Guess who’s shilling for the TSA

Land of Smile/Shutterstock
Land of Smile/Shutterstock

Wanna insult a reporter? There’s no easier way than accusing him or her of being a shill for the other side, of churning out propaganda instead of covering a subject.

And that’s especially true when it comes to the TSA.

But consider the following “exclusive” story from a local ABC affiliate, which aired a few weeks ago.

It was an earnest report about the imminent dangers of a terrorist weapon being detonated on a plane. Explosives “experts” at Camp Pendleton in California rigged shoes and laptop computers and blew them up in front of a group of TSA trainees. They even let a reporter incinerate one of the props from a safe distance.
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Here are the reporting resources you’ll need to become a successful travel blogger

Editor’s note: This is part three of my series on becoming a successful travel blogger. Here’s the first one and the second one.

OK, you have your topic and some of the basic tools.

Now it’s time to find the content for your soon-to-be incredibly successful travel blog.

But before that, let’s get one thing out of the way: This is not journalism. I think it helps, in some ways, to have no formal training as a journalist.
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Why are travel agents so defensive about one bad apple? Here’s a clue …

ishot-5I had to wonder what was wrong after numerous travel agents posted furious responses to today’s story about an agent that acted in an apparently unethical manner. Why were they being so defensive of a colleague who probably ought to be looking for another line of work?

The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, as presented in the American Society of Travel Agents’ 2008 outlook (PDF) offers an explanation: Travel agents are headed toward extinction. Their numbers have shrunk from 111,130 a decade ago to 85,580 in 2007, the last year for which numbers are available. What’s more, the government projects that the number of agents will remain flat through the middle of the next decade.

No wonder they’re upset. But they’re in good company.
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