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Hal's Lounge Celebrates 4th Birthday May 13, 2005
We've been around for almost four years and we're proud to be celebrating our 4th birthday here at

As I'm sure you've noticed, we've made some big changes to our appearance at We've changed our colors, our navigation system, our general appearance, but not our goals. Those goals include offering a site with easy access to a large number of news related resources that can help the professional as well as the aspiring broadcaster. I'd like to thank our webmaster Jocelyne Rohrback who, since the beginning of this site, has done a terrific job of keeping it fresh and coming up with great ideas for making it work better. will soon be celebrating it's 4th anniversary. For me, and I hope for you, this is an early anniversary present! Enjoy!

Hal Eisner

January 12, 2003

Over the years one thing has become very clear to me about getting into this business -- IT AIN'T EASY! And, on top of that, there doesn't seem to be just one way to do it. Oh sure, everyone will tell you that you have to go to a small market and work your way up. That's true. But, unless your from a smaller community, a lot of people worry about life in the small market. For some there's a culture shock especially if they come from a big place like New York, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas or whatever, but that's just the beginning...there's the new job -- the stress of proving yourself, of learning the politics of a newsroom and beginning to fulfill that dream of being in the biz.

With that in mind, it struck me that there's really no place to go to read articles about what life is like in smaller markets from those who are living that life. So, I figured, is the place for such a thing. Californians Kathleen Mitts from KMIR in Palm Desert, Daniela Lopez & Karen Todd from KERO in Bakersfield and Natalie Tejeda from KYMA in Yuma, Arizona have agreed to get the ball rolling and contribute to this regular series of articles. I'd like to invite any of you working "on camera," behind it or "behind the scenes" to join in. You can send your articles and a photo (jpg) of yourself to or just send me a note to the same address if you have any questions.

Now, I invite you to take a moment and share the thoughts of Reporter Kathleen Mitts on LIFE IN THE SMALL MARKET!

Remembering 9-11
September 8th, 2002

This week we've prepared a special edition of this website. As broadcasters September 11th affected us in many ways. In this week's edition you'll find as many ways as you'll find contributors from across the country. My thanks to those who shared their thoughts.

August 5th, 2002


I had hoped to have more for you this week on prices for APTRA's first ever
statewide holiday party, but, I'm still working out some of the details.
Specifically, I'm working on gathering information about lodging and
Universal Theme Park tickets for those of you going to the Southern
California party who want to make a weekend of it. So, please forgive me,
I'll have an article for you on that and party pricing next week. In the
meantime if you haven't read about the party.....please do!


July 15th, 2002

If you're not familiar with it, APTRA Academy -- a one of a kind boot camp for aspiring broadcasters -- might be your ticket! The Academy brings together anchors, reporters, photographers, editors, news directors, producers, writers, graphic artists and so on from Los Angeles and other markets. This year there are over  dozen pros who will serve as mentors for a limited number of students -- aspiring anchors and reporters in both radio and TV! At the camp, held at Pepperdine University's Cottontail Ranch in Malibu, California. The pros simulate a major news story like a wildfire or an earthquake.

It's enhanced by actors portraying victims and real Public Information Officers from LA Area Fire and Police Departments holding fake news conferences. By the end of the 2 day hands-on workshop students walk away with tapes of their work. It's totally non-profit! For $300 not only do you get to rub elbows with the pros, but your meals and cabin lodging are also included. it really is a one-of-a-kind event. Registration is now underway. There are still some spaces left. Ever since it's inception, graphic artist Nancy LeMay has graciously created new logos for APTRA Academy. She's done it EVERY YEAR! This year is no exception. This week -- Nancy unveils THE NEW LOOK! Thanks Nancy! If you're interested in APTRA Academy or knows someone who might be there's lots of information on this site and

On the homepage of this site under EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS you can link to registration materials and a list of the over dozens of pros serving as mentors this year. Go to the tool bar on the upper right of the homepage, click HAL'S PROJECTS and you'll find links that will take you to stories and pictures from past APTRA Academy workshops. You'll even find a 20 minute documentary from the first APTRA Academy in 2000. The dates for this year's Academy are October 5th and 6th. If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a note at

July 2002

This week we're starting something new! Quyen Chung is a student at Cal State Fullerton, interns at KTTV in Los Angeles, reports on Cable Channel 3 in Garden Grove and now is the host of her own new feature here on called "Q" THE VIDEO. Occasionally she'll have her own reports. For instance, she'll have one next week from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on the 54th Annual Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards. Sometimes she'll have cool stories from pros around the country. Most of the time, though, "Q" THE VIDEO will be a showcase for aspiring broadcasters; college students sharing stories they've produced for their university TV shows. Ever since starting this site, I've thought how great it would be to have such place for students to show their stuff. Thanks to Quyen -- it's happening!

