In Photography on March 3, 2017 at 9:07 am
As you know, immigration is a hot topic. The spectrum of public opinion ranges from throw the bums out to complete amnesty for those who crossed our border illegally.
Though many of our newsrooms are in communities with many undocumented immigrants, some of us struggle with covering that segment of our community. Sometimes it is a language barrier. Sometimes people who are here illegally don’t see the wisdom in advertising that in the local newspaper. Sometimes, I suspect, we merely have a cultural divide.
I’ve been thinking of ways we might bridge that gap and satisfy our call for a new editorial project in the second quarter of 2017. I have an idea: What if you gave a few immigrants disposable cameras for a week and then used the results as a basis for a feature story or a string of Instagram posts or a once-a-day Facebook post?
Doing so would solve a couple of problems. It would bring home a national story. It would put a face on people you might not be covering well. It would add photos to your newspaper. It would attract the participants (and their friends and relatives) to your paper. It might even give you ideas for more stories down the road. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Ideas on February 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm
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. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Photography on October 13, 2016 at 2:03 pm
Say something happens. It’s not photogenic. Maybe your city decides it’s going to replace a water line. You put together a web update so you can get the news out quickly. How do you illustrate that story?
The answer is that no art is better than stolen art. Running your story as text-only is a better idea than stealing a photo of water pipes that you find on the web. I know that flies in the face of what you may understand about creating greater web traffic, but things that aren’t ours, aren’t ours. To be clear: You are not free to Google around and drag just any photo into our content management system.
This week, I had a chat with Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association. We talked generally about fair use and copyright and photographs and he noted a couple of important distinctions between things we might publish online and in print.
Things we post online are covered under the Digital Millennial Copyright Act. If you should receive notice from someone saying they own the rights to a photo that you accidentally ran online, the prudent action is to take that photo down while you research ownership. If it turns out to be a photo you own or one that you have express permission to run, put it back up.
Other key points:
Fair use: This doctrine of free speech protections is difficult to claim with photos. That is because you almost always use the entire image. Fair use applies to using a snippet of copyrighted material as part of your larger piece. You might quote from a Bob Dylan song, for example, as part of your story about his Nobel Prize. While you are free to do that, you are not free to copy and paste his entire memoir nor a copyrighted image of him you found online. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Ideas on May 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm
I have no idea who these two guys are, but they are clearly fans of The Green Valley News. They submitted this photo, apparently while visiting their seventh continent, and it will be duly noted on the newspaper’s photo gallery set up expressly for this purpose.
Both Green Valley News Editor Dan Shearer and I are sort of amazed that people take the local paper on their jaunts around the world. I would have thought the immediate gratification of Facebook would have rendered something like this quaint, but there you go.
Dan says about 200 people submitted photos in 2013, the first time the paper asked for them.
“We did a big splash on the features page, highlighting our favorite photos on the backdrop of a big globe,” he wrote in an email. “It ended — we thought.”
Except it didn’t. So far this year, 30 people have submitted photos of their travels. Dan has the good sense to let them and is continuing to document the jaunts online in a slideshow. I wonder: Could you geotag each of these and then render them on a map? Would readers like to see where their neighbors are vacationing? Would a travel agent or an insurance agent or some other local provider sponsor a product like that? … Read the rest of this entry »
In Photography on January 28, 2016 at 2:02 pm
A very small portion of the images available, run very small.
Earlier this month, the New York Public Library made available 187,000 digital images from its archives – completely free from restrictions. That means you can use these gems on your Facebook page, website, blog or just to send to Aunt Greta because they are so danged cool.
I can’t possibly do justice to this treasure trove. You have to see for yourself. Navigating the website takes some getting used to – and make sure you check the box for public domain only if you want to use one. But it’s worth the effort. There are letters from presidents, posters from movies, book jackets, black and white images from the Depression … the images appear endless.
“These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds,” the library says in a statement.
One of the challenges of the digital age is figuring out what you can use to illustrate your stories. I have that problem each week with The Kicker. This is a big, big help for any digital publisher.
In Photography on September 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm
What do photographers worry about? The World Press Photo Foundation answers.
More than at any time in the human history, our communication is dominated by photographic imagery. Yet, professional photographers have never been more endangered, professionally and personally.
They are laid off. They are attacked by angry crowds. In a world in which everyone has a camera in his or her pocket and we all seem to think of ourselves as photographers, the real pros are disparaged.
Yet, the work of the pros is instantly recognizable. Amateurs get lucky from time to time, but professional photographers get the shot every time. There are millions of photographs taken every day. If you are transported by one today, chances are it was taken by a pro.
