M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘arizona

Life on general assignment

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In the new world at NBC News, I’m now doing general assignment after many years covering various beats. That yields a certain variety to one’s work week.

At 1 o’clock this morning, I was hunched over a spreadsheet calculating word-frequency counts for President Obama’s State of the Union address. Ten hours later, I was writing this:

One of the busiest interstates in the U.S. remained closed Wednesday, hours after a semi-trailer transporting French vanilla coffee creamer overturned in Phoenix, coating more than 150 feet of the highway with a white slick of delicious-smelling traffic hazard.

You never know what life on GA will bring next.

Grab your coffee mug: French vanilla creamer closes busy Arizona interstate (NBC News)

Written by Alex

February 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Shepard Smith apologizes for the wrong thing

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Shepard Smith apologizes (YouTube via TPM)

Watch the full apology (YouTube via TPM)

After Fox News broadcast a man’s shooting himself in the head near Salome, Ariz., after a hundred-mile car chase Friday, anchor Shepard Smith abjectly apologized to his viewers:

“Sometimes, we see a lot of things that we don’t let get to you, because it’s not time appropriate, it’s insensitive, it’s just wrong. And that was wrong. And that won’t happen again on my watch. And I’m sorry.”

Hats off to Smith for the apology, which was richly merited — but not for the reason he gave.

What Fox viewers should have heard was an apology for the network’s having devoted any time at all to a local police chase involving some random guy whom nobody besides his friends and family have heard of.

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Written by Alex

September 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Police Blotter of the Day: Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

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Andri Jeffers via Yavapai County Sheriff's Office

Andri Jeffers (via Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)

News release from the Yavapai County, Ariz., Sheriff’s Office:

On November 23, 2011, at approximately 6:15 PM, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a reported robbery at the Chevron Station in the 2700 block of Highway 69, Dewey-Humboldt. The Chevron employee stated that a female entered the mini-mart with her right hand concealed under her sweater, claiming she had a bomb, and demanding cash from the register. The clerk explained the store was closing and the register was empty. The suspect threatened to blow up the clerk if he did not comply. She then walked behind the counter, grabbed a bag, and demanded the clerk place cash in the bag. The clerk refused to cooperate and the suspect eventually fled the store.

The clerk was able to obtain a license plate number from the suspect’s dark colored Chrysler Pacifica vehicle as it fled north on Highway 69 toward Prescott Valley.

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Written by Alex

November 30, 2011 at 10:15 am

Police Blotter of the Day: This is how to pose for a mug shot

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Police mug via thesmokinggun.com

Meet Michelle Watson.

The 24-year-old motorist had an eventful Thursday evening, according to cops in Prescott, Arizona.

(According to the charges, Watson was driving intoxicated, hit several curbs, cursed one officer, shoved another and kneed one in the groin.)

Despite all this, Watson was beaming and flashing two thumbs up when she posed for the above booking photo at the Yavapai County Jail (her blood alcohol content was measured at nearly three times the legal limit).

Full story (The Smoking Gun)

Written by Alex

November 21, 2011 at 10:40 am

Development of a story idea: Rooting for the home team? There’s a PAC for that

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Over at msnbc.com, where I hang my professional hat, I have a piece today examining the intersection of big-time sports and political activism in Washington:

If you’re among the many Americans who believe lobbyists are part of what’s wrong with this country, you should know this: If you’ve ever gone to a football, baseball, basketball or hockey game — or even watched one on TV — you have your own special interest groups pushing your agenda in Washington.

Even Ralph Nader is working for you. …

Leaders of the groups push a number of different agendas — fighting soaring ticket prices, league lockouts and television-rights deals that black out some fans, among others — but they come together on one issue: what they see as the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s exploitation of athletes and fans for profit.

Many believe the answer is to scrap the Bowl Championship Series, which purports to pit the two best college football teams in the country for the national championship, even though its postseason matchups are determined by pollsters and computers, not by on-the-field competition.

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Written by Alex

October 28, 2011 at 9:44 am

Police Blotter of the Day: Police urge holster use after man shoots his own penis

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An Arizona man accidentally shot himself in the groin with his girlfriend’s pink handgun. Willie Geist has the gory details.“In the wake the accident, police are warning armed residents to use holsters, not waistbands.

“The movies and TV shows, like Sons of Anarchy, that show tough guys with guns shoved into their jeans are not realistic, Chandler Police Detective Seth Tyler said Sunday.

“The cops and robbers of the silver screen most likely use rubber weapons, which weigh far less than the real things, Tyler said.”

Full story (Arizona Republic) | video (msnbc.com)

Written by Alex

August 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

States seek to copy Arizona immigration law

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This co-production was reported with Vanessa Hauc of Telemundo and cross-posted from msnbc.com. Read the original in context, with a state-by-state box.

Arizona’s hot-button immigration law is on hold, pending court appeals, but its effects are rippling across the country as state legislatures reconfigured by the November elections begin their new sessions.

The disputed Arizona law would allow law enforcement officers to demand proof of legal immigration status from anyone they stop.
In July, a U.S. district judge granted the Obama administration’s request for an injunction blocking parts of the trailblazing law, which raised many legal questions, including whether local officials can legally enforce federal immigration law and whether such local enforcement could lead to unconstitutional racial profiling.

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Written by Alex

February 3, 2011 at 10:10 am

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