Wednesday, October 27, 2010

POLITICAL NEWS: SC House candidate Mia Butler earns endorsement of popular Midlands educator

Mia Butler
With six days remaining in the 2010 campaign season, Mia Butler, the Democratic nominee for the South Carolina House of Representatives District 79 seat, has received the endorsement of Dr. Stephen Hefner, former superintendent of Richland Two Schools.  The Butler campaign announced the endorsement in an email message sent out on Wednesday morning.

“Mia understands that when we keep public funds in our public schools, every child will have an opportunity to excel," said Hefner in the statement.  "I strongly support Mia Butler for House District 79 because I’ve worked with her on issues that are critical to our district. She’s always been a fierce advocate for public education and I know she’ll continue to help strengthen our public education system to ensure that our schools remain among the best in the state.”

Dr. Stephen Hefner
Hefner spent 35 years in the Richland Two school district including 16 years as superintendent.  He retired from the district in June and later agreed to become interim superintendent of Lexington-Richland 5 schools beginning on January 1, 2011.

"Mia Butler is proud to have the endorsement of one of our state’s strongest champions for public education," said campaign spokesman Zach Croft.

Butler faces Republican nominee Sheri Few in the general election next Tuesday.  The winner will take the seat vacated by former Rep. Anton Gunn when he accepted appointment by President Barack Obama to the position of regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Remembering the Orangeburg Massacre: "Taking a Stand" gets national exposure

"Taking a Stand" performed at the University of South Carolina.
Photo Credit: Mary Ann Chastain for The New York Times

One of the final stories that I produced and reported at WACH FOX News was about the production of "Taking a Stand: The Orangeburg Massacre" at South Carolina State University.  Written and directed by Calhoun Cornwell, the play debuted at SCSU last February featuring a cast of students, alumni and community members including then-South Carolina State senior Zachary Delano Middleton, the great nephew of slain Orangeburg Massacre victim Delano Middleton.

In February, Cornwell told me his goal was tour the country with "Taking a Stand."  That dream is coming true with the first stop in Columbia a week ago and The New York Times published a story about the play, giving it national exposure.

Congratulations to Calhoun Cornwell, Zachary Middleton and the entire cast & crew of "Taking a Stand." The Woolfolk Group hopes this is the beginning of great things to come in the ongoing effort to make sure America never forgets the Orangeburg Massacre.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The firing of Juan Williams: Right or Wrong?

National Public Radio's decision to fire Juan Williams earlier this week has sparked just as much debate as his actual comments on FOX News Channel that started the controversy.  Some people feel NPR was wrong to dismiss Williams. Others think the move is justified and, in some cases, overdue.

I make no bones about it-- I am not a fan of FOX News Channel's prime time programming.  I don't care for the bombastic, one-sided slant of the hosts.  By the same token, I don't watch MSNBC's prime time lineup often, either.  That said, I think focusing on Juan Williams' single comment about Muslims is unfair without considering the full context of the conversation he was involved in with host Bill O'Reilly and fellow guest Mary Katharine Ham.

If you ask me, Juan Williams made a clear and concerted attempt to make sure everyone understood that what he was about to say was not rooted in bigotry, but in typical fashion, everyone seems to be focused only on the one sentence. That's not fair to Williams.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I think the fact that Williams admits getting nervous because he sees someone who identifies himself "first and foremost as a Muslim" by the way they dress is a bit ignorant.  But, the real issue deals with Williams' objectivity moving forward. His bosses at NPR felt Williams had compromised that important quality.

One big problem I see in discussion of this issue is the use of the term "journalist." Just about anyone can be a journalist by simply documenting events. If you write in a daily diary, you are-- in effect-- a journalist because you are documenting your daily activities or thoughts.

Juan Williams
Juan Williams has been a journalist for many years, writing several books on the civil rights movement and politics. But, the issues at play here-- in my mind-- are the differences between reporters, commentators and pundits which can all fall under the journalist umbrella.

If Juan Williams is considered a reporter-- someone who covers daily news assignments-- he was in the wrong to reveal a biased opinion on a prominent news issue. Objectivity is imperative in reporting if the public is to believe that an issue is being presented for them to interpret, not the reporter.

If Juan Williams is considered a commentator-- someone who offers perspective based on expert knowledge-- I would still think he was wrong for what he said. Think back to the 1980's when Howard Cosell and Jimmy the Greek each created controversy with on-air comments about African American athletes.   Cosell did not return to ABC's Monday Night Football the following season (1984) and CBS fired Jimmy the Greek (1988) almost immediately.

