The Fuzzy Nutter

Archive for September, 2007

N is for Ninja

Posted by MSeech on September 27, 2007

As the long and always forgotten borough of NYC, good ol’ Staten Island (better know as Shaolin) hardly ever receives press coverage. But when it does, it’s usually for the most asinine reasons.

It all seems surreal. Man breaks into 14 homes. Cops can’t catch man. Public learns man dresses like a ninja – nunchucks and all. Viola! The ninja burglar is born. No, he’s not a character in Hollywood’s latest box office bomb, but a real life bandit targeting homes on the North Shore of Staten Island.

Although his crime spree began way back in June, Islanders became familiar with the ninja after  The Staten Island Advance reported on a homeowner’s face-to-face meeting with the man in black.

 The story captivated the borough as details of the break-in emereged. According to the victim, Phil Chiolo sensed danger the moment his cat, Tippy, began to growl. Upon invesitgation of his basement, Chiolo encountered the elusive ninja burglar. Chiolo recalled his chilling made-for-tv confrontation in the Sept. 7 issue of the SI Advance:

“Then, I see this guy dressed in a Halloween-like ninja outfit, with just his eyes peering out,” said Chiolo. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

Almost immediately, the intruder lunged at Chiolo, whacking his left shoulder blade with nunchucks, leaving a huge black and blue welt.

“He hits me, and he hits me hard,” he explained.

Chiolo spun around for cover, but the assailant hit him again with the weapon, this time leaving a knot in the back of his head.

Chiolo stabbed the intruder, but the ninja escaped into the Staten Island night.

Phil Chiolo displays the welt he sustained at the hands of the ninja bandit

Photo: Staten Island Advance/Joshua Carp

The burglar resurfaced two weeks later this time drawing widespread media attention. The break-in was the lead story on the local nightly news programs, but on Sept. 25, FOX News Channel aired a segement about the burglar complete with an analyst and  a photo of a random ninja. While the other cable news shows aired segments about the tragic protests in Myanmar and the UN General Assembly, FOX News aired two segments about the ninja bandit in one week. That’s double the Shaolin exposure.

Three dozen cops are currently assigned to the case:

Two task forces — a patrol team comprising 24 officers and an investigative team with 12 detectives, including members of the citywide Major Case Squad — are on the hunt, said Assistant Chief Albert Girimonte, the Island’s top cop.

Three dozen cops on the hunt for one lone ninja.

Welcome to Staten Island.

Posted in CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Ninja, Staten Island | 1 Comment »

Even Better Than The Real Thing

Posted by MSeech on September 7, 2007

It’s a battle to end all battles. Well not really, but don’t mess with the blogging world if you’re going to talk smack – I’m down with it. More specifically, don’t undermine the work and validity of citizen journalists/bloggers if your idea of journalism stops at reporting. In his New Yorker article, Nicholas Lemann, Dean of Columbia’s Journalism School may as well have equated citizen journalism with the newly-crowned Miss Teen USA – everything you want on the outside minus the substance. Lemann even went so far as to say:

“[T]he content of most citizen journalism will be familiar to anybody who has ever read a church or community newsletter – it’s heartwarming and it probably adds to the store of good things in the world, but does not amount to the collective challenge to power which the traditional media are supposedly too timid to take up.”

What Lemann fails to recognize is that citizen journalism allows the public/consumer/newsmaker to not only report on the news but also to focus in on what they deem as important. This is opposed to some guy (or woman) who is clueless as to what a random person in a random town feels is newsworthy. Therefore creating a failed connection between the two entities.

Lemann’s response to Jeff Jarvis’ challenge (see the very end) shows a disconnect between what is and what should be in regards to the training of “professional” journalisnts.

What is [Lemann’s take]: “[W]e focus mainly on reporting – that is, actively seeking the truth on subjects of interest and significance, and communicating it clearly and interestingly to the general public.”

And citizen journalism differs how? Bueller? . . . Bueller? So citizen journalists and/or bloggers may or may not have had professional training, or attened journalism school, but are those legitimate reason to cast them aside?

What should be [Jarvis’ take]: ” [J]ournalists must redefine their roles and relationships as more than just reporters, editors, and producers …” Amen, brother! Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past, oh, let’s say 20+ years, journalists have become more than just reporters. They unkowningly step into numerous roles, but those who do realize this must take advantage of it. Of course, I’m not talking about those big journalism bucks to be made, but rather understanding what it takes to reconnect an already growing disconnect between the print and online worlds.

So the exchanges between Jarvis and Lemann (even those incredibly lengthy Bill Keller/Jeff Jarvis emails) may not haven been a 32-bit Mortal Kombat-style battle to the death, but there’s still hope bloggers and reporters may end up in such a duel.

Posted in Opinion, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »