Wednesday, April 20, 2005

As it turned out, nothing was going on here

Just in case my brain was stuck on 'idle', I ducked out of the office for a little while yesterday to cover part of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano's visit to Flagstaff. She made three stops -- at a ribbon-cutting for a local wind energy business, the local Rotary Club's Tuesday lunch, and Lowell Observatory. Not exactly on a par with the papal election.

The last time I interviewed the Governor, she went directly from our interview to having emergency surgery. Apparently undaunted, her office called me no less than three times to publicize this less-than-newsworthy sounding trip. So I decided it'd be politically useful to at least show my face at one of the events. We don't really have trouble getting the Governor on the air, since we're equipped with a reporter based at the state capitol. But that fact never seems to connect with her press people, so on the off-chance we *need* to get her on the air at some point, I thought I'd see if there was any news to extract from Tuesday's trip.

I headed over to Lowell Observatory for two reasons -- they were actually savvy enough to send out a press release, and it was a five-minute drive. The Governor's hour at Lowell included sitting in with students from the Navajo Nation, as they learned how comets are formed. She also looked at the blink comparator, the apparatus Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto. And she checked out the Clark Telescope, which gave her an amazing view of the inside of the Clark Telescope Dome, inasmuch as it was 2:30 pm.

But, as a highly-trained journalism professional, I trailed along with her, even as the other reporters (reporter, actually) fell by the wayside. This allowed me to get the big scoop from Napolitano's visit -- she declared Lowell as one of "Arizona's Treasures", which basically means it's one of the places the Arizona tourism folks will try to convince Arizonans to visit this year.

Her point (or the point of whoever dreamed up the "Arizona's Treasures" campaign) is that a lot of people just moved here, and don't have any idea what to check out on their road trips, except possibly the Grand Canyon. (And if they'd bought postage stamps a few years ago, they might not even have known to visit the Grand Canyon.)

With gas prices averaging around $2.30 here, it's probably not bad practice to remind state residents that there's plenty to do around Arizona. But one also imagines the Governor wondering how her hour of astronomy lessons is likely to help her re-election campaign next year. I mean, we have plenty of astronomers in Arizona, but they don't really comprise what you'd call a voting bloc.

Anyway, this is what ended up on our airwaves. And Governor Napolitano stayed out of the hospital, so I guess things turned out okay.

1 comment:

Carol Davidson said...

Woohoo! You rock at taking nothing and making something out of it. Er, you know what I mean. Good piece!

And... it's not in Colorado?!?