Dave is at home in Gainesville, resting.
His term ended at 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006.
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Friday, April 28, 2006

April 28: Seattle, Wash.
The annual meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors is one of our industry's most interesting gatherings. It is most often held in Washington, DC, but every other year, it moves elsewhere around the nation. Many of journalism's brightest luminaries attend, and it is a privilege to represent SPJ here.

Among those I've noticed in the past two days are Seymour Topping, retired New York Times editor; Al Neuharth, former Gannett CEO; Arthur Sulzburger, Jr., publisher of the New York Times; John Temple, editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News; Jerry Ceppos, retired vice president of Knight Ridder; William Dean Singleton of Media News Corp.; Gary Pruitt, CEO of McClatchy; Ken Paulson, editor of USA Today; Charlotte Hall, editor of the Orlando Sentinel; Jennifer Sizemore, editor of MSNBC on the Web, and many more. One of my personal heroes, Adrian Holovaty, resident geek at the Washington Post Web site, also is here.

Tomorrow, the luncheon speaker is Bill Gates. Last year, it was George W. Bush.

Tonight, one of my predecessors as SPJ president, Reggie Stuart, was honored by the National Association of Minority Media Executives. He made a rousing speech suggesting that each of the editors in the audience had once gotten a job for which they were not qualified -- and each of them needs to pay that back by hiring someone just like they were, unqualified but ready for the challenge.

The photo is from Yasmin A. Aboytes, a student photographer for the ASNE Reporter.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Indiana capitol at night.

April 22: Indianapolis, Ind.
Tonight, I was honored to attend a dinner with Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, sponsor of the Free Flow of Information Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. I found him a thoughtful and committed man, and I offered any assistance SPJ can provide in helping pass this legislation, which would help shield journalists from testifying in federal court.

The dinner was sponsored by the National Freedom of Information Coalition and organized by Kyle Niederpruem, one of my predecessors as SPJ president. Also at my table were two University of Florida journalism grads, Chuck Tobin of Holland & Knight in Washington and Pam Fine, managing editor of the Indianapolis Star. Pam and Chuck are shown in the photo doing the "Gator Chomp."

I made it to Indianapolis courtesy of my old pal Mac McKerral, another past president of SPJ. He gave me a ride from Western Kentucky University to Indy for the weekend's SPJ and SDX board meetings. We arrived shortly after 1 p.m., and I spent the afternoon meeting with Terry Harper and the SPJ Finance Committee over the fiscal 2007 budget.

Tomorrow (Saturday), is an all-day meeting of the 23-member SPJ board of directors and Sunday is a meeting of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation board. Hopefully, I'll be home again Sunday night.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

April 20: Bowling Green, Ky
It seems that my luck has run out with the airlines.

Today, I was supposed to have a 7 p.m. flight to Atlanta and then on to Nashville by 10 p.m. Central time. No such luck.

Atlanta's Heartsfield International had a "security breach" on Wednesday afternoon that shut the airport down for 2 hours. My flight had a "maintenance issue" to boot, so I left GNV at 9:45 p.m. Then, we sat on the tarmack at ATL for a good 30 minutes waiting for a gate. When I got inside the terminal, I figured making my Nashville flight was a lost cause.

It turned out it had been delayed as much as my incoming flight. I walked on the plane as they closed the door. We got to Nashville at 11:30 p.m. CST, and amazingly, my bag made it, too. I caught a shuttle to Bowling Green. I made it to my hotel room at 1:30 a.m. (2:30 Gainesville time) and caught 5 1/2 hours of sleep before today's appearance at Western Kentucky University. The photo was shot by WKU student photographer Josh Armstrong. That's me on the right.

Let's hope the trip home goes better...

Monday, April 17, 2006

April 16: Baltimore, Md.
It is supposed to be a simple, overnight trip to Washington, D.C., to participate in my great nephew's christening (I'm the godfather).

Jeanne and I fly up to BWI on Saturday morning and are set to fly back Sunday evening. All goes as planned until we arrive at BWI at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday and try to use the automated check-in kiosk. It says we have no reservations. I go to the counter and the agent starts checking. He gets a very strange look on his face and says, "The Gainesville airport is closed. All it says is that there is some kind of emergency. All flights are canceled."

