RIP Veteran Newscaster Lou Miliano

A shock tonight to hear of the passing of veteran CBS newscaster Lou Miliano.  Facebook is good and bad that way.  It keeps you connected even in sadness.

My connection with Lou goes back to my days at WCBS AM.  Lou was the station’s stellar correspondent.  We became fast friends without meeting face to face for the longest time.  He was always in the field and I was always in a tape studio ready to take his feeds.  I was awed by his insight and talent.  He could mix sound in the field and do what we in the news biz called a ROSR (reporter on scene) bringing radio listeners to the scene with his words.  I never had to do his mixing for him.  He was a wham, bam, thank you ‘mam reporter. Down and dirty and onto the next, without missing a detail, a soundbite, a newsmaker.

He was also one of the coolest guys in the biz.  You just wanted to hang with him.  How could you not? Intelligent and he rode a motorcycle.  A smart guy in a leather jacket.

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His official obit will list all of the stories he covered all over the world and all the awards he deservedly won.  What they won’t list is the support he gave to his friends and I am glad to have been among them.  Long after we both left the radio news biz, he retired and I went to law school, we found common ground in our love of all things Italian.

When I moved there for a brief while, Lou was one of the few people who stayed in touch, writing to me in Italian but letting me know I had a friend at home.  When I started my travel company, Lou even had me plot out his future move to Sorrento.  When I was writing my first book, Amalfi Blue,Lou was the first fellow journalist to get behind me all the way.

Facebook kept us connected.  I didn’t even know his battle with cancer had reared its head so recently because it seems like just the other day he was messaging me about something Italian.

He was a true rockstar among journalists but I will miss him more as a friend than as a colleague.  It was a true privilege to have been both.

I am sure Lou is on the back of a bike, hugging every curve of the Amalfi Drive, coming at you in three-two-one.  Abbracci dear friend.

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Did a hashtag kill print journalism?

It’s Christmas Eve and I wake to discover the big story this morning is Newsweek’s use of a hashtag to signal it’s last print cover.  Really? Is this what real journalism has turned into? And the world wonders why the print edition of Newsweek has come to an end?

Newsweek Hashtag last print cover

For years, print journalists marked the end of their stories with -30- or another dingbat to signal to copy boys and editors that the story was finished.  Sometimes this was marked with a symbol now known in the Twitterverse as a “hashtag.”

I think Tina Brown should be applauded not sneered at for her realistic and brave cover.  She not only realizes that social media has killed true journalism, but she recognizes it and is embracing her new electronic reality.

The hashtag, as used on Newsweek, signals a farewell to the great tradition of print journalism, when real news with vetted sources made a difference.  It says hello to the brave new world we live in now where news is discovered in tweets, real journalists quote their tweeps and the masses don’t seem to care.  Oh, give me the days for my old Royal typewriter.

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Remembering a news giant, Mike Wallace dead at 93

When you’re away from home, it’s hard to explain to your foreign friends in their native language just what an influence someone had been in your life. I sit here now in Italy and just learned that one of the new giants, Mike Wallace, is gone…..to join his other newsies in heaven.

As a kid, I watched “60 Minutes” every Sunday night. It was where we Americans got our first true taste of investigatuve journalism in the broadcast medium. I was bitten, smitten and overall hell-bent on joining that inner circle of newsmen, now women, who got to delve into the underbelly of everything from cigarettes causing cancer to Fidel Castro’s suffocating hold on Cuba. This was an adrenalin rush unlike any other and Mike Wallace lived on the edge with Morley, Don, Uncle Walt and Andy.

With typewriter and microphone in hand at age two, it was my destiny….I would make it to Black Rock. Just to be in the same building with these news icons would be satisfaction enough…..but to actually have them speak to you, well, ecstasy.

Today, we are left with press release journalists who cower to the powers thst be for risk of losing their well-paid jobs. Yesterday’s heroes are gone. Today we are left with tabloid journalism programs who sensationalize celebrity autopsies as if a metabolic post-mortem blood report is just as important and Pulitzer-worthy as the work done by these giants.

Rest in Peace, Mike, they don’t make them like you anymore.