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Monthly Archives: November 2007

I’ll be at the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar for the next two days. If something big happens, I’m sure you’ll find out about it.

Full report when I return.

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FYI …

Summer Photo Intern – The Washington Times

Washington, D.C., is the place to be this summer as candidates
race to the White House.

The Washington Times is a metro daily located in the District of
Columbia, with an award-winning photo staff. We are now
accepting applications for our summer internship program. Our
coverage, which centers on national political trends, stresses
thoughtful, analytical long-term photo projects, as well as
daily assignments.

The intern will work with 12 staff photographers and a video
journalist, including last year’s NPPA Photographer of the Year
and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

At least three current members of the staff started here as
interns. Will you be next?

The perfect candidate will have experience working with both
audio and video, and the ability to produce rich multimedia
stories for our website.

Applicants must have the use of a car, and even though some pool
equipment is provided, their own camera equipment. The intern
will have access to pool lenses and lighting kits. The pay is
$350 per week.

The application package must include a resume, a 500 word
autobiography, references with daytime phone numbers and a
portfolio of not more than 20-40 images with at least two photo
stories and one multimedia piece. Edit tightly. Show us your
best work.

Portfolios cannot be returned, and should be Mac-friendly. (We
will review images via Photo Mechanic, therefore images should
be in a folder separate from the multimedia piece(s) and include
full caption information. Grammar, spelling and AP style should
be carefully examined before the portfolio is submitted.)

The deadline for applications/portfolios is December 14, 2007;
however, they will be reviewed as they arrive. It has been said
that the early bird gets the worm.

Staff work can be seen at http://www.washingtontimes.com/photo

Please send materials to:

C.D. McGonigal
Photo Editor
The Washington Times
3600 New York Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002

Questions can be emailed to: cmcgonigal@washingtontimes.com

Some of you may have seen the news that a “new” photo of President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg was found. Now, the New York Times has a column about the photo and it asks some questions we, as photojournalists, should be thinking about.

In class this week we talked about the differences between “general news” photographs and “documentary” photographs. How one shows the here-and-now and the other deals more with time and space, with the era in which it was created. I particularly like how the writer, Verlyn Klinkenborg, wraps it up:

And this is somehow the inherent bias of the camera. It always directs us toward the center of attention, never away to the periphery, even though that is where our attention eventually wanders.

Over on the Photopreneur blog, they’ve got a list of 60 things you can do to get inspired.

This is the type of story I love: A journalist sees something that makes them ponder and then they search out an answer. In this audio slide show on the New York Times’ web site, J. Adam Huggins explored where New York City manhole covers come from.

Nicely executed.

And the Times did a follow up after safety concerns were raised about the working conditions in the factory.

Nice journalism.

My wife was sent a Flip Ultra video camera from Pure Digital Technologies for her to review on her bargain finding web site. Since she doesn’t deal with technology stuff as much as we do, she handed it off to me.

First impressions were positive. It’s a simple little device, easily fits in a shirt or jeans pocket. The model we have has a one gigabyte flash drive in it which will provide 30 minutes of video and costs about $100. There’s a 60 minute version for $150, as well.

The build quality is pretty good with a decent heft to it and the number of buttons and switches is kept to a minimum power, record, play, delete, and a four-way rocker switch for zoom and playback selection. There’s also a standard tripod thread on the bottom.

It runs on two AA batteries and, after filling it twice, it’s still running on my first set of alkalines. Go figure, with no moving parts it’s pretty efficient.

There’s a built in microphone and speaker and two ways to get video out – a jack on the side that’ll feed a TV or VCR with audio and video signals (cable included) and a built-in USB jack.

Wait, a what?

Yep – there’s a switchblade-like USB plug on the side of this thing. Open it and plug it right into your computer, no extra cables to haul around. The camera writes .avi files and it has built-in editing software for Macs and PCs. Meaning you can connect to just about any computer, edit and upload to the web. (You will need to install a specific codec to get the audio to work, but it’s in the camera as well and only takes a minute.)

