo on Darin's page makes it appear that Ron ordered so much food that he had to carry some off in a to-go box!

OINK!

Anonymous said...

"Supping at the public trough" is never something to brag about.

Desdinova said...

If this tread teaches us anything it is something I learned a long time ago: DON'T PUBLISH COMMENTS BY LIBERTARIAN GUY. His comments are humorless and pointless.

Desdinova said...

That should be "thread."

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

It's not about humor, Desdinova. It's about some damned serious stuff. Sorry, but I'm not here to entertain you.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

By the way, I was invited to the bloggers' luncheon. I take it you weren't, Des.

Of course, I had to work, and couldn't just take off in the middle of the day. Someone's got to help feed Uncle Sams' money jones.

RON DAVIS said...

Anon 246: The takeout box contained the rest of my fish and chips lunch. A co-worker finished the rest. Oink, indeed.

Desdinova said...

No, I wasn’t invited. There wouldn’t be a point to it. I’m not a serious journalist/blogger. I also don’t cover city council. I would just be a guy eating at taxpayers expense (which I think would be cool). Ron, Jason and Darrin cover the city council, so they should have been invited. I don’t begrudge them nor have a problem with it, but you have a problem with everything.

As for the crack about not working, I volunteer with a local charity during the day and work in the media at night.

I get the feeling that you believe I AM a crazy, madman who might take over the world.

Busplunge said...

I wasn't invited either. And I got the time (you got the beer).
Gosh gee fellas, I've lived here almost 50 years. I gotta opinion about dang near everything. Not only that, I'm retired, so I got the time to tell ya.
I think I was free that day, let me check my colander.

Desdinova said...

Busplunge, I think you have a right to complain.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Look, des, I'm not a professional journalist... just a guy who gives a damn about how things are run, in this city and on the bigger level. That's why I did a LOT of logistical wrangling so I could attend the audit hearing Thursday; I do more than work for a living, too. I have family to take care of, a teenager to finish raising by myself, so it's not like I'm a fat-n-happy capitalist pig who only gives a damn about himself.

I know people have that perception of libertarians, so I wanted to dispell that notion.

As for me "having a problem with everything", I don't think I'm the only one who complains about things, bub.

By the way, if you want to leave comments on my blog, I won't censor them unless you use foul language - not that I'm against foul language - or threaten me with bodily harm, like a poster from the Post-Dispatch blog did a while back.

Oh, and... have a government-approved day.

Anonymous said...

Libertarian Guy, you have once again demonstrated to the readers of this blog that you are more than willing to make an ass of yourself by criticizing things that you know little or nothing about.

For the record, the group that met last Wednesday is a very loosely affiliated bunch of public relations and public information practitioners, and we receive NO (that's ZERO) tax support. Many, but certainly not all, of the people who show up for this monthly meeting (which, by the way, is NOT a bloggers event; this month's session just happened to include a few bloggers as guests) are employed by government entities, but they all attend on their own time.

And get this: We all buy our own lunches, with our own money. Not one dime of your precious tax dollars (don't forget--we pay taxes, too) goes into the support of this monthly gathering.

Further, it is clear that you have absolutely no sense whatsoever of the degree to which virtually every "member" of this monthly group devotes time to public causes (including their jobs) for which they NEVER receive extra compensation. Most of us routinely find ourselves working for our fellow citizens, including jerks like you, for many hours a week beyond the "standard 40."

Your constant blind harping against people who work in public service is an insult to the thousands of honest, dedicated and hard-working public employees who genuinely do the jobs they were hired to do. If you'd like to criticize specific individuals employed by government at whatever level, then by all means do that, but please bring specific facts with you to your ranting. Slamming all people who are employed by publicly funded entities, governments included, only serves to illustrate how narrow minded an individual you must be.

And if you can't do that, kindly stuff a sock in it.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Well, I wasn't TOLD it was such, anon. I just figured, getting a call from the PIO, that the taxpayer was footing the bill somehow. Nor was I told that your group receives zero tax funding, which I must admit I find refreshing and surprising.

As for the rest of your "government is good" screed... gosh, you're a sensitive type, aren't you?

However, I must point out that I have never slammed "all" people who work for the machine. It's the machine itself that I find abhorrent. There's way too much of it.

I respect the hard-working, honest people who work, in ANY profession, even for government. I just don't think we need so much of it.

