Episode 88, with guests Bob Wheelock of AJE – Al Jazeera English and George Gigicos of Telion Corp.

Bob Wheelock and George Gigicos are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: February 3, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
Polioptics airs regularly on POTUS on Saturdays at 6 am, 12 noon and 6 pm.
Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics
Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above.
Show also available for download on Apple iTunes by clicking here 

Our guests this week Bob Wheelock, executive producer of news gathering at Al Jazeera English, on the changes ahead for the network following its acquisition of Current TV. And George Gigicos, founder and president of Telion Corp., on his work spanning decades as a GOP advance man.


If you’re a fan of this show, I hope you’ll leave us a note and a like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/PoliOptics.  It is one of my great joys in doing this show with Josh King, that I’m able to introduce all of you to the most amazing visual communications professionals I know.  Friends all, they have mentored me, managed me, and propelled me forward in my career here in Washington D.C.

Our first guest, Bob Wheelock, is currently the Executive Producer for  Newsgathering at Al Jazeera English.

Bob Wheelock in the control and on the air at ABC News .

What that means is, Bob is the big boss and at the helm of one of the most technologically advanced, well-funded, and growing news gathering organizations on the planet. Niice.

Bob also happens to be the guy that gave me my big break in TV News.  He was “that guy” for so many people. He still is today and that’s why we are so lucky to have him on the show this week.

“Wheels” or “Bobby,” as some people at ABC News used to call him, is literally building an army of talented visual story tellers (see: they’re hiring).  Seriously — if you or someone you know is a comer in the news game right now – Wheelock is the guy to know.

In February 2012, the guy who had done nearly ever big job you’d want to do and won a ton of major awards, found his “next big thing” and took on the leadershipchallengeof a lifetime. 

This is Bob’s first extended conversation on the air about AJE.

He is, as ever, eloquent and perfectly candid.


Our second guest, George Gigicos, is veteran political operative with a sterling reputation.

He only has one speed: go!

George is the engine in the boat at the strategic communications and event firm Telion Corp, based in southern Florida.  He’s been a GOP Advance man since the days George H W Bush was VPOTUS.  His experiences on behalf of the US government around the globe are a fun part of this discussion. So to are his insights into his most recent time on the road working advance for the Romney campaign.

Here are some fun pics from George’s time in the business — including one with me in Egypt in 2008.

The mark of a true PoliOptics practitioner – George Gigicos.













George’s work as site lead for Mitt Romney’s visit to Warsaw University in Poland – summer 2012



George’s work in Warsaw, Poland in the summer of 2012 with the Romney campaign.



Adam Belmar and George Gigicos in Egypt 2008



















About TELION:  a comprehensive public relations, media affairs and event management consulting firm offering clients a wide range of support services.  Telion partners with corporations, associations, government, political and religious entities to successfully assist in the management of their meetings, conferences, incentive programs and special events. Their expertise in communication strategies, crisis management, digital media, VIP advance operations & logistical support is unsurpassed.  George Gigicos, TelionCorp, Boca Raton, Florida 33231, 561-400-3604.

I know you will enjoy these two conversations… And when you do –drop us a few words on FB www.facebook.com/PoliOptics.

Thanks, AB

PoliOptics Inaugural Snapshots

Oh the wonder of Facebook and Twitter on a day like today.  Many of our PoliOptics friends are working and here are a few of the images they’re sharing.  Wonderful behind the scenes images.  Enjoy!

@NewMediaJim – Jim Long – shares this pre-dawn view from the B Camera Platform. Jim was a guest on PoliOptics episode 84


PoliOptics producer Katherine Caperton shares this pre-dawn shot from the west front of the Capitol.


ABC News White House Producer Jon Garcia shares this sunrise shot of the presidential reviewing stand on Pennsylvania Ave. Jon is a future 2013 PoliOptics guest.


ABC News White House Producer Jon Garcia shares this shot of “all cameras up” in the pool truck at the White House-Reviewing Stand location.


And this “down the mall” shot comes from Sirius XM POTUS Host Pamela Kirckland. Notice the shade in the foreground, the sun will be high in the sky by the time President Obama takes the oath of office.


Katherine Caperton got this “money shot” from her perch on the scene for Sirius XM POTUS.


One more from @NewMediaJim – Jim Long: sunset.

Episode 84, with guests John Feehery and Jim Long

John Feehery and Jim Long are our guests this week.
Show produced by Katherine Caperton.
Original Air Date: January  5, 2013 on SiriusXM “POTUS” Channel 124.
Polioptics airs regularly on POTUS on Saturdays at 6 am, 12 noon and 6 pm.
Follow us on Twitter @Polioptics Listen to the show by clicking on the bar above.
Show also available for download on Apple iTunes by clicking here

PoliOptics kicks off our third calendar year of broadcasts with episode 84.

Adam Belmar and John Feehery in the POTUS studio taping the 1/4/13 episode of PoliOptics. photo credit: Jim Long @ NewMediaJim

Everyone is home from the holidays now — even President Obama found his way back from Hawaii.

But what happened over the holidays?

The fiscal cliff turned out to be a huge blur for most American.  Political failure on wide display is finally averted by the actions of a couple of unlikely heros.

