Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday evening news meeting

Several things caught my eye today as I've lazily perused the paper while watching TV sports and enjoying an excellent Nicolosi-concoction pasta lunch.

The local Sunday paper picked up an LA Times story that ran while we were down there about a rush on Hannah Montana concert tickets, with prices for scalped seats as high as $4,500. For those who don't know, "Hannah Montana" is a Disney Channel sitcom about a 14-year-old SoCal girl, played by Miley Cyrus, who has a secret identity as Hannah Montana, a tween pop star. Fiction begets reality, and so Cyrus' character Hannah has in fact become a tween pop star, with two giant hit albums of music from the show. (Her real-life and TV dad is Billie Ray Cyrus, the achy-breaky heart guy.)

What's funny to me about all this is that I happened to see Hannah Montana's first live concert performance myself, and I can tell you it wasn't worth any four grand. Hannah was one of three opening acts for the Cheetah Girls (another Disney girl-group creation) when they kicked off a world tour last year in Seattle.

"Hell hath no fury like the parent of a child throwing a tantrum," is one of the quotes in the LAT story. Fortunately there were no tantrums involved in our trip, and no four-digit ticket prices either. But go we did -- me and the girls and one of their friends whose name I've spaced.

As I remember it, all four performances were pretty bad, with the headlining Cheetah Girls not even bothering to lip-sync convincingly. Hannah, in her defense, at least tried to play and sing. And as she noted several times, it was her first performance in front of a live audience so she was a little nervous. You could tell. Her voice cracked and wobbled, she forgot words and dance moves and, sadly, kind of stunk up the joint. It didn't seem to matter though. KeyArena was packed with thousands of screaming girls, a bunch of tolerant mothers, and me and about two other guys. I joked at the time that it will be the only time I'm ever at KeyArena, big concert venue and home of the basketball Sonics, with the men's room all to myself.

Anyway, the crowd loved Hannah. She was the hit of the night, even though I thought one other opening group, a pair of local sisters, was much tighter. So I guess I'm not surprised that her new concert tour is an advance sellout.

In other news ...

I appreciated the front-page Seattle Times story today about the growing idea to use wave power to generate electricity. It seems a little pie-in-the-sky to me at this point but it was interesting. And what I most appreciated is that the paper kept the story relatively short -- maybe 30 or 35 inches -- despite giving it a big A-1 splash with a giant illustration. Shorter is usually better. In this case, I got just enough.

Interesting, I thought, that the Times picked up a wire story speculating that the "dislike Hillary" factor may fade as the campaign continues. Speculative, yes, but it seems to back up my theory that Clinton will be the next president despite her huge negatives. By the way, I asked the brilliant political reporter McDermott last week who he thought would win the election. He didn't hesitate: "I don't see who can beat Hillary," he said.

Finally, after Michelle's online-journalism symposium last week, in which Britney Spears became synonymous with and shorthand for stupid, unworthy clicks, I thought today's serious New York Times story about the Britney factor in the journalism world -- mostly magazines and web sites -- was pretty timely.

Best line of the story: "When it comes to traffic, 'Britney is Old Faithful,' said Harvey Levin, the managing editor of, one of the top gossip Web sites."


mich said...

Hey guys. Welcome home! I've been meaning to call all day, but have been too lazy. I was sick the past two days, but finally feel better now. Anyway, I loved reading your blog during your trip. I was living vicariously. Also love this evening news meeting post. As usual, your judgment is right on.

Talk to you soon,

Mark said...

Thanks Mich. Glad you're feeling better. Let's have lunch this week.

kateco said...

Ah a nice cool drink of news meeting ... it was 85 here today with Santa Anas. Anyway ... First Person on Hannah Montana, a follow of the M&M presidential Poll/Hillary dislike story and what Britney means to journalism -- M&M is kinda on fire, don'tcha think?