Do I have to run a disclaimer every time I criticize government? Would that soothe your politically-correct nerves? Or should Congress control what is said on blog postings?

Whoever you are, anon - I assume you won't reveal your identity as you do work for the public sector - feel free to criticize me, even if you don't understand, as you have accused me of, what it is *I* do, at work or in my political life. I think you've got this picture of a raving anarchist, which would be wrong... I'm neither, actually. I'm actually a MINarchist who does the *occasional* rant on the abuses of government, which is one reason why I helped get the audit petition word out. Positive change, enacted by the people, that would not have happened voluntarily by the city of Springfield.

If you are, indeed, an honest public servant... well, good for you. Would that we had more of the same. Well... less, actually.

Now, who's narrow-minded?

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Des, while I'm handing out mea culpas... I didn't mean to insinuate that you don't have a job. You strike me as an able-bodied fellow, so you must be getting a paycheck by the sweat of your own brow.

I was actually refering to the timing of the event I could not attend, yet wanted to.


Correction: The last sentence in the previous should have said "would not have happened voluntarily by the people who run the city of Springfield".


And back to the last anon poster... look up the term "minarchist". It'll explain a lot about why you really didn't need to go on such a tangent.

Now, if y'all will excuse me, I have to go partake of some adult beverages - while they're still legal - and unwind from the previous week. Hanging out at City Hall leaves quite the residue.

(oops, there I go again... criticizing fine people like Tom Carlson...)

A Statist Person said...

/begin sarcasm

The state is good! Down with the private sector! Free health care for everyone! Yargh!

/end sarcasm

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

For the record, that last post was made by my son. Chip off the old block.

Louise Whall, City PIO said...

I feel it necessary to clarify some of the comments in this post, considering I
am the one who paid for the lunches for our three speakers that day.
I think it is a completely common practice and expectation in any sort of
professional setting that if you invite someone to attend your meeting as a
breakfast, luncheon or dinner speaker that the entity doing the inviting pays
for the person(s) being invited. They are there as our guests and should be
treated as such. If a speaker has a philosophical issue about not accepting a
meal, we certainly would respect that but I can't recall a time when that has
happened.

Anon. 2:23 accurately described our group and the fact that it receives no
taxpayer funding as an entity, unless you count the City's staff time it takes
to organize the monthly meetings, which is minimal. However, those attending
come from a range of civic-oriented organizations (public, private and not for
profit) and have a wide variety of arrangements with their individual employers
about whether it counts as work time, whether it counts as a work expense, etc.
We meet at lunch because most of us work some version of a daytime schedule, but
still have plenty of evening work commitments. I don't think our attendance
would be very strong if we tried to layer this on as another evening commitment.

This ad hoc group is designed to share information to stay up to date with
various issues and to network with other parts of the communications field in
our community, via the speakers we host. We have actually done several programs
on "new media" or "social networking" because it is a topic affecting all of our
jobs and we are all challenged to various degrees with issues such as responding
to citizen journalists when we stay very busy with mainstream media journalists;
how much time to devote to reviewing blogs to see what they are saying about our
entities; responding to blogs; writing our own blogs; the list goes on. I would
think bloggers would generally welcome the attention being paid to this subject
by the Public Information sector and the sincere effort to recognize and
acknowledge the new playing field.

Richard Davis said...

An eloquent rebuttal, Louise. Thanks for clarifying that for those who may have been misinformed, or who were otherwise talking about a subject that they knew nothing about. LOL.

Anonymous said...

" ... those who may have been misinformed, or who were otherwise talking about a subject that they knew nothing about."

Isn't that what blogging's all about?

Richard Davis said...

Well, bloggers are supposed to know at least a LITTLE about what they're talking about, I thought. :) At least they sound better when they do that.

The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

Thank you, Louise. I'll file that away for future reference.

Christina said...

It's nice to see that the city is finally getting us local bloggers into the act.

I wouldn't mind being asked to give a few opinions of my own, especially since I've been doing reviews randomly on Springfield businesses and places of interest on my own for a while now.

As bloggers, we have the attention of the community, and the more of us who are involved in what happens on the local level, the more of us who write about it, the more views and opinions are out there for the rest of the city to take in.

More views are always a good thing, and inevitably lead to a more balanced outlook overall.

Kudos to those places and orgs in Springfield for getting us involved.

(I wasn't invited either) *smile*