Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Gonzo Lawmakers - An Appreciation

I've always watched "Lawmakers", but in years past, it was only background noise.

As with many things in my little world, what began as a lark led to a journey of thousands of words. One of the underrated aspects of the new media landscape is the rabbit-hole exploration of things we may have previously taken for granted.

Deconstructing Georgia Public Broadcasting's "Lawmakers" nightly taught this old dog he knew far less about the legislature, journalism and television production than he would ever admit.

One very important thing I learned is most of them are interns. Outside of David Zelski, Nwandi Lawson and Valarie Edwards, everyone you saw or read about nightly are interns. In other words, indentured servants. They are all still attending or fresh out of college and for 40 days, they gave up cheap beer at Moe's & Joes and spring trips to Destin to hone their craft through the unforgiving glare of live television.

And this year, they also had to deal with the ravings of a wild-eyed blogger whose favorite past time seemed to be repeatedly screeching one of their names.

For the record, I think Minoo is a lovely name which is probably the reason it kept bubbling to the top of my consciousness.

With all this madness, the "kids", as I repeatedly called them, consistently pulled off informative and even entertaining reporting on possibly the driest beat of their burgeoning careers. I expect many big things from you young'uns in the future. (And that includes Andrea Hummel-Shelton who worked behind the scenes. As a former technician myself, you have a special place in my heart.)

And a special thanks to "secret squirrel". You'll never know my pet critter's name but the missives I received in the dead of the night gave me a whirlwind education on the perils of live tv - particularly the always strapped-for-funds-glue-screw-tattoo wild world of public tv. I certainly hope I continue to hear chirps in my inbox.

Finally, I've held off on a particular rumor for weeks. Like every other aspect of our life these days, Georgia Public Broadcasting is struggling in the current economic climate. Budget concerns inevitably leads to talk of cutbacks and in the television industry, whispers of cancellation. I have no evidence Lawmakers is on the table but I also have no reason to believe it's not on the table. Only a blind fool would believe it's a guarantee the venerable show will celebrate its 40th year next January.

For a moment, put aside your philosophical and political views on the overall need for government run television. We should all ponder the question that if public broadcasting won't take a mere 30 minutes nightly to show us how our government works, then exactly what is the purpose of the people's television?

I certainly hope to see my friends next January. And I hope in a small way Gonzo Lawmakers made them your friends too. And I hope you tell a neighbor about these friends. And for 40 nights, next year, all us friends will gather round about supper time to witness the latest shenanigans stirred up by the Gold Dome scoundrels.

Until then, that's a wrap.


Rusty said...

Nice work on this series, and yes, thanks to the folks who put the show together. I'm sure it seems a thankless task sometimes, so thanks.

Blackjackk said...

Sniff sniff - you seem to be tearin' up pretty easily these days. Must be the old age gettin' to ya.

Grayson: Atlanta, GA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grayson: Atlanta, GA said...

Unlike other women folk in my family, I never seem to have a hankie when I need one. This mouse pad's a little rough. Sniff.

Garrett said...

Great work on this series, Grift.