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Dennis Pillion
Birmingham, AL
Single Web journalist looking for personal outlets.
Interests: Blogs, Alabama football, conservation, travel, humor, politics, basketball, writing, social media, the unexpected, Bill Bryson, Casablanca, the South, Catholicism, banjo music, procrastination.
Recent Activity
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For 10 glorious days, restaurant-goers in one of the fattest states in America could give themselves a higher class of diabetes. Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2011 at DennisPillion.com
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How much can you really learn about a city in 14 hours? Not much, especially when at least half that time will be dedicated to curing jet lag after escaping a deadly tornado by only a couple of hours on our journey to Israel. Tel Aviv was the first stop on our Israeli adventure, and while it wasn't the highlight of our travel package, this Mediterranean beach town would not at all be a bad place to spend a weekend of R&R. "If I could stay in Tel Aviv full-time, I absolutely would," said a flight attendant on our flight... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2011 at DennisPillion.com
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Finding a job in the media is not as easy as it used to be, but it's not quite the Great Depression either. You probably won't get paid as much as you could in some other walks of life, but working in the media can provide you with a career full of excitement and satisfaction. If you're looking to get rich quick, or coast to a comfortable living, you might want to try other industries. Be the best you that you can be: Get experience any way you can - student media - freelancing - internships Track job ads and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2011 at DennisPillion.com
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Review my Presidents' Day Twitter posts honoring each of the 43 U.S. presidents. Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2011 at DennisPillion.com
I couldn't help but share this comment I got on one of my al.com posts today. I believe this story may have something to do with advertising revenue for the al.com site. ... It's possible that the more hits (including posted comments) this site gets the more attractive their pitch is to potential advertisers (like Blue Cross or Regions). I really believe that the original story and the follow up are an attempt to just generate hits to the site. ... tHEN YOU CAN PROMOTE YOURSELF TO ADVERTISERS AT A HIGHER PRICE. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A B'HAM NEWS... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2011 at DennisPillion.com
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So, I'm sitting at a table eating my lunch in the press box at the Georgia Dome when I'm joined by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports and Pete Thamel of The New York Times. They sit right across from me. A few minutes later, Clay Travis and Andy Staples join us. Without realizing it, I'm sitting with four of the big boys on the national scene who were breaking the Cam Newton scandal story. Of course, they all talked about Newton for a few minutes, swapping stories of who they've talked to and what they said, the crazy NCAA ruling... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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As I was doing my thing at the Auburn-Clemson game Saturday, I got a sneak peek at ESPN's 3D football-broadcasting operation. The 3D sideline cameras were quite an elaborate setup. The basic principle is that the camera has two lenses, which function more or less like human eyes, providing depth perception. I snapped a couple of quick photos of the operation during the game (sorry they're not great, but I did have a job to do). As you can see in the photo, the camera is a shoulder-mount, and it looks really uncomfortable. There are more wires running out of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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How do you respond when a co-worker tells you look "very un-slovenly today"? Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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In my own modest attempt to decrease my personal impact on the planet, I've taken to riding a bike to work instead of driving. I figured, hey Alabama's among the top-50 most bicycle-friendly U.S. states, so why not pedal my way to work every day? Like the city in which I live and work, there are a number of peaks and valleys associated with being a bicycle commuter. Here are but a few: Peaks: Exercise, yo - Since I work online, and work out about 1/10 as often as I post on Twitter, most of my time is spent hollowing... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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And I'm back, live from the Gulf Coast. My original plan for the first week of vacation was to take in a free Jimmy Buffett concert in Gulf Shores, spend some cool-down time along the coast with the parents before heading over to Louisiana to catch up with some college friends. Depending on how you look at it, I missed Buffett by either 24 or 48 hours. Buffett's originally-scheduled July 1 concert was canceled due to the impending impact of Hurricane Alex. Since my parents and I left Tuesday, June 29, for Panama City Beach, we decided to head through... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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Newsweek gag goes public to those who remember old-school video game cheat codes. Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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Barack Obama came out with his strongest public statements yet regarding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, venting on the Today Show that he was looking for an "ass to kick" over the spill. Well, here's a tip for you, Barry, free of charge. In your quest for hides that need a good tanning, start with a good, long look in the mirror. You are the one who spear-headed an expanded push for offshore drilling just weeks before the Deepwater Horizon blew up in your face. You took in more political contribution dollars from BP than any other candidate in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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It's been more than a month now since my first trip to the Gulf of Mexico to report on the Deepwater Horizon/BP/Transocean oil spill/leak/explosion/debacle. Covering this ongoing story has been the highlight of my journalistic career (eclipsing even a college football national championship game), yet it has only come as a result of a national tragedy, the scope of which is barely being realized. It was easy, even a pleasure to tell the story of people like Mike Reynolds, Alabama's Turtle Tsar. The Gulf Shores real estate broker has given countless hours of his time over the past six years... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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The Alabama Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (of which I am currently president) is pleased to announce a panel discussion on journalism ethics to be held Tuesday, April 13 at The Birmingham News. Organizing this panel was my first major effort as POTAPCOSPJ (President of the Alabama Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists), and the panel should be excellent if I do say so myself. The participants will be: John Archibald: Columnist for The Birmingham News, and he's on Twitter. Chris Pollone: Reporter for NBC13, WVTM Birmingham, who also Tweets. Tanya Ott: News director for... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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I was in Aldi the other day when I stumbled upon these modern marvels of engineering. That's right, folks, there is actually a company out there that manufactures and sells frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Really? Who's buying this stuff? Moms who would like to prepare food for their families, but are too busy to open two jars and a bag of bread? Wouldn't it take even longer to unfreeze one of these than to spread the condiments on two pieces of bread? Not to mention that you lose all semblance of creativity that goes along with making your... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
