Dave Hargrove Reporter/Anchor
One of the greatest collaborations between M.D. and information technology director Mark Derrick was "the Grape", short for Grapevine. WAAY-TV was always a leader in the use of computing technology for business and "the Grape" would later be commonly called a bulletin board or chat room. This was in the 80's when you had to have a federal security clearance to know anything about what would become the Internet.
Disgruntled employees could log in to the Grape (at the time we thought confidentially) and type out whatever happened to be angering or irritating us at the moment. Whether we were complaining about management, an incompetent director, a poorly charted camera, a change in the benefit plan or a hideous outfit worn on camera by a reporter (I think some of my ties made some postings)- it would make it to the Grape.
To M.D.'s credit, he only intervened when postings started to get nasty and hurtful. I recall some positive change taking place - I believe as a result of some of these comments. I know I bought more ties.
(From editor, M.D. Smith - Yes, the Grape saved the writing on the bathroom walls (and much subsequent repainting) and I felt gave people an outlet for frustration, anger or whatever. I was requested to end "The Grape" long before it actually came to an end. There was always going to be grapevine and gossip, so allowing it out was one way to prevent pressure buildups. Also, Mark Derreck and I could go in and edit out anything that popped up that was "cruel or ugly" and simply not something to stay on the page. There were even some very funny poems and stories that appeared on the grape. I still have a few of them in my archives today. It was a good and valid experiment and like most good things, a few "pissants" killed it.)
|© 2003 Smith Broadcasting, Inc. [update 6-26-2003]