In journalism on July 7, 2016 at 2:24 pm
Amid another week of police shootings, another week of protests in the streets, another week of debate over race and violence and our seemingly infinite capacity to misunderstand each other, a magazine bearing this cover slipped into mailboxes across the country.
It is both a simple, obvious slice of life and a profound statement. For us news and magazine types, it is a lesson in inclusion.
The image is the work of artist Kadir Nelson. It features a father and his children at a sun-drenched summer beach – a scene playing out along our coastlines from Wilmington, N.C. to Half Moon Bay, Calif. That the family is black is no accident.
“As a young kid I didn’t really see a lot of representations of African-Americans,” Nelson told CBS News recently. “I felt like I had a self-appointed responsibility to tell that story. That children who would go to museums, or art galleries, or open their books and see images that look like them and be proud of those images.”
Nelson has portrayed Nelson Mandela and produced children’s books full of images of Duke Ellington and Harriet Tubman. He gives extraordinary Americans their due, but he also wants to portray ordinary Americans … like that family on the beach. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Photography on March 4, 2016 at 8:35 am
It used to be that having your photo taken was a big event. Many of us can remember getting gussied up by our mothers and loaded into the station wagon for a trip to Sears, where a photographer would position us in some unnatural pose, next to our color-coordinated siblings, in order to capture an image that would live forever in the family photo album.
Now, we are liable to have our photo taken several times a day. We all walk around with cameras in our pockets. The advent of the cellphone camera has made picture-taking ubiquitous. That leads to a mistaken impression that it’s easy to take a telling, beautiful image.
This week, Tom Yunt forwarded a DIY Photograph interview with Steve McCurry. He’s one of the best photographers in the world. The 30-year-old iconic image you see above was his work. … Read the rest of this entry »
In journalism on January 28, 2016 at 1:58 pm
Courtesy The Telegraph
There was big news from the world of journalism this week and it didn’t involve a disgruntled billionaire with a William Randolph Hearst complex, somber word of layoffs or Sean Penn. No, this week we learned that Kate Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge, will be the new editor of Huffington Post UK!
Alright, simmer down. It’s only for one day. Still, pretty cool, right?
We’re told she will commission stories highlighting mental health issues. (Side note: You can tell she isn’t a real editor because if she were she would know coverage of “mental health issues” is no way to sell ads…)
Poynter asked the Twitterati if they have any advice for the duchess. Here’s mine. They are sort of tongue-in-cheek. But they are all true. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Writing on September 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm
Here’s an object lesson that I know none of you need. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to show the line from time to time so that no one ever thinks to cross it.
The Watertown Daily Times has a story this week about a nearby publisher of tourism magazines who reportedly attempted to trade positive coverage of the area for lodging and meals, and when that failed, slammed the locals in his publications. Further, he is alleged to have plagiarized much of that work. They say he sent threatening emails. He apparently “creeped out” one of his freelance writers and put her name on stuff she didn’t write.
First of all, don’t do that. Any of it. Obviously. I suppose that is one strategy if, like some fictional gypsy, you intend to roam the world leaving havoc in your wake. But we live here. That won’t work. Even on a much smaller scale. People talk. You will be exposed.
OK, now that the obvious stuff is out of the way, what about this story in the Daily Times?
For my money, it’s just too much. I don’t know how it played in the print edition, but it’s more than 1,800 words where about 400 would do. There seems to be a certain glee in showing a charlatan to be what he is. And it’s a bit of inside baseball.
Readers deserve to know that this rogue publisher is out there. The lede of the story is good. I think a couple quotes from the chamber of commerce and the paragraph outlining his failed business strategy would suffice. I don’t think we need the waitress calling him a “weirdo,” or the business owner who says he “smelled like an ashtray.” … Read the rest of this entry »
In Writing techniques on September 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm
In the Half Moon Bay Review magazine, I usually write up a question and answer piece on someone I find interesting, or perhaps someone involved in a field that is related to our monthly theme. (We usually have an advertising theme such as “fall home” in September, and we try to have some related editorial stuff.) If I’m being totally honest, I do it myself because it’s easy and it’s fun.
I like Q&As because they are unfiltered and it gives your subject a chance to explain who she is in her own words. I also like that Q&As can appear more graphically interesting than regular reporting. You can bold the questions, run big portraits of the guy you are interviewing, experiment with italics … I just like ’em.
I strive for a relaxed, playful tone. I want readers to put themselves in my shoes and imagine talking to the smokehouse owner or the brewmaster or the guy at the hardware store themselves. I want them to imagine how that conversation would go.
I’ve always been a fan of Esquire writer Scott Raab. I really like his Q&As in the magazine. He’s as much a focus of the conversation as whatever star he is interviewing — and that is a dangerous direction to travel. (Here’s an example, though you are free to skip it if course language bothers you.) It’s a real conversation with the recorder on and not an everyday magazine interview. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Ideas on May 30, 2013 at 4:45 pm
Someone once said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is in that spirit that I intend to flatter WSJ magazine and use the concept above in our own magazine.
As we continue to think about changes to our magazine, I’ve been paying more attention of late to the good things I see in other publications. I’m paying particular attention to magazines like the WSJ product that cater to a market that we covet – upwardly mobile, aspirational, ambitious people.
WSJ asks several hip trendsetters for their 200-word takes on some concept (in the case above, “Intuition.”) I’ll seek out interesting local people and ask them to riff on something that is topical or perhaps in keeping with a magazine theme. To differentiate this from the common man-in-the-street quote thing we do, I plan on allowing folks to email their answers. That will allow them to think it through a bit more than they would if I just showed up with pen and paper.
I even have a plan for producing something like those cool Wall Street Journal stipple drawings. I’m going to run common headshots through an app called ToonPaint. If you want to see what that looks like, check out my own likeness on my Pinterest account. (And don’t forget to see some of the magazine ideas there.)
I’m sure you are always on the lookout for good ideas you can make your own. Consider this a reminder that imitation is sincere flattery.
In Ideas on May 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm
Many of us are rethinking magazines. Whether we have one already or whether we are imagining one for the first time, we could all use some ideas that work.
Some of us met in Tucson recently to address this very subject. At the time, I suggested creating another blog dedicated to sharing layout ideas, story suggestions and other tricks of the magazine trade. I was about to do just that when I stumbled onto the idea of creating a Pinterest board for the purpose.
Why Pinterest? A recent study by the Pew Research Center revealed that women are five times more likely than men to use Pinterest, and Pinterest attracts a higher percentage of high-income, well-educated users than Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. That means it is the platform of choice for a demographic that should sound familiar to the people who were in Tucson.
It also seems like the perfect platform to share something visual like magazine ideas. It’s clean and visual and there are thousands of ideas already out there. I’ll try to track home, food, pets, kids – many of the things we talked about in Tucson as well as cool magazine designs we might all learn from.
I should say I’m an absolute novice on Pinterest. And that is part of the reason I’m doing it. I want to learn how to use the platform to see how we might benefit at the Half Moon Bay Review and throughout Wick.
For now anyway, it’s under my own name. If you haven’t already, you should sign up for a Pinterest account. You can find my board here: http://pinterest.com/claytonlambert/. … Read the rest of this entry »