May 13, 2002

Last Friday turned one year old! For me, that's a pretty big

Since our launch May 10th, 2001 we've had over 15,000 unique visitors. Our
tracker shows that besides nationwide hits from dot-coms, nets, orgs, edus,
government and military sites, we've also gotten visits from people in the
United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Australia, Italy, Israel, France,
Japan, Austria, Singapore, the Netherlands, Argentina, Switzerland, the
Dominican Republic, South Africa, Sweden and Pakistan. It's been a great
first year and I have lots of people to thank!

First and foremost, thanks to my webmaster Jocelyne Rohrback! From the very
beginning, her design concepts and creativity have been a driving force
behind this site. She's the best!

I want to thank all of those who have contributed articles and information to
the site over the past year. It's a huge list of people so, please forgive me
for not mentioning each one individually but, I do want to acknowledge those
who have contributed more than once like Rachel Ambrose, Bruce Brodoff, Tony
Buttitta, Renee Groese, Nancy LeMay, Phil Shuman, Michael Wilk, Jonathan
Evans, Steve Parker, Veronica Villafane, Natalie Tejeda, Michael Murrie and
Jim Holcomb.

I very much appreciate the efforts of Tom Mackel, who helped us with our
initial webserver needs, and is still a good friend and big help. Jacqueline
Dispoto, whose still very supportive, was a big help early on in developing
strategies. Gary Brainard, who helped with some of our photographic needs,
has been another very supportive friend. My thanks to PRNewswire for building
the first microsite of it's kind on providing a terrific press
release resource.

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Jon Beaupré, Michael Bennett, Susan Geary, Rebecca
Coates Nee, Lance Orozco and Mat Tombers for their weekly columns and
dedication to writing about things to help and inform all of us in this
business and those who want to be a part of it!

From the very first edition of this website, in which KCBS-TV's Kent Shoknek
wrote about "Things that bug me" and the LAPD's Sgt. John Pasquariello talked
about the need for the police and press to get along, to this week's edition
-- continues to be a great adventure!



I first met Susan Geary in Littleton, Colorado three years ago this past Saturday -- April 20th, 1999 -- the day I was sent to cover the Columbine shootings. As a regional manager for CONUS, she was there helping to coordinate satellite feeds -- on that story a tricky job at best! We ended up working together because my station, KCOP, was a CONUS station at the time. Since then Susan has made a remarkable career change moving into the area of resume preparation and is particularly savvy with news people because of her news background. Susan has agreed to come on board as a weekly columnist and we're really glad to have her. Not only will she be giving tips on everything from resume preparation to such things as cover letters and job interviews, she also be glad to answer your questions whether you're an aspiring broadcaster or a veteran trying to organize your many career experiences onto a single sheet of paper! So, join me in welcoming Susan Geary and feel free to write her with specific questions or article ideas you'd like to see her explore. Her contact information will be at the end of her column each week.

March 25th, 2002

The idea behind our REPORTERS TOOLBOX is to organize as many links as possible that will help each and every one of us in the News Biz with our research. We think PR Newswire will do just that. Say you're working on a story about Enron, Mariah Carey, or Chandra Levy, you're likely to find a press release in PRN on those subjects and thousands more. Say you just want to catch up on the latest in Television Duopolies or what's happening in, for instance, the Entertainment, Film, Technology or Travel fields -- there are more press releases than you could possibly begin to read. I hope this is a helpful tool for all of us. Feel free to let me know what you think of PRN's new microsite on
Click here for the latest from PRNewswire

APTRA Academy on the horizon
March 11th, 2002

I want to thank all of those who are volunteering their time to be mentors at the 2002 APTRA Academy October 5th and 6th in Malibu. They are giving of themselves so those who want to be broadcasters can learn from people who do this stuff for a living every day! My hat is off to each and every one of them!!! They are PROS! Meanwhile, each week we'll update the MENTORS LIST. There will be additions and, in some cases where those who have committed suddenly have a conflict, there will also be deletions. So, check the list regularly to see what is clearly THE "A" TEAM!!! And, don't forget registration for the Academy is NOW OPEN!

