Wick Communications

Where do ideas come from?

In Ideas on February 16, 2017 at 6:37 pm

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When I asked last week for each newspaper to come up with a single editorial project in the second quarter of 2017, I knew that it was a simple ask that would prove hard for some of you. That is because we are all consumed by doing what we do every day and sometimes the daily grind obscures vision.

So today I wanted to offer a couple of ideas. Both of them I stole, fair and square. One was an exhaustive project in the Washington Post that examined the “life” of a single Baltimore block due to be demolished. It ended up telling the story of the city. The other is simpler imagine: telling a story through a series of Instagram posts.

Both are fun. Remember fun? Trying something new is often the most life-affirming part of any day or week. Trying something new is often its own reward — even if it doesn’t increase the bottom line.

And that is another thing to remember about this assignment. The vast majority of America’s workforce is engaged solely in the quest of making more money for shareholders the workers don’t know. How freeing is it that your bosses have asked that you follow your passion and produce something you can be proud of, regardless of whether it makes a red cent?

Take a look at the ideas shared today. And then think outside the box.

Clay

Editorial project idea No. 1

In Ideas on February 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

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They say there is nothing new under the sun and all the best ideas are cribbed from somewhere else. Or are at least incremental.

Well, here is a story form that I stole fair and square from one of my favorite news sources, Reveal. It’s the idea of news reporting via Instagram. Reveal rolled out a story on the inequity of plea deals in the courts through 21 beautifully rendered Instagram posts. Look for yourself. It’s just freaking awesome. It is stunning reporting, visually amazing and ready made for viral sharing.

Did it work? Heck, I don’t know. Looks like most of the Reveal posts got a fewer than 200 likes and not too much commentary. But then the best of what we do has not always gotten the notice it deserves.

I decided to try something sort of like this and I was smart enough to enlist the help of Half Moon Bay Review photographer John Green. His Instagram images are always a treat and sometimes very widely appreciated in the community. I asked him to run around town on Thursday, which was widely observed in our community and elsewhere as “A Day Without Immigrants.” Many local restaurants were closed in solidarity or because they simply didn’t have enough workers if enough of them observed the day off. I asked him to take square Instagram images that captured a closed restaurant. Which is a weird assignment.

The result was an interesting photo story that he parlayed into a series of filtered shots. Just simple images from Coastside favorites that were closed for the day. This story is the talk of the town today in Half Moon Bay and we helped propel it. …

Editorial project idea No. 2

In Ideas on February 16, 2017 at 6:28 pm

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In a city with 17,000 vacant buildings, The Washington Post chronicled the life and death of a single block built in 1905 that has housed generations of families.

So begins a Medium post by Steve Hendrix of the Washington Post. One of the nation’s great news enterprises set out to tell the story of one block of Baltimore rowhouses — and in so doing, a piece of the city’s own history — before it was demolished. Along the way, a Post photographer took 8,000 images and reporters interviewed dozens of people with a connection to the block. They chronicled the change from a racially mixed area to an all-black part of town after white people fled America’s inner cities for the suburbs after World War II.

It’s a jaw-dropping project, right down to the marketing on social media. There is a lot here for us to learn.

Imagine doing something like this on a smaller scale in your town. Is your city about to demolish an historic old building? Is one about to fall of it’s own accord? You could do this to great effect with a 100-year-old private home. Tell us who lived there through the years.

This would make a great editorial initiative in 2017.

Clay