People around the newsroom are saying they haven’t seen the falls this powerful in years. I went down this afternoon to take some pictures and wound up shooting an impromptu video using my Sony point-and-shoot and editing it in Final Cut.
If I’d planned this better, I’d have taken a video camera. But then I’d have been duplicating what my co-worker Thomas Clouse is working on. I’ll post that up when he’s finished in the next few days so you can compare.
Anyway, here’s 10 seconds to give you a taste of how much water is moving.
I remember walking in my grad school commencement a couple years back. Like most fellow graduates, I was smiling. Unlike quite a few fellow graduates, I was smiling about the achievement AND the fact that I’d already lined up a job.
This week, my former adviser Daryl Moen noted in an email to his listserv of Missouri J School grads that he’s noticed more anxiety among graduating seniors/grad students and fewer of them heading into a full-time job right away. This shouldn’t be surprising if you’re following the industry news.
Fortunately, there are some good collections of advice floating around out there. And they’re not limited to how to get a job. If you’ve got a minute between writing cover letters and updating your resume, check these out.
- Journerdism: “Make organization and the elimination of clutter (especially information clutter) a life long process. Twitter is neat, but addicting and dangerous. We lost a lot of good men in the war to Twitter.”
- Innovation in College Media: “Look beyond what job you’ll be doing and take a look at the snapshot portrait that’s being developed right now about the profession.”
- Online Journalism Blog: “As you do your job, as you walk the streets, as you read the newspapers and browse the messageboards, keep your news sense about you: is something happening that is newsworthy?”
- JournalismJobs.com: Besides publishing tons of help-wanted ads, this site has some good career articles.
- My previous post, while a little tongue in cheek and not about getting a job, offers 15 observations I’ve gained in 24 months in the field. “Somewhere, somehow, there is a perfect nexus of efficiency and quality, and it takes more than two years to find it.”
Today is the two-year anniversary of my full-time status at the Spokesman. That means two years as a full-time newspaper journalist, plus several months of part-timing it in Spokane and Stockton, Calif. I thought I’d take the occasion to note, only somewhat irreverently, a few things I’ve learned along the way. Please add to them.
- It’s wise to pick your battles. Whether you be the newest copy editor or a high-level manager.
- Some people are just afraid of the active voice.
- Play good photos big. Play bad photos even bigger.
- We are supposed to frown upon horse race stories in election years, but sometimes that’s secretly what we really want to read.
- Somewhere, somehow, there is a perfect nexus of efficiency and quality, and it takes more than two years to find it.
- Pay extra close attention when editing stories with repetitions of the word “public.”
- It’s safe, but not advisable, to eat the pizza with the sweaty cheese.
- It’s hard to give hope to journalism students during layoffs.
- If you can learn to talk to readers on the phone with sincerity, respect and conviction, you will be an asset to your newsroom.
- When asking a co-worker to do something, it helps to sit down by them.
- The demand for hopeful news out of Iraq far outstrips the supply.
- Gallows humor has its place when talking about the news, and that place should be full of fellow journalists.
- It’s terrifyingly easy to become inured to body counts and stories of suffering from wars and natural disasters.
- If that happens, take a step back and let the tragedy move you.
- Amid the carnage, take comfort in AP pictures of baby animals, but don’t assume your readers will do the same.
Here’s a little eye candy after my more pensive post the other day. I took this from a cliff on Spokane’s lower South Hill (see map below) with my simple-but-reliable 6-megapixel Sony Cybershot. For WordPress geeks out there who use Flickr, I posted it using a recently acquired plugin called “WordPress Media Flickr” and designed by Yu Ji.
Are you happy with the way your city’s daily newspaper presents news on the Web?
If not, I’ve got a hunch you might like it briefer and more current.
That’s the germ of an idea that’s sprouted in the past few days as I’ve stumbled upon (and sought out) what bloggers have to say about newspaper websites. Spoiler warning: It’s not all good. But there are a lot of good points.
First, we ought to be more direct on the Web. The Journalist Iconoclast is dead-on when he notes that the written report on many newspaper websites is often bloated and indirect.
This complaint is, I think often deserved, especially when you factor in some empirical evidence about how little of our stories site visitors actually read.
But while the era of shovelware is thankfully mostly over, some of its habits remain. My newspaper, for instance, republishes its entire daily report on the Web for the benefit of print subscribers. Paring these down would be pointless.
We are more active with breaking news, which is, by necessity, often much briefer and more direct. But sometimes this “breaking news” is a complete story slated for publication the next day. Should we be boiling these versions down? What about for special packages that run upwards of 40 column inches? How do we present this idea diplomatically to our writers?
(Pixar’s Brad Bird has some broad agreement-fostering suggestions, which I found via Teaching Online Journalism via Journerdism via GigaOM.)
Keeping news brief and direct could be easier if we think of the Web as the primary product – not in terms of revenue, of course, but order of publication. Mindy McAdams riffs on this theme, pointing out that some newspapers have taken this approach. The Spokesman-Review is among them, but we may only see three to four “Web first” stories on a given weekday. A lot of sports and weekend stories fall through the cracks because of staff limitations. In general, I imagine larger metro papers have an edge in this department.
Hey folks, I’m on the front lines in this battle to keep newspapers relevant and afloat. I’m in a position to try new things in terms of story presentation online — or at least run them up the flagpole — and I recognize that we need to keep refining our craft. If you’ve got a brilliant idea or even a simple gripe that could spark one, please jot it here for the love of the First Amendment and good of your favorite watchdogs and newshounds.
I’ve always been fascinated with all things oceanic. The geek in me hopes Google Ocean happens just so I can mess around with it. But this item also got me thinking about the potential for integrating this technology with other media. Granted, as a journalist in the Inland Northwest, Google Ocean wouldn’t lend itself to our coverage as well as Google Streetview has with, for example, business reporter Parker Howell’s blog covering growth and development, Here’s the Dirt.
But I hope bigger media outlets, especially magazines and documentary filmmakers, let their imaginations run with the possibilities. Imagine visiting nationalgeographic.com, reading a story about weird deep-sea creatures like this guy, then being able to zoom around the canyons where it lives via Google Maps. An incredibly rich layer of information.
Or imagine an interactive Web component accompanying the BBC’s breathtaking series “The Blue Planet.” You could navigate the programs as a series of clips such as the one below geocoded to corresponding undersea locations. Or track the migration of featured species.
I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of potential applications. Any more great ones out there?