If Juan Williams is considered a pundit-- someone who offers his/her opinion on issues-- I believe he did nothing wrong. As previously stated, I don't agree with what he said, but-- if considered a pundit-- he was not wrong to express his opinion. Being "politically incorrect" does not necessarily make someone or something wrong.

The bottom line is this-- It has become very difficult for readers, viewers and listeners to keep things straight when one person splits his/her professional allegiance between so many outlets.  I understand and embrace the fact that a person should be able to own and market his/her own thoughts.  But, when expressing those thoughts through the open media, I don't think it's too much to ask for some consistency.  Don't pass your self off as an objective reporter on television, then write a pointed opinion piece in a publication, followed by a point-counter-point debate on radio. (Just a hypothetical example.) Be one thing or the other. Then everyone, including employers, know exactly where you stand and can make decisions accordingly.

What do you think?  Chime-In!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A new Starbucks "Brew-ha-ha"

Starbucks logos through the years.
I woke up this morning to find that a friend had posted something interesting on my Facebook page.  Something in the news that I had missed yesterday-- Starbucks to test serving beer and wine at select stores in Seattle.

Then, I went to my favorite business news site-- and saw that thePower Lunch crew had done a segment on this during yesterday's show.

Hmmm. At times, I love a beer or two, even the occasional glass of wine. But I don't go to a coffee house for either.  I agree with Laura Reis on this one.  Starbucks should stick to what it does best-- COFFEE.  I do understand the business mentality of "how can we grown and bring in new money," and it's no secret that Starbucks has been looking for ways to increase revenue after 2pm-- don't you love the invitation to return with your morning receipt to get any drink you want for $2 bucks?-- but serving alcohol is not the way for Starbucks!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

TWG client goes national with the help of Good Enough Mother!

Mothers across the country are paying attention to what Columbia author Karen R. Jenkins has to say!  Rene Syler, national television personality and owner of the website "Good Enough Mother," invited Karen to be a guest blogger and offer her Top 10 Financial Tips to Teach Kids.  Karen jumped at the opportunity.

Karen R. Jenkins
Jenkins, who just released her new book "Nobody Told Me! The Path to Financial Empowerment," is an experienced banker, financial coach and the mother of two teenagers.  Her tips are smart, savvy and super timely as people everywhere work to weather the down economy.  "Everyone needs to know how to navigate the money maze to reach financial freedom," said Jenkins.  "My mission is to make the rules well known and easy to understand."

The overall theme of the guest post on is to start teaching children about money matters at an early age and progressively increase their knowledge, understanding and responsibility as they grow to adulthood.

Rene Syler
"We were so happy to learn about Karen and what she could offer our readers on this subject," said Syler who is based in New York City.

Jenkins qualifies as a Good Enough Mother herself, balancing her family life-- which includes her husband; a daughter playing high school basketball and volleyball; and a son playing middle school basketball and serving on student council-- with her busy schedule speaking, writing and promoting her book.  

"We are always looking for other Good Enough Mothers who can help us help others understand that perfection isn't necessary to take care of your family," said Syler.  "It's all about responsible practicality."

For more information about Karen R. Jenkins and her book, "Nobody Told Me! The Path to Financial Freedom," visit

For more information about Rene Syler and her website, visit  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moving On: Courage or Cowardice?

Meredith Vieira interviews former President Bill Clinton in 2006.
Photo Credit: NBC News

I saw a headline on the Huffington Post website about NBC Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira that caught my attention-- Meredith Vieira: "I'm Not Afraid To Go" From The "Today" Show.

Photo Credit: NBC News
Vieira's contract with NBC expires next year and there is already speculation that she will leave the top-rated morning news program.  That speculation seems to come from an interview she granted Ladies' Home Journal last November in which she said, "I'll know when it's time to go, and I'm not afraid to go."

While many people might think that once a television journalist or personality reaches a pinnacle position, like the one Vieira has, they want to hold on to it for as long as possible, no matter what. That is not always the case.

The story reminds me of a scene in Star Wars: Episode III where Chancellor Palpatine shares with a vulnerable and conflicted Anakin Skywalker that "all who gain power are afraid to lose it."  There is a certain amount of power and prestige, not to mention fame and fortune, that come from anchoring a news program, especially a top-rated program like Today.  Clearly, all of those things don't intoxicate Vieira.