This week, the World Press Photo Foundation, in conjunction with Oxford and Stirling universities, released a first-of-its-kind study of the work lives of professional news photographers the world over. The results are not surprising, nor are they encouraging.
Some key findings: Read the rest of this entry »
In Photography on March 19, 2015 at 1:31 pm
Last week, I got what I took to be a most unusual complaint – except that it really isn’t all that unusual at all.
Half Moon Bay Review photographer Dean Coppola happened upon two young men digging holes at a local beach. He thought it would make a nice feature shot, a slice of life in a tourist’s beach town. I did too. You see it above.
We posted it on our website and again on Facebook and we soon began to hear from grumps who thought we were “promoting” the behavior seen in the photo. To understand why that would concern readers, see the photo of the emergency crews at the beach at the top of this post. Last June, a young, healthy man attempted to dig a tunnel in the sand. I’m sure it seemed like a harmless way to while away an afternoon at the beach. Except the tunnel collapsed and the man died under a ton of sand. I know, it sounds incredible.
So now some would tell us we shouldn’t ever picture anyone digging at the beach again.
I don’t agree. In fact, I don’t even really understand the complaint. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Photography on November 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm
The photo on the bottom here is currently my screensaver at work. It is the result of the keen eye of Half Moon Bay Review photographer Dean Coppola, and also his keen understanding of light and exposure.
The photo was played big in color inside this week’s newspaper. We all love it. As a result, I asked him to talk about how he got that dramatic look with a scene that we all noticed as we were driving home last week. Take it away, Dean. — Clay
As I was driving home from work on Nov. 5, I noticed a dramatic moon rising over the coastal hills. I had seen on my calendar that the next day, Thursday, was the actual full moon, but Wednesday’s was pretty close. I knew I had to pull over and make a picture.
My first attempt (the one on top) was an overall exposure and gave a decent result, but I wanted more detail in the moon. I took a meter reading for the moon knowing that the rest of the scene would darken and look more dramatic. Those of you with camera phones or point-and-shoots can get similar results. Some point-and-shoots allow you focus on the moon and “lock” on that exposure, perhaps by pushing the shutter button halfway, then recompose to take in the entire scene. If you tap on the image – for example, the moon – with your iPhone, it will set the exposure to that light reading and the rest of the scene will darken. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Ethics on September 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm
The Sidney Herald posted this photo on its website and Facebook page and caught heck for it.
The Herald’s Susan Minichiello posted the photo and asked my opinion after getting some negative feedback online. I told her that it is the duty of a local news site to publish the news and a rollover accident that brings out a dozen first-responders, may have stalled traffic and was clearly visible to everyone who passed by on a state highway is news. Period. People in the community want to know what happened, and whether the driver and other occupants are OK. Frankly, they have a right to know.
Please note that Susan was very careful. While she took other photos, some that showed the man being pulled from the car, she knew better than to post those. She brought the camera back to the office and calmly scrolled through what she had. She found the perfect angle that showed the extent of the crash and the response. It isn’t graphic. It doesn’t violate community standards. It’s about as good of a car crash photo as you are liable to find. … Read the rest of this entry »
In Photography on September 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm
Jerry Burnes, of the Williston Herald Jerry Burneses, took the breathtaking shot you see above at the tail end of a nine-man high school football game that had long since turned into a blowout. There was 41 seconds left in the game when Jerry trained his lens over the shoulders of some tired teenagers. The result is spectacular.
“I was pretty much done shooting action at this point,” he wrote in an email to me after I asked him about the shot. “Beach, the winning team, had the ball and was taking knees to wind down the clock.”
A lesser reporter is packing up at that point. He’s putting his camera in his bag and plotting a way to get a quick comment from the coach before beating traffic to get home.
That clearly isn’t the way Jerry thinks and it should be a reminder to the rest of us.
“I noticed how the sunset was shaping up earlier in the game … and made a mental note of it,” he wrote. “About two or three years ago, I took a similar shot in Illinois but it had no people. When I prepared for this photo I remembered a portfolio review I had with William DeShazer, then of the Chicago Tribune and now with Naples Daily News, and he loved the sunset but hated the photo for that reason.”
So, with the clock ticking down and the fans on the hoof, Jerry found a spot behind those guys in blue. I told Jerry I couldn’t recall a better sports feature in Wick newspaper pages. The quality of the light, the colors in the sky, the framing of the players and their body language – it all combines in an unforgettable way that brings home life in that community and underscores our similar experiences as Americans. … Read the rest of this entry »