Just a shameless plug for the video story I did this past week. It was a pretty incredible find when I was hanging out with a camera at the Alabama wrestling championships and someone told me there was a wrestler competing with a prosthetic foot. Then, I got to interview Chase Newton, his coach and parents, and was even more blown away by the story. I'm embedding the two videos below and my original post is here. Watch them or we're no longer friends. Just kidding (kind of). High schooler wrestles after losing half his foot in motorcycle crash Full... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
Maybe the headline is a little over dramatic, but we're changing the way we do sports videos at al.com. I've been shooting and editing video there for two years now, but now we're focusing more on telling complete stories with our videos, as opposed to just showing game highlights or post-game interviews. For example, check out this UAB basketball video I shot earlier this week: UAB beats Tulsa 65-55 for first place in C-USA Yes, that overly nasal voice you hear in the background is mine. That's another change that's going to take some getting used to for me. I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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I'm sure many of you were as shocked as I was to read today that Birmingham's own snarky little news hound, Kyle Whitmire is "parting ways" with his employer of nine years, Birmingham Weekly. After all, the Weekly gave Whitmire the platform on which he conducted his weekly War on Dumb, and the feature was one of the paper's most popular columns. Whitmire was on the cover of B Metro Magazine just this month for his efforts, and while it's hardly like winning Time's Man of the Year, you would figure it to be a nice boost for a writer's... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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Here I was, all ready to blog about my recent trip to California, when I received the following email from my cousin Danielle: Many of you may not have known that I am very involved with Haiti. I was just there in November, and this disaster is awful. If you have not already given support, I urge you to support them through Haitian Ministries. Another parish in Hartford will match their donations up to $10,000. This doubles our support. http://www.haitianministries.org Haitian Ministries supports orphanages, hospitals and job creation. Jillian Thorpe is our liaison there, she was crushed in the mission... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
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I seem to have picked up a knack for starting years off on a high note. Or, more appropriately, the Alabama football team has managed to find itself in good places each January 1, and I happen to be along for the ride. I started 2009 in New Orleans' French Quarter, raising glasses with two of my best friends from college, watching a giant fleur de lis descend atop Jackson Square and wondering what the year would hold. I was there, of course, because the Crimson Tide was in town to play Utah in the 2009 AllState Sugar Bowl. That... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2010 at DennisPillion.com
Tailgating at the Magic City Classic Auburn Tiger Walk 2009: Gene Chizik's first Alabama football players visit Children's Hospital Alabama pep rally and Fan Fest in the French Quarter Alabama-Kentucky game highlights Alabama-Western Kentucky highlights http://videos.al.com/2008/03/stars_take_me_to_the_riot_live.html (bad vantage point) http://videos.al.com/2009/03/ben_kweller_sundress_live_at_w.html (good vantage point) http://videos.al.com/al/2008/11/election_2008_long_lines_as_po.html (digital cameras can do weird things) http://videos.al.com/2009/06/shark_and_ray_episode_3.html (recurring theme, humor, frame choice) http://videos.al.com/huntsville-times/2009/01/monster_trucks_at_vbc.html (recurring theme, humor) http://videos.al.com/al/2009/10/kid_critics_review_where_the_w.html (videos of kids are popular) http://videos.al.com/birmingham-news/2009/05/birmingham_police_beating_vide.html (viral success) http://videos.al.com/2009/11/i_fight_dragons_-_zelda_theme.html (surprise success) Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2009 at DennisPillion.com
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All has been quiet on the condo renovation front lately. That's mostly because I spent several weeks painting all of the walls, baseboards and ridiculous ornate trim that is literally all over this place. Having wood beams running all across your ceiling with detail from top to bottom is great, until you have to paint over an old oil-based high gloss paint everywhere. I painted after work. I painted on weekends. I blackmailed friends and family to help me paint. It wasn't pretty. Once I finally finished all that, I was ready to stop renovating for a while. That changes... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2009 at DennisPillion.com
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This is it. In less than 48 hours, I will be basking in the musical stylings of the most important (to me) band to come out of Richmond, Va. in this millenium. That's right, Carbon Leaf is coming back to Birmingham. Followers of this blog may have read about the last time I saw CL live, but read over it if you don't recall. Presumably, if you read this, you trust or value my opinion in some way. That said, I'm asking you to seriously think about investing $15 to see these guys live at the WorkPlay Theater in Birmingham... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2009 at DennisPillion.com
Checking in from the press box at Jordan-Hare Stadium where Auburn is taking on Ball State. Don't worry, this isn't about the game or anything. I just have to wonder if it bothers anyone else that Auburn puts the words up on its scoreboard to the national anthem, they shorten "through" to "THRU." This is my fourth straight week to cover the Auburn and it's bugged me every time. They have plenty of room on the long ribbon scoreboard to spell everything correctly, yet they choose to use text speak. Really? It's considered disrespectful for me to remain seated or... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2009 at DennisPillion.com
Dennis Pillion is now following michael ian black
Sep 15, 2009