A word from our sponsors

What if I paused in mid sentence to tout my favorite soft drink? Well, then I’d be joining the fast growing advertising trend of product placement — inserting the advertisement into the content. A Center for Media Research brief says:

“product placement spending surged 42.2% to $2.21 billion in 2005 with double-digit growth expected to continue in 2006 and beyond. Product placement spending in TV, film and other media is expected to climb another 38.8% to $3.07 billion in 2006.”

My favorite soft drink, by the way, is water, which Josh Wolf should be getting plenty of now that he has been ordered back to jail.

You may recall that Wolf was jailed for refusing to turn over his unpublished video of a protest he filmed as a freelance journalist and activist. They were sought by a federal grand jury. Then he was let out on bail and now he’s heading back to the slammer because ” the coercive intent behind the recalcitrant witness statute is lessened with each passing day.”

In an interview with the Democracy Now radio show Wolf apparently said that the subpeona sought not only his unpublished video of the underlying protest (I think a police car was destroyed and that somehow made this a federal case) but also his computer and his video camera — in other words all the stuff he used to make video. I say apparently because my wife heard the interview, not I. And I couldn’t find a transcript.

I did find this record of an interview in which David Carlson, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, explained why that group supports Wolf — who is activist and freelance journalist. In fact earlier versions of Wolf’s website noted that he was an anarchist. Now he lists his mailing address at federal prison in Dublin, CA, in case you’d like to write.

Appearing after Wolf on that same Democracy Now show was SF Chronicle journalist Lance Williams. He is a professional colleague (I work for the Chron when I’m not at home, as I am this week, trying to finish up some home repair projects before it rains) and I would like to think, a friend. Williams and another Chron reporter are in a similar federal grand jury subpeona mess flowing from their reporting on the baseball steroid scandal (search BALCO). Chronicle Executive Editor Phil Bronstein recently explained why the paper is resisting that subpeona as a critical court date occurs Thursday.

Meanwhile on the journalists-getting-federal-subpeonas front I’m following the somewhat similar case of Oakland resident Sarah Olson whose notes are being sought by the U.S. Army in connection with an interview of an officer who may face a courts-martial.

My interest in that case is personal. The story that put Olson in the Army’s bullseye originated in a feature-writing class that I taught about 14 months ago. (If I get subpeoned I’ll go back and check my records for precision).

And lest you think I was kidding with the product placement business, I’m starting a new class tonight through the UC Extension and there’s still time to enroll.

In view of the new-found federal interest in reporters’ notes, I might add some thoughts on how best to make you outtakes subpeopna-ready and how to fashion accessorize with orange prison jumpsuits.