Our first guest is part of the fabric of Capitol Hill and one of the most skilled communicators of his political generation.

John Feehery, President of QGA Public Affairs and the author of the must-read blog The Feehery Theory takes

John Feehery – President of QGA Public Affairs and author of The Feehery Theory.

Josh King and me to the proverbial white board for a play-by-play breakdown.

The focus of this sit-down with Feehery is not the policy, but rather the politics:

Is Speaker of the House John Boehner too wounded to lead?

Can Harry Reid play a meaningful role in the next round after having Vice President Biden swoop in to fix his mess?

Does President Obama realize yet the extent of the political hangover he’s suffering with regard to the 113th Congress?

Obama’s New Year’s Eve Fiscal Cliff Press Conference

John Feehery ads a great bit of historical context to conversation.

Speak of the House for the 113th Congress – John Boehner

On the question of Speaker Boehner’s leadership in particular, John Feehery has special insight.  John served another Speaker — Denis Hastert — as his chief spokesman and communications advisor for an record breaking eight years from 1999-2007.

John has the scares to prove his mettle and the unique ability to see the net/net and make it understood.

I confess right at the top of the show that I am unsure what to make of the last two weeks.  Sure, I read the Playbook everyday and even kept an ear to SXM POTUS when I was in the car.  But if you’re like me and Josh and you’re looking for the real CLIFF NOTES — this interview is for you!


Our second guest: @NewMediaJim — the D.C. twitter sensation who is a self described, “new media soul trapped in an old media body.”

Jim Long, aka @NewMediaJim

By day, Jim Long is a general assignment videographer based in the NBC News Washington D.C. Bureau.  His talent, experience and remarkable eye for the picturesque has distinguished him among his peers.  His good humor, consistency and grace

Honor First, Coffee Second
Instagram by @NewMediaJim
Afghanistan 2012

under pressure have distinguished him with White House staffers and presidents alike.  But his twitter feed and early adoption of all things digital have distinguished him with more than 75 thousand followers around the world.

Everyday, from places like Afghanistan, Iraq, The White House, Capitol Hill, Egypt and Pittsburgh, Jim Long shares his signature Instagram style.  Jim Long is a friend of mine and someone I am so excited to introduce to the PoliOptics audience.  It is quite rare to have a network photographer on the record for broadcast.  I attribute this coup to the amazing pros at NBC News, who have supported Josh King and I here at PoliOptics since our very first days on the air.

If you love the behind the scenes stuff that PoliOptics is known for — you will want to dowload this episode for permanent inclusion on your ipod.

Ode to a photographer: Jennifer Foster

As Adam Belmar and I were taping our 80th episode this week, I mentioned a photo that I promised to put online.

The story caught my eye this past Wednesday morning as I was scanning the New York Times over coffee. I’m always on the lookout for news stories that are worth reading aloud to my kids, ages 8 and 5. My son is a big fan of the NYPD and this one fit perfectly. It involved an officer named Lawrence DePrimo from our own Sixth Precinct in Greenwich Village.

As with so many stories involving unique photos taken by non-professionals that morph into viral images, this picture was taken on November 14, two weeks before The Times‘ David Goodman got it into print. If there is a young person in your life that could benefit from a lesson in values, community and citizenship, you might read this story aloud to him or her and spend some time talking about it.

Jennifer Foster's photo of NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo and a homeless man in Times Square, Nov 14, 2012

Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona who works for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department back home, was walking through Times Square when she happened upon the scene of Officer DePrimo fitting a homeless man with a new pair of boots purchased at his expense from a nearby Sketchers store. She told The Times’ Goodman that the scene reminded her of her father, a 32-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, whom she recalled buying food for a homeless man.

When I read the story, it noted that the photo had received 275,000 “likes” on Facebook. As I write this post, a little over two days later, the tally is up to 521,000 “likes,” 190,000 “shares” and 40,000 comments. The power of one photo, taken by an amateur with a smartphone camera, to bring half a million people together around a heartwarming story.

The incident reminded me of a different story with a very different outcome that I wrote about on Polioptics a long time ago. The story took place on April 5, 1976, when I was ten years old. It involved a black lawyer in Boston named Ted Landsmark who was assaulted by Joseph Rakes with an American Flag near City Hall Plaza. A Boston Herald photographer, Stanley Forman, captured the image because he happened to be in the right place at the right time and, as a result, won the Pulitzer Prize for photography that year.

On November 14, and back in 1976, Jennifer Foster and Stanley Forman didn’t begin their day intending to capture an enduring moment through their lens. Foster was just enjoying New York on a visit far from home. Forman was in the process of buying an apple for his girlfriend. Then, something happened that caught their eye. Forman had a newspaper to publish his work. Foster had the NYPD Facebook page. In both cases, many eyes were opened wide as a result.

We’ve been very privileged to have some of the world’s best photojournalists as guests of Polioptics, including Pete Souza, Diana Walker, Doug Mills, Charlie Dharapak and David Hume Kennerley. Their job is to always keep their cameras at the ready, documenting newsworthy events both tragic and triumphant as they happen, and sharing them with readers around the world. As we enter the heart of the holiday season, we thank them for their continued great work, and add a special place among their ranks for a tourist with a cellphone named Jennifer Foster.