Thanh Tan

Archive for December 2007

A Whole Lotta Information, Not Enough Time

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I cringed at the sight of my story’s “title” on the assignment board today: sex offenders. The report is so much more complex than what isย  implied by those two ridiculously overused words.

There’s a vast difference between the story that aired and the story I WISH had aired. Time limits are a bitch. I know they’re necessary, but when there’s a complex issue to cover such as transitioning “serious” sex offenders from a state hospital to a rehabilitation center in a residential neighborhood- there are many sides to hear out and give time to. Unfortunately, the state board I really needed to speak with responded to my call right before the show, so I could only fit that information in my “tag” after the news package. That took all of 25 seconds- and I’m sure my producer wasn’t happy about that. You see, I usually only get 15 seconds to give my final thoughts/observations. When you go ten seconds over, you’re taking time away from another story. So I have to pick and choose what I say very carefully from a whole bunch of notes I’ve gathered all day. I often cheat and add an extra sentence. Producers are control freaks. They really don’t like that. So now do you understand my daily predicament?

The good news is we have a web site and a great web staff. Shannon helped me post my story online with pictures and WAY more information. Writing the online version of my news reports gives me the chance to add quotes, links, and other information that can add context to what would otherwise just be a 90-second broadcast story.

Check out the broadcast and online versions here. I really wanted to stay away from the alarmist tone, but I think I could have done a better job. Next time.


Written by Thanh Tan

December 29, 2007 at 7:01 am

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Snow Bunny

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After two restless hours, I woke up at 3a.m. today.

We’re expecting another snow storm in this area any moment. Had to come in early to do live shots for the morning show. Due to my short stature and an odd willingness to combat my fear of flying, I’m usually one of our shop’s designated helicopter reporters. (No L.A.-style car chases yet. Let’s hope I never have to fly over one of those.) A cloud cover and bad visibility kept us from going up, so photojournalist B and I were reassigned and told to head up to Mt. Hood via news car instead. I tell ya, there’s nothing like working in 16 degree weather with 20mph winds and powder flying every which way.

See below. This is what I look like when I have to cover half my head and squint like hell to keep wet snowflakes out of my eyes. Mind you, I had just wiped a heckuva lot of snow off my face just moments before during my news “package.” In this situation, make-up will do one no good.

Covering the snow on Mt. Hood

Written by Thanh Tan

December 26, 2007 at 11:04 pm

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Christmas Greetings, Weenie Royale

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I’m here. At work. Yup.

Merry frackin’ Christmas to the rest of you out there! Hope you’re spending some quality time with your families and friends. Do me a favor and try watching the news tonight. Just for a few minutes. Members of the press get no rest, really. Random stuff happens round the clock. Our newsroom is never empty. We do it for you, folks. Grant us our wish- and watch. ๐Ÿ™‚

I spent Christmas Eve at my folks’ place in Olympia. Saw the sisters. Opened some presents. Best gift ever: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook! Until last night, I’d never heard of this place. Basically, some kick-ass chefs spend their time trying out recipes, ingredients, and cooking tools anywhere from 30 to hundreds of times. Then, they share with us the most fool-proof recipes out there. Love it! This reporter may be a little obsessed with her career, but there is that other part of me that wants nothing more than to spend days on end learning how to cook and bake from scratch.

So anyway…

On this joyous holiday, I will be reporting on the theft of some valuable art at the Vollum property in NW Portland. The culprits may be scrap metal thieves. I called the public information officer for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. It’s been about two hours. No response. The guy is probably at home opening presents with his kids, so I won’t give him grief for not calling me back sooner.

Finally, I must tell you more about the title of this post. Weenie Royale is the subject of The Kitchen Sisters latest story for NPR in their “Hidden Kitchens” series. This installment features Japanese Americans who are convinced their internment during World War II changed the way they eat.

“They lived in barrack-like conditions, standing in long lines for little food, eating off tin pie plates in big mess halls. They were fed government commodity foods and castoff meat from Army surplus โ€” hot dogs, ketchup, kidneys, Spam and potatoes. The Japanese diet and family table were erased.”

Fascinating! I always wondered about that Spam thing!

Written by Thanh Tan

December 25, 2007 at 7:32 pm

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Damn, these stories are good.

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Dmae first told me about the Third Coast Festival a few months ago. Basically, it’s the equivalent of the Sundance Film Festival in the world of audio documentaries. Last night, I pulled up the stories for this year’s big winners. Haven’t heard every single one, but ‘A Fragile Son’ from CBC Radio and ‘The Ground We Lived On’ from Sound Portrait moved me to tears. The latter is a story about a woman’s undying admiration and love for her dying father.

Listen here.

Written by Thanh Tan

December 23, 2007 at 11:08 am

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Stop Media Consolidation!

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Just received this e-mail today from Free Press. Read on and participate!

Dear Media Reformer,

Only 24 hours to stop Big Media from getting even Bigger!

Call Your Senators

In less than 24 hours, the Federal Communications Commission plans to vote through rules that will let the largest media companies swallow up more local newspapers and TV stations.

If you care about the dismal state of the media, we need you to stop what you’re doing and lend a hand

We need to get at least 100 calls to every U.S. senator before 5:00 p.m. today asking them to pressure the FCC to delay tomorrow’s vote. The Media Ownership Act of 2007 (S. 2332) is waiting for a vote on the Senate floor. Your call will make a real difference.

We have 24 hours to Stop Big Media. Call your Senators today.

Calling your senators is really easy and extremely effective in showing support for legislation. Here’s what to say:

“I am calling to urge the Senator to support the Media Ownership Act of 2007 (S. 2332). This important legislation will stop the FCC’s plan to further consolidate media across America. The FCC’s plan will drown out the few remaining independent voices and create less local reporting and quality journalism. Thank you.”

Letting media kingpins buy more newspapers and television stations will make our dismal media worse. 99% of Americans — liberal and conservative — are saying they don’t want it to happen.

Just last week, senators from both parties berated FCC Chairman Kevin Martin about his big giveaway to Big Media. He didn’t flinch. He is ignoring you and Congress, but together we can stop them.

We need 10,000 calls today. Urge your friends and neighbors to make the phones on Capitol Hill ring off the hook.

Please make a call now. Stand up for local media, diverse perspectives, and quality journalism. Raise your voice.


Alexandra Russell
Program Director
Free Press

P.S. Check out today’s New York Times editorial about tomorrow’s vote at the FCC.

Written by Thanh Tan

December 17, 2007 at 10:10 pm

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Elf Dance!

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My friend Rachael just sent this link to me. A great visual of us dancin’ it up– ELF STYLE!

Written by Thanh Tan

December 14, 2007 at 9:39 am

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Secret Asian (Passing)

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My friend and mentor Dmae Roberts has just completed her latest piece. It will air first on KBOO in Portland, then nationally later this month. SO compelling.

About This Video:

“Independent Producer Dmae Roberts personal story “Secret Asian Woman” about her experiences growing up in Oregon as a biracial person who makes a daily decision to come out and not pass for white. This is a short video version of the longer radio piece funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.”

For more work by Dmae Roberts go to:

Written by Thanh Tan

December 11, 2007 at 8:05 pm

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