Your Best Shots
January 7th, 2002

Last year we introduced a pretty neat page on this site called YOUR BEST SHOTS. The idea is pretty simple really. A lot of you carry still cameras around with you. If you happen to snap a great shot, share it with us. In 2001, we got some pretty good ones from several photogs in LA. Take a look and you'll see what I mean. In 2002, it would be fun to see that page expand. They don't necessarily have to be pictures you've shot at the scene of a story, although as you'll see from the ones currently posted, those are pretty interesting. Just email a JPEG of your photo. Tell us who you are, what you do, what city you're in and write up a little caption to go along with YOUR BEST SHOTS!

Happy Anniversary to US!
November 26th, 2001

As all of us celebrated Thanksgiving last Thursday, there was another reason to celebrate. It was the 6 month anniversary of this website. We kicked it off back on May 22nd and since then have had over 7000 unique hits and visits from people in countries all over the globe. We've been recognized by Yahoo/Google and other search engines. We are linked on scores of terrific sites. We've won several significant design & content awards. So, for me, this Thanksgiving I had reason for a different kind of thanks. Thanks to all of the people who have appeared on this site and continue to contribute terrific articles each week! Thanks to our regular weekly contributors Jon Beaupré, Michael Bennett, Rebecca Coates Nee and Lance Orozco for taking time out of their lives every 7 days to share some of their knowledge with the rest of us! Special thanks to my webmaster Jocelyne Rohrback for her terrific work on And, thanks to all of you for taking a moment each week to check us out!

APTRA Academy gets the Quaky-Shaky House
September 10th, 2001

Kids around LA know it as "Yogi Bear's House," but to me it's the quaky shaky house. That's because it's designed to do just that -- quake and shake! The house, which operates on hydraulics, is designed to help teach young people what to do during an earthquake. Here and now, I want to say thanks to the LA County Fire Department. They will be bringing the house out to Cottontail Ranch for this year's APTRA Academy so student-reporters will be able to do standups in it as it simulates a quake. After all this year's mock story is an earthquake and "Yogi Bear's House" will go a long way to helping make this year's academy "better than the average bear!"

The News about THE NEWS
September 3rd, 2001

This website has exceeded my expectations. Thanks to my webmaster Jocelyne Rohrback it has a stunning look that continues to evolve. Thanks to it's contributors it has really interesting content. Thanks to all of you that stop by we have a terrific readership. I wanted to draw your attention to our news links. Having a website with massive news linkage was part of the original concept and if you begin to explore our links you'll see what we mean. From newspapers to surf reports it really is a great resource when working on news stories or just looking to catch up. Our links will take you to newspapers from Redlands, Ca. to Boston, Mass. Our World and Foreign Affairs links will get you to publications from France to Africa. Through our surf links you can connect to live webcams at some of the world's great surfing spots. NEWS, ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC, SPORTS, HEALTH, EDUCATION, GOVERNMENT, WEATHER, TRAFFIC and that's just the beginning. The site is also filled with JOB, RESUME, SCHOLARSHIP links and more. You can get a grip on the website by going to our site map, but as you begin to explore it's really extensive linkage start with THE NEWS. Whether it's television network sites, Drudge or sites with news about the world of Technology you'll find it all well organized and easy to access on this site. Also, check out our SITE SEARCH on the homepage. Put in what you want to find and if it's anywhere on the site it'll come up. If you have suggestions for sites you'd like to see here. Drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you.

Ron Fineman on Ron Fineman
July 23rd, 2001

Ask people what they think of Ron Fineman and you'll get lots of different answers. Many of those he's targeted on his website aren't always very complimentary, but that doesn't keep some of them from checking in to see what Fineman has to say in his tri-weekly updates on

I've known Ron as a street reporter for KNX for quite sometime. We've been on many stories together. As a critic I've been on both sides of his fairly sharp pen. He's complimented me. He's condemned me. But, I'm one of those who likes seeing what he has to say hoping that, if he says something about me, he spells my name right.

What Ron may or may not know is that newspeople are always talking about his sometimes controversial remarks. So, who is he? What's his background? How has that shaped his opinions? What makes him think he's qualified to comment on people who have worked years to get to the second largest television market in the nation? I asked Ron to take a moment and reflect on those and other questions. He was glad to do it and I hope you'll find his reflections as interesting as I did.
Read Ron's article here.

Special Thanks to Mari-Anne Cooper
July 9th, 2001

They don't get much cooler than Mari-Anne Cooper! She's the lady who runs the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and saves people like me from myself. For 5 years now we've all been the lucky beneficiaries of Mari-Anne's hard work making sure the theatre is in tip top shape, the ushers are in place, the programs are ready, those bars outside are where they're supposed to be, that everything is as it should be when you walk in the door Emmy night. From the time we load into the theater on Friday till the time we wrap Saturday night we can always count on Mari-Anne. She really ought to get an Emmy!

