White Noise: News from inside the media bubble

by the YES! staff

Royster Tucker Jr., RIP

Royster Tucker Jr,, 76, the man at the helm of North State Communications for the past five decades, died May 30 at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. The High Point native graduated from Duke University in 1953 with a degree in electrical engineering and went directly into the service as an officer in the civil engineering corps. He joined the company then known as North State Telephone Company when he returned to his hometown and served in various leadership positions for more than half a century. The company now offers cable and internet in addition to local phone service. Tucker also held prominent positions on the board of the NC Telecommunications Industry Association and the US Telecommunications Association. He received the state association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2003.

– AK

Philly illin’

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies holds their annual convention in Philadelphia this weekend, and YES! Weekly will be sending a team of six staffers to the event. We’re going for fellowship and camaraderie, to be sure, and also to eat our collective weight in cheesesteaks. And we’ll be lobbying for inclusion in that august body. Look next week for our recap on the blog and more than a few stories filed from the City of Brotherly Love

– BC

Crusading reporting

Triad media consumers might best know Jim DeRogatis as a co-host of National Public Radio’s “Sound Opinions,” which airs Saturdays from 4 to 5 p.m. on WUNC FM. DeRogatis’ main gig is writing about music for the Chicago Sun-Times. And in that role he crops up in a Chicago trial that is a big deal these days: the prosecution of R&B singer R. Kelly on child pornography charges. The rival Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday that DeRogatis was ordered to testify at the trial. The ruling reportedly said that Kelly’s lawyers have the right to question DeRogatis “about what he may have done with the VHS cassette between the time he received it and the moment he handed it over to the authorities.” One is left to wonder how DeRogatis acquired the tape; presumably he’s not going to betray his source. Also about his decision to turn the tape over to the authorities. No ethical reporter eagerly collaborates with the cops, but in this case the material was possible evidence of a crime. The story gets surreal when the Kelly defense team reportedly contended that the music critic – “who spent years chronicling the R&B superstar’s relationships with young women – has a personal vendetta against Kelly,” and may have manipulated the video in some fashion. To which Sun-Times lawyer Damon Dunn reportedly responded: “Whether or not Mr. DeRogatis harbored a bias against pedophilia is not important.” Touché.

– JG

Anatomy of a scandal

It went down like this: In their bid to grab a slice of Starbucks’ market share and further entrench Americans in a cycle of addiction to their brand of hot, smooth liquid speed, Dunkin’ Donuts sent out press releases, gave out free coffee and began a marketing campaign using spunky sprite Rachael Ray, known for her cooking/talk show, the acronym EVOO (that’s extra-virgin olive oil) and the strange spelling of her first name. She’s also got a stylist, who for the ad draped her in a kafiyeh, one of those Middle Eastern fringed shawl/scarves that all the hipster kids were wearing like two years ago. Conservative political groups, aided and abetted by scary-hot columnist Michelle Malkin, called for a boycott unless the ads were pulled because the scarf Ray wore is a terrorist scarf, kind of like how hummus is terrorist food. Dunkin’ Donuts pulls the ad. Then last week MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann gets into the act, naming Dunkin’ Donuts his “Worst Person in the World” and calling for a boycott of his own on the grounds that the doughnut maker is “as weak as their decaf.” My big beef with Dunkin’ Donuts? When they discontinued the actual “dunkin’ donut,” which was baked with a small node on the end to hold while dunking.

– BC