Friday, November 10, 2006

Newroom Operations

For all you non-journalists out there, here's a graphical representation of how newsrooms really work (compared to how editors think they work).

You journalists are already familiar with this model of operation. It's funny because it's true.

By the way, Romenesko is a media blog referenced in the chart -- and it's also where I found the link. Circular, huh?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Aftermath

By now everyone knows about the Dems routing the GOP in Tuesday's elections. An unforeseen consequence of the power-shift: because Texas lost a bunch of long-serving Democratic congresscritters after the Tom DeLay-inspired gerrymandering, in the Democratically controlled House of Representatives, the Lone Star State will come up short when the D's hand out the committee chairs in January. Thanks, Tom!

Closer to home, a Republican candidate pulled an upset in the perennially Democratic Rio Grande Valley: GOP challenger Carlos Cascos ousted incumbent Cameron County Judge Gilberto Hinojosa. Perhaps it's karmic payback for how Hinojosa gave away Isla Blanca Park to fat-cat developers.

Also locally -- and unsurprisingly -- a computer glitch screwed up the vote count in Hidalgo County, according to the Associated Press:

The county's top election official discovered the mistake when early voting results in House District 28 put long-shot Constitution Party candidate Ron Avery ahead of popular Democratic incumbent Henry Cuellar by almost 2,000 votes with roughly 2,200 tabulated. ...

Election Systems and Software, which employs the programmer, provides voting equipment to 145 of the 254 counties in Texas, according to the secretary of state.

No word on electronic voting problems anywhere else in the state.

For another RGV blogger's take on Tuesday's turn of events, check out Rico Politico's election wrapup over at Rio Grande Valley Politics.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Baptist Church Fraud

The investigation into mishandling of startup money for Baptist churches in the Rio Grande Valley reveals that more than $1.3 million in donations was misused to create churches that existed only on paper:

The 2.5 million-member denomination missed numerous red flags -- including an FBI probe -- that should have prompted an internal investigation earlier, the report showed.
Furthermore, officials with the Baptist General Convention of Texas ignored warnings from other pastors:

Investigators noted BGCT leaders failed to investigate thoroughly charges of impropriety, even though some staff knew about irregularities in the church-starting program in the Valley.

Even an FBI investigation in 2000-2001 regarding allegations of fraud failed to prompt a serious internal investigation, the report noted. Investigators said they determined the FBI terminated the investigation because the BGCT—as the injured party—did not pursue the complaint.

The investigative team, including Brownsville lawyer Diane Dillard, offers some suggestions to prevent financial abuse in the future. Last, but not least, they suggest "trust but verify." If anyone wants more details, the complete report is available online.

The Valley: where corruption flourishes among every faith.