Book review: ‘Clemente’ tells story bigger than baseball

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-8-52-42-amThe Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote a colorful review of my latest book, “All About Roberto Clemente.” They noted that the book spends a lot more time talking about Clemente, the human being — and not just his activity as a ballplayer. An excerpt:

Those who saw Clemente play will never forget his laser-like throws from right field that froze baserunners, or his daring moves on the basepaths. But Conte’s book gives as much if not more time to Roberto Clemente the human being.

Read the full review here.

My new book: ‘All About Roberto Clemente’

I grew up in Pittsburgh. And I knew the legend of Roberto Clemente. It gets passed down from grandparents to parents to children around these parts.

But I never really knew his full story.

robertoclementefinalwebSo when my publisher asked if I would write a children’s book on the Pirates outfielder, I jumped at the chance. The book, All About Roberto Clemente, has just come out. It seeks to introduce a new generation to Clemente — the player, but also the man. The best way to understand his impact is to see how many contemporary players — especially from the Caribbean — still pay homage to Clemente today.

I also had two personal reasons for wanting to do the book: One, my cousin John David Charlton loved Clemente. He’s a little bit older, and understood Clemente’s greatness better than I did. I dedicated the book to John. The second is that my close friend Luis Fabregas grew up in Puerto Rico and made the same trek to Pittsburgh. This story is also Luis’s story.

The book is available at Barnes & Noble everywhere, Amazon and independent book stores.

Getting the news — up close

The first time my journalism students tried talking about Donald Trump’s “grab her by the. ..” — well, you know — moment, the men in class could not get out the words — afraid to embarrass and offend their female classmates.

From my latest media innovation in the Tribune-Review: http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/11671977-74/moments-election-media

From my latest media innovation in the Tribune-Review: http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/11671977-74/moments-election-media

After a week or so, everyone in class had accepted the phrase as part of our new national lexicon and they discussed it freely (although it remains too indelicate to publish here).

With the daily crush of information and social media technology that connects and exposes us in new ways, it’s easy to forget how many groundbreaking moments happen all of the time. We crossed several significant thresholds in the way we communicate during 2016.

In some cases, words and moments that once seemed too offensive turned into the daily discussions. At other moments, technology broke new ground by revealing startling new ways of sharing information.

Here’s list of the tradition-shattering moments from the past year: Continue reading

Pittsburgh’s place in cybersecurity

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-10-29-31-amWith the Obama administration striking back at supposed Russian hackers and the Trump administration raising questions, Pittsburgh continues to remain at the center of much of this discussion.

When the White House named two suspected top Russian hackers accused of meddling in the president election, it identified Evgenii Bogachev. As a suspect, he’s already familiar to federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh: They indicted him in 2014 for running the massive GameOver Zeus scam.

David Hickton, the former U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, told me that he hopes the Trump administration will keep up the push to identify foreign hackers and hold them accountable:

“This is serious business and we realized this is serious business a long time ago,” Hickton told the Tribune-Review. “It’s not something we can put aside. We need to get to the bottom of this and resolve it.”

Separately, the Independent Journal Review raises some interesting points about cybersecurity and attribution. It linked back to one of my old stories to note that there’s not really any such thing as a totally secure computer:

 

“Really, the only safe computer is one that’s turned off and unplugged from the Internet, and even that may not be safe,” [J. Keith] Mularski told an audience at Carnegie Mellon University on Monday evening as he and co-panelists Nicolas Christin, an information systems security expert in CMU’s Cylab, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigative reporter Andrew Conte debated the pros and cons of an increasingly wired world.

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Post-print news age

dt-common-streams-streamserverIt’s time to fully embrace the post-print news age. Newspapers no longer need to be ink-on-paper to be relevant – and in fact, they might be more dynamic in a digital format. This was a revelation to me when I started reading word content (we need a better way of saying this) on my iPad. Doubt it? Just check out the National Geographic app.

Any way, that’s the topic of my latest column. Plus my wife doesn’t mind that we no longer have ink smudges on all the walls of our home.

I love getting ink on my fingers and then leaving smudges on the walls of my house. Sunday mornings are perfect with a pile of newspapers at the breakfast table. And it’s reassuring even to hear plastic-bagged newspapers hitting the driveway in the early morning on a cool night with the windows open.

But if these are the confessions of a print newsman, I must admit that I also love reading the news on my iPad too. News media experts have predicted a shift to digital news delivery for decades. Some thought the paper would come into homes as a daily fax and others imagined flexible digital paper that updates automatically.

For the moment, it has turned out to be mobile-first devices, such as tablets and phones, that have replaced newsprint for growing numbers of readers.

Even so, most people — even a vast majority of young ones — want the news… Read more.

 

Forget newspapers, TV, radio and the Internet

Forget newspapers. And the television. The radio. The Internet. All of it.

dt-common-streams-streamserverThat’s how I start out my latest media innovation column. Of course, I don’t mean forget newspapers. I’ll still take the paper as long as someone will deliver it. But in this new rapidly evolving age, the stories matter more than the medium.

It has been a whirlwind opening to the Center for Media Innovation. We have featured top journalists from a variety of publications, both local and national. They included three Pulitzer prize winners. The co-creator of the Serial podcast. And the always emotional voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers. We had a presenter from the oldest newspaper west of the Alleghenies and The Incline, an online publication that launched hours before its editor spoke on campus. Cutting edge!

We have had a ton of positive social and traditional media coverage. Here are a few of the links (with commentary by Point Park’s Lou Corsaro)…

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, fittingly, took a unique route, combining a writeup with videos and social media to mark the occasion. I highly recommend taking in everything here. 

WESA did a writeup online, also noting that the day marked the premiere of The Incline in Pittsburgh. Incline Editor Lexi Belculfine also was part of our afternoon media panel

Anchor Michelle Wright, who took part in the morning media panel, was posting on social media through the day, and mentioned the CMI opening from her WTAE desk before heading over. 

KDKA Radio’s James Garrity, who was very excited about the CMI, offered two different news items for the air: Here and here.  

And we have had tons of social media… 

 

 You also can find all of the events on our YouTube page

 

Presidential race raises questions about objectivity

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.40.37 AMThis presidential news cycle seems to be making history — no matter who you support.

It’s also forcing journalists to rethink the way they cover political races. For a long time, reporters sought objectivity by simply giving candidates equal time. I make the case in my monthly media column that’s no longer the case. Reporters need to be critical thinkers, ask tough questions and sort out reality from fiction.

Let me know in the comments section what you think…

Both sides are not the only side during this deeply vexing presidential election cycle.

Journalism schools have educated students for generations that political objectivity starts with presenting equal information from every candidate. If a journalist quotes a Democrat on a particular topic, the journalist also should find out what the Republican has to say.

But the pursuit of that kind of objectivity has come under fire. Some see blind attempts at objectivity has a cop-out against critical thinking.

By simply giving each side a chance to comment — without considering the veracity of those words – journalists can abdicate their central role of presenting the truth. Read more…

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