He sends us over to a bank of phones, direct lines to Delta reservations. They tell us a private plane has crashed into the terminal at GNV and the airport is closed until Monday. We've been rebooked for a 7:30 a.m. flight Monday out of BWI.

Since BWI is quite a way from anything, I ask them to go ahead and fly us to Atlanta Sunday night. They comply with reservations on a 6:30 p.m. flight arriving at ATL at 8:30.

Then, we stop in a BWI airport bar to make some phone calls and rearrange our Monday schedules. We call the Gainesville Sun where Jeanne works and find out a twin-engine plane crashed into the baggage-claim area and killed all three people aboard. There was no Wi-Fi Internet in the terminal, so we also got on the horn and made a reservation at an airport Best Western in Atlanta, then caught the 6:30 p.m. flight.

As it stands now, GNV is to reopen this afternoon, and we might make it home by 4:30 p.m.

Postscript, 9:45 p.m. Monday, April 17:
We did make it home at about 5:30 p.m. after spending four hours in the Atlanta airport and enduring a one-hour "maintenance issue" in Atlanta. We arrived at GNV to find a huge chunk of wall between the arrivals area and what used to be baggage claim plugged with wall board over two by fours. The place smelled of smoke, the carpets were soaked, and electric fans were everywhere trying to extricate the smell and the moisture. Baggage "claim" was a couple of carts parked on the curb in front of the airport.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

April 7: Athens, Ga.
Today finds me at the SPJ Region 3 conference at the University of Georgia Continuing Education Center in Athens. It's a beautiful facility.

Wife Jeanne and I drove up from Gainesville yesterday, from the home of the Florida Gators to the home of an arch rival in the SEC, the Georgia Bulldogs. On the way, the air conditioning in the car began to act up, so we decided to stop at a roadside mechanic shop on our way into Athens.

We walked in to find the place decked out -- floor to ceiling -- in red and black, all the way to the University of Georgia wallpaper and a wall full of photos of the Bulldog mascots, Uga I, II, III and IV. We were relieved that it was the wife's car we were driving. It has no University of Florida insignia on it; my car does. School spirit runs high in this part of the South, so it might have made a difference in whether they would be willing to check things out at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon. The news was bad, and not because we are Gators: We can limp home, but we're going to need a new AC system.

Fortunately, the news from the conference is better than the news about the car: Great educational sessions attended by more than 60 students and professionals from around the Southeast. The Mark of Excellence Awards were handed out at lunch, and the University of Florida again won the most awards. We got 30; Alabama was second with 18 and Georgia was third with 12.

More good news is that Sunday is supposed to be cool, so we'll limp home to get the AC fixed.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

April 4: Home again
Bummer! Every flight I've had so far this year has been within 15 minutes of an "on-time" arrival -- until last night.

Here it is the day the Florida Gators are playing in the national championship game of the NCAA basketball tournament. I'm supposed to get in to GNV at 8 p.m., in plenty of time for a 9:20 p.m. TV tipoff. Nope. Atlanta Heartsfield International had a power outage on Concourse D. That delayed my flight -- and all the other flights -- for hours. I got to GNV at 10:45. My bag didn't make it, though, taking more precious minutes. In the end, I saw the last 2:35 of the game.

But it came out right -- the Gators won.

Monday, April 03, 2006

April 3: Columbia, S.C.
I am at the University of South Carolina (Google map) today to appear at a luncheon sponsored by the student chapter of SPJ and the School of Journalism. After lunch, there will be a discussion about journalistic integrity as part of USC's annual ICOMM week.

It's been quite a week of travel. I flew to Columbia on Sunday from Pasco, Wash., where I attended the Region 10 SPJ conference in nearby Kennewick. It was a great event with more than 120 in attendance.

Tonight, if all goes as planned, I get to sleep in my own bed. I should get home just in time to watch the Florida Gators play in the national championship game. Then, it's on the road again Friday, this time to Athens, Ga., for the Region 3 SPJ conference.