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Smart Talk June 2 

You oughta be in pictures Embrace your inner auteur and start the coffee pot brewing: For the first time, Little Rock has been selected as one of 30 cities worldwide that will field teams for the 48 Hour Film Project. Now in its fifth year, the 48 Hour Film Project is exactly what it sounds like: Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, July 15, and ending at 7 p.m. Sunday, July 17, teams of Little Rock filmmakers will write, film, edit and mix a soundtrack for a four- to eight-minute film. Teams must also provide cameras, film, lights, locations and costumes. Just to make sure everybody plays by the rules, each team draws a genre for their film out of a hat 15 minutes before the competition begins, and must include an assigned prop, a line of dialogue and a character. Films completed in the allotted time will be shown at Market Street Cinema July 20-21. The makers of the film judged “Best of City” will receive a trophy and video editing software, and their movie will go on to represent Little Rock in the finals. If you want to see your name up in lights, you’d better hurry. There’s a $125 entry fee, and only 10 Little Rock teams will be allowed to register. All entry forms must be submitted by June 17. For a complete list of rules or to enter a team, visit www.48hourfilm.com. Now they get it The Arkansas Times wrote a cover story years ago on Arkansas’s limited recognition of the value of encouraging outdoor activities other than hunting and fishing. So we were tickled to read in the Democrat-Gazette this paragraph from coverage of a state Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission meeting. “ ‘Bird-watchers spend $40 billion a year in the United States in their quests to see various species of the feathered wildlife,’ [Parks and Tourism Director Richard] Davies said. ‘That’s twice as much what hunters spend each year,’ he said.” When Game and Fish commissioners start saying the same sort of thing, and show by their spending that they mean it, then we’ll be getting somewhere. Texas, by the way, learned this fact years ago and has invested major sums in encouraging bird watchers and others who like to simply observe wildlife, not kill it. DoG of war Readers of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette might have noticed something odd in a paragraph buried in a recent Business Section story: a sentence identifying the out-of-state parent company of The Morning News of Springdale, a service the D-G normally doesn’t typically provide for other newspapers mentioned in its articles. In a May 21 story about rumors of the possible departure of Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott, D-G reporter Christopher Leonard wrote: “The Morning News printed a story featuring the rumors, including the explanation that books had been removed from Scott’s office. That newspaper is owned by Las Vegas-based Stephens Media, Inc.” This description makes a little more sense when you remember that a regional edition of the D-G is locked in a newspaper war with The Morning News. It was reminiscent of the Little Rock newspaper war, when carpetbaggerizing was a common news column tactic in the Arkansas Democrat. The Democrat, which won the war and absorbed the Arkansas Gazette, made sport of the Arkansas Gazette’s final years of ownership by Virginia-based Gannett. D-G deputy editor Frank Fellone said that to his knowledge, the paper has no policy, rule or style on how reporters should reference the parent corporation of The Morning News. Asked why the location of the parent company of The Morning News warrants inclusion when that of no other newspaper apparently does, Fellone said: “Every reporter writes a story a little differently. Every reporter adds or doesn’t add facts. That’s the nature of reporting. You leave some stuff out, you put some stuff in.” Next time, the reporter might want to add that Stephens Media of Las Vegas is owned by Arkies, specifically the folks named Stephens with that big skyscraper on Center Street. It’s off-message, but more accurate. Or maybe The Morning News could fire back and say the Democrat-Gazette is part of a media empire partially owned by a Texan (publisher Walter Hussman’s sister).
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