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Category Archives: Journalism

Now there’s one fewer reason to screw up a state abbreviation – the Associated Press Stylebook is now available as an iPhone app. (Which has the Apple fan in me thinking iPhones should be required of all our students … hmmm.)

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We spend our days photographing others, but Neal Ulevich spent some time in Vietnam photographing his colleagues. He’s posted 100 Polaroids he made, of the famous and unknown, online now. Many of the names you may recognize, it’s good to put a face with them after all these years.

The Associated Press has come under a lot of fire this past week for moving an image of a mortally wounded American soldier in Afghanistan. The soldier was hit by a rocket propelled grenade in August and the wire service held the image until this past week. They were not being censored – it was their decision to hold it.

The New York Times‘ Lens blog has a good summation of the situation. I’ve been thinking about his image since first seeing it on Friday and have gone back and forth on it. My thinking, after all that ruminating, is that the AP has a responsibility to its members to provide whatever images it can – and then the member publications have a responsibility to decide what to run and what to hold back based on their individual communities.

Which is a heck of a non-decision decision on my part, isn’t it? So, had I been the photo editor at a small to mid size daily, perhaps where this soldier was from or where his unit (or others) were based, I don’t think I would run it. My decision has nothing to do with the graphic quality of the image, nor the technical problems – it’s that it isn’t a very strong photo. (That is not to say the photojournalist made any errors or mistakes here – she did everything she should have.) It does not tell me anything that happened, it does not illuminate me in some new way or give me a greater understanding of what war does to human beings. There is no context to the image – there is no cause and effect, there is only effect. And is that journalism?

And, if it is, is it a strong enough piece of journalism to overcome the quite probably negative reaction to the publication of the image? I, personally, don’t think so. And I argued for the running of images of jumpers from the World Trade Center towers in 2001 – vehemently, persistently and passionately – because I believed those images told an intensely personal story that helped shaped an incredibly impersonal series of events.

I am not taking the photojournalist, Julie Jacobson, to task here – I think she did a remarkable thing in making those (and many other) images. She should have made those photos as she did. The AP should have moved them on the wire. But I would not have lobbied for their publication in my organization. It’s not a corn flakes test for me – it’s a journalism test for me, and that image doesn’t pass it in my mind.

Okay, I admit I haven’t read this as a whole, but I read all of the pieces as Mindy McAdams, Flash Goddess, posted them over the last year or so. She’s now compiled a 42 page PDF of her advice on stepping up your online journalism game. Given the thoroughness and inventiveness of her past work, this is a Must Read.

And it’s FREE. Yes, all that knowledge, FOR FREE. Because she cares about journalism, that’s why.

I guess I’m bitter to the point of trying to be ironic … but, regardless, here’s another assessment of where journalism is and how it’s, well, expensive to do, this time from Mother Jones magazine.

Because make no mistake: This is a zero-sum equation. Less journalism = less accountability. Corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and propaganda thrive when reporting dies. That’s not a price we’re prepared to pay.

I try to keep this about photojournalism/visual journalism/multimedia journalism and, occasionally, a bit of humor. If you’ve sat in my classroom, though, you know I’m concerned about journalism in general and journalism education at a pretty high level. To say I’ve bruised my brain while beating my head against a brick wall from time to time would be an understatement – let’s be honest, at some level my brain has the consistency of a blackberry smoothie.

So I’m on another committee, talking about curriculum review. This one’s different, but the details don’t matter yet – they’ll matter if it works. And I came across this Poynter Institute post by Ernest Wilson, who’s the dean of the journalism school at USC – and it says almost everything I want to say. So you should go read it, then give me specifics. I know we have to change, but change what?

A while ago I posted a link to a CoPress piece on innovation in the newsroom. Which was very fancy, but sort of light on specifics. Turns out, that was just the start – their second piece is now up and it talks about thinks to do and change in your newsroom.

The Web-centric newsroom from CoPress on Vimeo.

Every now and then, Mindy McAdams, Flash Goddess, writes something that makes me want to go enroll at the University of Florida so I can take her classes.

Of course, then I realize that my University of Georgia colleagues would execute me on Grady College’s front lawn and my alma mater, the really cool (okay, mostly frozen) Syracuse University wouldn’t look kindly on me changing my shade of orange …

Regardless, I’ve been thinking about online or digital portfolios the last few months, how to incorporate their construction into my classes. (And I’ve done it this semester with one class, though they haven’t realized it yet). But reading Mindy’s post about building a personal brand has me really rolling over those scattered ideas of the last few months, trying to link them into something useful. Something I can hand to my students, in some form, and help them make their digital mark on the world.

And it has me wondering what my digital portfolio looks like now, as I write in about eight different places, Twitter over here, photo blog over there … is it time for all of it to come under one roof? Do I blend the academic, automotive and visual sides of my life into one giant smoothie? Can I preach something I haven’t practiced?

A little video that tells us … well, a lot of what we already know. It does reinforce what we should be doing, though, which is handy.

I do wish it listed some ideas on things to try … it’s like you’re doctor telling you to exercise more. Um, okay … but where should I start?

A Case for Innovation from CoPress on Vimeo.

Lost for years, some of the negatives of Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and David Seymour found in the “Mexican Suitcase” are starting to be shown

Oh, how I’d like to see the whole set …