Video is of limited quality which you’d expect for a $100 camera. But, to be honest, it’s better than most of what you find on YouTube and beats most cell phones hands down. If you’re in close, the audio isn’t bad, either. Though move back a few feet and it has trouble hearing what you want. The only thing that would make this better is a mic jack – a simple stick mic would make all the difference.

How’s it to use? Brilliantly simple. With it’s limited number of buttons, it’s a true point-and-shoot camera. There’s a 2-1 digital zoom, but after looking at the results I’m tempted to say just leave it at the wide (i.e., full resolution) setting. The zoomed images get really chunky.

The lens is also so wide, due to the small video chip, that hand-holding it doesn’t make you ill on playback. With almost no magnification of movement, motion isn’t as bad as most other video cameras.

So who should buy this? Is this what every newspaper reporter should be handed?
Well, no. The video and audio quality aren’t there for professional pieces.

That said, it may be the way to introduce video into journalism classes. At $100 a pop, it’s just a little more than the audio kits we’ve been buying here at Grady College. It’ll let students experiment, it’ll let them learn concepts of storytelling and it won’t be a huge financial burden. Additionally, given the compact size, it’s easy enough to order them to carry it everywhere.

Families would be the next in line to pick one of these up. As long as you can get close to your subjects (remember, zoom=bad) you can get some good stuff with it. Haul it to the beach or the park, haul it everywhere you go. You never know when those moments will happen.

I took it over to Stone Mountain this weekend to play. I did not use the built-in editing software, so this was done in about 20 minutes in iMovie. Check out the video (and, yeah, I know – jump cuts galore).

The Illinois High School Association, who oversees high school sports in the state last night denied access to several newspapers, according to an article in the Pantagraph.

At issue here is the policy of newspapers to sell reprints of published photos. The IHSA is considering this a commercial use of the images, and they claim ownership of the commercial rights to the games. Newspapers claim that reprints are a long-established customer service initiative. The vast majority of those reprints are sold to parents with no rights beyond personal display.

As a former photojournalist (and editor) who covered a lot of high school sports, I offer this opinion: While newspapers may be charging $20-30 a print which the average person believes can be made for a few bucks, the reprint “business” is not a profit-making one for most papers. The time it takes is substantial. The need to maintain printing equipment that meets the professional standards of the newspaper is substantial.

Now, newspapers that are creating photo galleries of everything that’s sharp, with no thought to news value, those papers are looking at it as a revenue stream and, well, I’m not sure I can support that, ethically, as they may be profiting off of the players.

There’s a slightly off-center middle ground here, giving newspapers the ability to sell prints – with no additional rights granted – to the public as long as those images are part of their “standard” news coverage.

Now, go define “standard.”

(See earlier post about the Illinois Press Association suing the Illinois High School Association, a suit which was dropped when the IPA believed they were close to an agreement with the IHSA.)

Ugh. I hated Black Friday when I was shooting. Dealing with the mall PR office to get permission to shoot, then still having to deal with the mall cops … just, ugh. And for what? Pictures of people shopping. Blechh.

So how would this work in video for a newspaper site? Check out how the San Jose Mercury News did it. Feels almost as chaotic as being there.

The Pittsburg Post-Gazette’s video has a nicely done opening shot and a bit of humor at the end. Some audio issues with the interviews, and it could use some better detail shots, but that opener works well.

UPDATE: The Roanoke Times followed a group of high school friends as they camped out in front of a BestBuy. Why? There’s nothing else to do in Roanoke ….

The Reuters photo blog has a collection of photos of reflections. Something to think about as you put together an end-of-semester portfolio – can you make one that works?

Not as catchy as Richard Feynman’s “Six Easy Pieces,” but you get the point … over on Photopreneur is a listing of five recent court cases involving photographs. Worth taking a look at.

The lesson on some: You can’t use any photo you take any way you want.