Two SC State Representatives named to TIME Magazine's "40 Under 40" list

The Woolfolk Group congratulates State Representatives Bakari Sellers (D-Orangeburg/Bamberg) and Nikki Haley (R-Lexington) on their selection to TIME Magazine's "40 Under 40 Rising Stars of U. S. Politics" list,  published in the latest issue of TIME which hit newsstands today.  The list is also available online.

Rep. Bakari Sellers
(D) Bamberg
"This truly is an awesome honor and it would not have been possible without my family, friends, and the great people of District 90," said Sellers.  "Here in South Carolina, we've had more than our fair share of negative attention lately.  Being recognized for something positive is a nice change of pace."

Sellers, 26, is the second youngest member of the South Carolina General Assembly,  First elected in 2006 at the age of 22, Sellers also serves as First Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party.  A graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Sellers is the son of civil rights activist Dr. Cleveland Sellers, who serves as president of Voorhees College.

Rep. Nikki Haley
(R) Lexington
Haley, 38, is the 2010 Republican nominee for South Carolina governor.   She is a fiscal conservative who was first elected to the General Assembly in 2004. In TIME Magazine, Haley cited former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as her political inspiration.

Haley faces Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) in the November election for governor.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reebok loses NFL apparel rights to Nike

The National Football League has announced a new sports apparel rights deal and like most things associated with the NFL, it's big news.  Staring in April 2012, current exclusive rights holder Reebok is out, punted away in favor of a better deal from rival Nike.

NFL owners, meeting in Chicago, voted Tuesday to award the Swoosh a five-year contract to produce on-field team uniforms, sideline personnel apparel and fan gear. Numbers aren't circulating, but in 2001, Reebok agreed to pay $300 million over ten years and, according to a Citigroup analyst,  generates about $350 million in annual revenue for the company.  I'm not very good with business math but that appears to be an 1166% return on investment.  The marketing power of the NFL.

Think about it.  The NFL makes the major networks sweat bullets when it comes time to renew television rights.  And, the NFL is the most valuable exclusive offering DirecTV has for customers.  Of all the professional sports subscription packages, NFL Sunday Ticket is the only one that can only be purchased through the satellite service provider.  DirecTV paid $700 million a year to maintain the exclusive contract through the 2014-15 season.  The marketing power of the NFL.  Kind of makes you wonder why Reebok let their deal slip away.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Is it really the media's fault?

Photo Credit: Cincinnati Bengals/

I just watched an interview with Cincinnati Bengals wide out Terrell Owens on the NFL Network’s Game Day Morning show. Part One of the interview dealt with the Randy Moss trade from New England to Minnesota and the issue of wide receivers and why they are disrespected in the league.  The question, alone, made me say, “huh?!?!” but then, I had to remind myself that in the minds of these athletes, respect is measured by the number of zeros behind a number on their contracts.

So, when Michael Irvin, the NFL Hall of Fame former wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, who conducted the interview, ask Owens how quarterbacks can get new contracts but their star receivers can’t, Owens declined to “walk down that road” in the interview.

CNN's New Odd Couple

Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer
Photo Credit: Art Streiber/CNN

Have you checked out CNN's new prime time offering, "Parker-Spitzer?"  The program wrapped up its first week on Friday night and already, some question how long the show will last.

For those of you who don't know, "Parker" is Kathleen Parker, the conservative Washington Post columnist; "Spitzer" is Eliot Spitzer, the liberal disgraced former governor of New York.

I watched half of the debut show last Monday, and was less than impressed.  Not so much because I think they don't have personalities-- they do.  But, they didn't appear to have mastery the TelePrompter, their crosstalk was often awkward and I didn't like the small table they sit at, almost on top of each other.  I also wasn't very interested in what they were discussing. Here are the "Opening Arguments" from Monday's show.

Friday, October 8, 2010

THE SCOOP: WOLO to welcome new co-anchor next week

When ABC Columbia viewers tune in for Monday night's newscasts, they will be greeted by a new face.  Chime In has learned that Eric Weisfeld is the new co-anchor at WOLO-TV replacing Daniel Seamans.  Weisfeld will join Alicia Barnes on the 6pm and 11pm newscasts.

Eric Weisfeld
According to a resume, posted on the Collective Talent website, Weisfeld is an award-winning anchor and reporter with 16 years of experience.  He last worked at WBBH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Fort Myers, Florida, where he was the morning anchor from 2007-2009.  Weisfeld has also worked at television stations in Indianapolis, IN; Raleigh, NC; Evansville, IN; and Hopkinsville, KY.

