Jeff Pegues, Justice and Homeland Security correspondent for CBS, was pressed into service as a bachelorette party photographer Saturday while returning to Minneapolis for NABJ40.
That’s the National Association of Black Journalists, whose hotel HQ was the Minneapolis Hilton. That’s where I ran into Pegues as he walked into the lobby while I was talking to former USA Today sportswriter Chuck Johnson, now the media guy for Detroit Public Schools. (Johnson and I were debating what story we worked on when I was a cub reporter, fresh out of graduate school, working for a Michigan newspaper. If the undercover piece had won the Pulitzer, we’d both remember.)
Johnson lost my focus when Pegues walked in because I couldn’t wait to tell Jeff something nice I’d just heard about the former reporter for what is now Fox 9. Shortly thereafter, I lost Pegues’ attention after a member of a bachelorette party scanned the bustling lobby and decided, of all the people there, to ask Pegues if he would snap a photo.
“Jeff Pegues, now taking photographs,” he jokes on my startribune.com/video.
I asked the bachelorette party celebrants if they recognized this famous guy taking their photos. They did not.
Pegues thanked me for something I wrote about him before he left town: “Almost 20 years ago, [you] predicted big things for me, you fortuneteller.” I should’ve been a TV news director because I know talent. But coddling the egos of broadcasters whose Twitter handle includes their name and “TV” — not even their employer’s call letters just “TV” — must get tiresome.
Any NABJers who balked at Prince’s rules for the Paisley Park visit and actually skipped the $20 bus ride to Chanhassen had to feel pretty good about that decision.
I did my best to tamp down expectations. Many of them could not imagine being invited to Paisley Park and Prince not being there on stage, guitar in hand. They can now, even though nothing of the sort was ever promised. While the wildly unpredictable Prince spoke to a small group of journalists about the state of the music business, the rest of them got to see Prince when he came on stage to hype his next album.
At least Symbolina didn’t say Have a nice ride back to Minneapolis, chumps!
An NABJer who would not disclose his name or employer could not believe so many of his colleagues eagerly acquiesced to Prince’s ground rules.
“Prince is not my daddy,” said the man I’m calling Philly Media Guy. “You can’t tell me no drinking, can’t bring my phones, get in his car and ride. No. And all the rest of the journalists who are doing it should be questioning [themselves. How are you going to go] without a phone? Something happens, without a phone you can’t even get Uber ’cause you don’t have your phone. No, no, no.”
I don’t know if Philly Media Guy followed through, but he talked about driving there and smuggling in his phone.
Twitter’s very disappointed @Margospann of Los Angeles responded to me by tweeting: “YES there was NO promise of a concert OR appearance. But actions coupled with words mean everything in our biz. I feel like we were led to believe something epic was coming; we adjusted the time of our signature event during our 40th anniv.”
Spann, have you ever heard of Prince? His bad behavior is excused because he’s a musical genius. So what if he’s not very respectful of fans or the media. He’s the kind of sensitive icon who intentionally threw and broke a cherished, BORROWED guitar. You think he cares about your time?
All Prince had to do to guarantee less disappointment was bill the NABJ visit as an opportunity to see Paisley Park and say he didn’t expect to be there.
Be that as it may, if you are an NABJer who left Paisley Park still feeling all warm and fuzzy about Prince, repeat after me: My name is _____, and I’m just another fan in an emotionally disrespectful relationship with Prince.
Getting a kick out of a line
When my boy, “PTI’s” Mike Wilbon — one of Prince’s chosen journalists — asked if I was going to Paisley I told him no, I’ve already been kicked out of there once. “That’s the line of the night,” laughed Wilbon. I reminisced about that night in my NABJ video while chatting with former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton. Apologies for the video’s audio problems and some editing glitches I did not have with the previous iMovie; I do believe I have a defective computer that runs hot too quickly, Tim Cook.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.