Media Watch

Desperate Times

The latest development in Tucson's moribund film production community is an act of Desperation.

That's the title of a Stephen King ABC/Disney miniseries to be shot in Tucson and Bisbee. The cameras are rolling in Bisbee right about now, shooting exteriors for this tale of a haunted mining town. In December, crews will move to Tucson to shoot interiors on sets built in the Tucson Convention Center.

Shelli Hall, director of the Tucson Film Office, claims the production means an infusion of $6 million into the local Arizona economy, counting wages for local workers, construction materials, hotel rooms, transportation and meals. That's a whole lotta Bill Clinton specials at Mi Nidito.

Bleating Sheep

Steve Hahn, music director of KUAT Radio, recently sent a letter (unpublished, at this writing) to the Arizona Daily Star complaining, "One would think that filmmaker/gadfly Michael Moore's first name was 'Controversial' given its universal application by the sheep-like local media, both print and broadcast. What does that appellation connote? Does it mean some people do not agree with his views or that his films generate vigorous debate? Then why did professional liar Dick Cheney not deserve that same description on his recent visit? ... My theory is that the cowardly local press has to put Moore's 'credibility' in quotation marks in order to pre-emptively dodge accusations of liberal bias."

Adds Hahn in a note to me, "I find myself objecting more and more to the routine labeling of newsmakers, both right and left, in order to discount their views."

Incidentally, when the Star announced that Moore's counterpart on the right, Ann Coulter, would speak to the UA College Republicans, reporter Tom Beal described her simply as "conservative columnist/author/lawyer Ann Coulter," even though she's no less "controversial" and extreme than Moore.


State press club awards and regional Emmys are highly touted by the winners, but locals collect plenty of low-profile honors, too. Here are a few that have been announced in the past couple of weeks.

For the fifth time in the past nine years, the City of Tucson's cable Channel 12 has been named Station of the Year by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, which is a group of municipal agency officials who produce broadcast, cable, multimedia and electronic programming. Channel 12 garnered 19 awards in all.

Sometime Tucson Weekly contributor Lee Allen has been named Outdoor Writer of the Year by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. Allen is author of the Southern Arizona Fishing Guide and publisher of the Guide to Arizona's Waterways. Allen spent 40 years in the electronic media in Tucson, and during that career also garnered Tucson Press Club honors as Tucson Radio Reporter of the Year.

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