Here is a sample of what viewers can expect.

TWG clients participate in Richland One "Reading Rocks" event

"Straight to the Heart"
by Brandi S. Cummings
Authors Brandi Cummings and Karen R. Jenkins will participate in the Reading Rocks Our Imaginations event at W. G. Sanders Middle School on Saturday, October 9 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.   The event kicks off Richland One’s district-wide focus on literacy and will feature reading presentations, book signings, celebrity appearances and more.  

Brandi Cummings, a broadcast journalist and author of the book “Straight to the Heart: Life & Love” will emcee the event and discuss her book.  “Straight to the Heart” is a collection of original poetry for girls and young women dealing with issues including self-esteem, self-identity, heartbreak and love.

"Nobody Told Me!"
by Karen S. Jenkins
Karen R. Jenkins, a certified mortgage banker and housing counselor, will discuss her new book, “Nobody Told Me! The Path to Financial Empowerment,” with parents.  “Nobody Told Me!” outlines a simple to follow plan to help young families find their way to personal prosperity.  The book also provides parents with information to help them educate their children about personal money management.

The Woolfolk Group is proud to represent Brandi and Karen.  Both authors will have books available for purchase and signing.  W. G. Sanders Middle School is located at 3455 Pinebelt Road (the former Keenan High School)  in Columbia.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Constant changes cause some Columbia viewers to question stability of local news operations

When I posted Otis Taylor's breaking news message about the latest front-line talent change at a Columbia television station, one of my Facebook "friends" commented, "ouch, not very stable lately…"  That's not a good commentary coming from a viewer and television stations should take note.

While those of us who have made our livings in television news would like to think we are irreplaceable, it just isn't true.  Change is often difficult, scary and sometimes unnecessary.  Despite those things, change is almost always inevitable.  Change can be tough to accept, for everyone involved, but eventually things stabilize again.

THE SCOOP: WIS hires new meteorologist; Ken Aucoin to leave station, again.

John Farley

I got a tweet from reporter Otis Taylor at The State with some news that I found a bit surprising:

otisatthestate: The @wis10 new chief meteorologist is John Farley who is coming from a station that covered San Francisco and San Jose. First day Oct. 27  (From: Twitter)

Otis confirmed to me that he sent the Tweet and said his story on the new hire would appear in the newspaper next week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

State Farm and First Citizens to sponsor "Nobody Told Me" book release event

Author Karen R. Jenkins will celebrate the official release of her book, “Nobody Told Me! The Path to Financial Empowerment,” on Thursday, October 14, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina.  The event, sponsored in part by State Farm First Citizens, will take place at the new Houston’s Low Country Grill restaurant on North Main Street.  The public is invited to meet the author and participate in a discussion about the importance personal financial discipline and paving a path to prosperity.

For more information and to order books, visit

What:             “Nobody Told Me!” Official Release Reception
When:            October 14, 2010
Where:           Houston’s Low Country Grill
                        North Main Plaza
                        3800 N. Main Street
                        Columbia, SC
Time:              6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Author trio aims to change conventional mindset about manhood

Authors (l-r) Michael Holoman,
O. Gerard Droze and Jabari Price
What does it take to truly be considered a man and how do young males learn it? Two questions with answers that vary depending on whom you ask.  In their debut book, “The Makings of a Man,” authors Jabari Price, Michael Holoman and O. Gerard Droze explore manhood and offer their perspectives on how to achieve it from three distinct points of view.

“Not every young man is lucky enough to have a handful of positive male role models to fashion themselves after,” said Jabari Price.  “But, I believe every young man is influenced, in some way, by the males around them regardless of whether those role models are positive or not.”  Price was raised, by his father, in a single-parent household.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Woolfolk to emcee Harvest Hope fundraiser

Harvest Hope Food Bank will host it's annual Empty Bowls fundraising event tonight at the Medallion Center on Garners Ferry Road.  The event includes dinner, a silent auction and live auction.  Mungo Homes is the presenting sponsor.  Former Columbia news anchor Mike Woolfolk will serve as emcee.  Michael Moore of The Auction Group, LLC will conduct the live auction featuring works donated by various artists, companies and organizations.

Woolfolk, who spent ten years as the primary anchor of the annual "Share Your Holiday" food drives, has also emceed past Empty Bowls and Red Basket Luncheon events for Harvest Hope. 

Empty Bowls presented by Mungo Homes begins at 6:00 PM.