June 18th, 2001
Imagine, you're camping just outside Zion National Park. It's a picture perfect Utah night. It's so clear. Look up! You can see zillions of stars. The moon is high. The air is crisp. The smell? Campfire smoke -- hot dogs -- s'mores.

You're 4 days into that long awaited vacation and all you can hear is the rushing water of the Virgin River as it bends around your rivers-edge campsite. That's right! Get ready to hear about my summer vacation or, at least, a part of it.

It's just after 11pm, Tuesday night. The family's all nicely tucked away in the new 3 room tent. The kids are all wrapped up in sleeping bags like little burritos! The night's so remarkable. For me, it's hard to sleep.

An idea! I wonder if there's a local radio station playing a little music? Maybe talking about local activities? I could recline the driver's seat, open the moon roof, listen & relax to a little Utah chatter. What a better way to spend a Tuesday night!

Far away from the stress of election night coverage back in LA. Who'll be the next mayor? The next City Attorney? It's the kind of thing newspeople struggle with every vacation. That feeling -- 'am I missing something?' Somehow at the nearby general store there will be a rack with USA TODAY.

When I get back, I'll check in and see if I missed anything big. I know if an earthquake hits my neighbors will call. They have my pager and cell phone numbers. I know if something just horrible happens word will get around the campgrounds. If it's bad enough my boss will probably page me and tell me I have to cancel the rest of my trip and get home ASAP.

Too much thinking! Time to get into the van and mellow out under the Utah moonlight. A flick of the wrist, a slight turn of the key, a push of a button and the roof glides open. On the left side of the seat another button -- the seat reclines. Ahhhhhhh this will be great! Hundreds of miles away from Los Angeles! It's time to turn on the radio. Time for those gentle sounds I've been waiting for, but what do I get 3 states away from California? That's right!

"KFWB Newstime is 11:17 and here's the latest on the mayor's race!"

Thanks goes around
May 28th, 2001

I started this site for several reasons and thought a few people might take a look at it, but I have been overwhelmed by the response. In the first two weeks nearly1000 UNIQUE hits and an award! That's right an award! Intrinsic Media Technologies has honored us with their Magical Web Award. It's an honor we proudly display on our home page because it recognizes excellence in design and content, which is why I need to say "thanks" Intrinsic Media Technologies and "way to go Jocelyne!" Jocelyne Rohrback-Ovalle is my webmaster. While I deal with content and the big picture, Jocelyne deals with content & design and has she ever put together a beauty of a website!

I have gotten so many emails from across the country commenting on the site's slick look and the wealth of resources. Again, thanks Jocelyne for your commitment to this project! I also have to thank a number of others.

First of all, my hat's off to all of those contributing to this site from the FROM THE FIELD op-ed writers to Lance Orozco for making this site part of his life every week! Thanks to Ron Fineman. Ron was the first to mention on his news critique site The number of referrals has been stunning. Ron, you have lots of readers and thanks for letting me share a few.

Thanks to my good friend Sandy Gordon from Chicago. She was the first person to see this site after it was unveiled. She was so excited she sent out a chain email telling all of her friends to check it out! Thanks Sandy! BTW, I think everyone should send out a chain email telling all of their friends to check out!

My thanks to Don Fitzpatrick. I emailed Don to see if it would be okay to mention the new site in his popular Shoptalk newsletter. Don's response was "what would you like it to say?" Don, thanks for you support!

Another big supporter Jacqueline Dispoto in Las Vegas. Jacqueline, a Public Relations Specialist when it comes to websites, has been a rock! Thank You JQ! Launching a website like this one can be a monumental task, but when your working with people like Jocelyne and getting support from others like Ron, Don and Jacqueline-- it's much easier and more meaningful! Most of all, though, my thanks to all of you for your kind comments in the guestbook, emails and general show of support

Our Launch
May 10th, 2001

For a long time, like so many others, I've wanted to dabble in a little technobabble. Building a website sounded intriguing, but I didn't know what I could create that might be a useful and worthwhile stop along the super highway.

Then, it dawned on me. A virtual press club! A place where we could go to hear from our friends and colleagues, to learn more about what's happening in our business, to give hope, inspiration and guidance to those who want to be in the biz and a site with lots of news links for those who simply want to keep up with what's going on in the world.

You see, for all of us news matters! Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to participate. I'm just an email away at or you can sign our guestbook