I'm a Minnesota Public Radio digital editor. This is mostly the shoptalk I read, as well as some of the pictures I take, and other stuff that interests me. More at my homepage, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and at LinkedIn.
Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark weighs in on the “over-praised” New York Times feature that, “won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for feature writing; “it set a standard for multi-media reporting at a time when we were wondering about the viability of that form of storytelling; and it attracted attention from far and wide, lending encouragement that journalism in the digital age has an exciting future.” But …
Using the first section of the story as a kind of microcosm – and encouraging you all to read that much, at least – I offer the following critiques:
1. Most of the visual elements violate the essential credo of effective storytelling: Not to give away too much too soon.
2. Time and again the visual elements “step on the narrative.”
3. There is a “kitchen sink” feel to the visual aspects of the story.
4. The first section of text feels out of tune with the second.
5. Most of all, there is no harmony between what I would call the Voice of the story and its Vision.
Chronicling the Journeys of Traveling Rodeo Voice @stevegoedert
To see more from Steve’s travels to every corner of America, follow @stevegoedert on Instagram.
“I grew up in a rural part of northern California surrounded by cattle ranches,” says traveling rodeo announcer Steve Goedert (@stevegoedert). “I wanted to be a saddle bronc rider, but never was very good.”
While his profession reflects his love for cattle and ranching, Steve didn’t necessarily set out to become a sought-after rodeo announcer. “I spent a lot of time at the local livestock auction yard and decided I wanted to become an auctioneer,” Steve says of his earlier years. “I decided I needed to be a better public speaker to become a better auctioneer.” To improve, he started announcing local rodeos free of charge. People noticed and began offering to pay him.
These days, Steve’s on the road up to 40 weekends out of the year, and his photos and videos on Instagram chronicle his travels to every corner of the United States.
Via the always great livelymorgue:
In 1955, Easter fell on April 10, and in the day’s paper a stand-alone photo — taken on Good Friday — showed Torrance Helen watering lilies on the 64th floor of the RCA Building (30 Rockefeller Plaza). The picture ran near a mention of an egg-rolling event in Central Park that drew 1,500 children to push eggs across the Great Lawn, and a prediction of 70 degree weather on Sunday. The story provided a variety of other Easter observations, including one for Sing Sing’s 1,450 prisoners, who would “get an opportunity to attend Easter services in chapels bedecked with plants and flowers, enjoy a special dinner and see the movie, ‘Gone With the Wind.’ ” Photo:
Police keep arresting photojournalists in Ferguson, which only serves to underscore law enforcement’s seeming inability to understand and end the violence there after Michael Brown’s shooting death. Via the ACLU blog:
Police repeatedly ordered protesters to turn off cameras and cell phones recording law enforcement. In response, the ACLU of Missouri had to go into court to seek an emergency agreement reminding the police that photographing them is a constitutionally protected right. Roving SWAT teams, perplexingly, raided a McDonald’s and arrested two journalists engaged in the suspicious act of recharging their phones. Police aimed tear gas canisters directly at members of the press. A local news crew caught police riding up afterwards and disassembling another crew’s media equipment.
But as Maurice Berger writes in the NY Times Lens section, bearing visual witness has gone far, far beyond the mainstream media:
Thousands of photographs continue to flood out of Ferguson, Mo., some by photojournalists, but many more by local residents on social media. While these images document quickly unfolding events, they serve another purpose: providing the African-American community with an important outlet for reporting on — and taking control of — the chaos around it.
And no wonder. Peniel Joseph at The Root describes a dynamic now that didn’t exist in the days of the Civil Rights protests:
Millions of young blacks have no entree to the nuances of American democracy and racial struggle. Their world is more painfully straightforward and wrenching—black folks get shot in the streets with no hope of justice.
The ideal response to this tragedy, one that our national civil rights narrative promotes but, in fact, was never entirely true, is for the entire black population of Ferguson to put on their best church clothes and nonviolently show the world what happened to Michael Brown.
But that, of course, is not what’s happening. Instead, as Hank Willis Thomas says further down in the Lens piece:
“We are living in an amazing time, when media is being taken into the hands of the people,” observes the artist Hank Willis Thomas, whose work deals with issues of African-American representation. “New ways of using media are being applied on a daily basis. Through various means, and very much like artists, people are using found images and staging events or photographs. It’s almost overwhelming to witness this rising awareness of the power of creative expression in people’s hands.”
The Baltimore Sun has some pointers for journalists who suddenly find they are their own editors. This bullet point resonates:
Don’t mimic your sources. Shun copspeak, educationese, and bureaucratic jargon. Your writing should sound as if you are speaking directly to the reader across your desk. Try reading your stuff aloud; if it doesn’t sound right in your ears, it probably should be rewritten.
My pet peeve: Reporters, especially on television, who write things like, “police dispatched two squads to the scene,” when they’re describing police officers in “squad cars.” A “squad” is a military term for a small number of soldiers, commonly 10 privates, a staff sergeant, and a corporal. “Squad cars” sounds too movie script. All of it sounds like reporters trying to sound too much like cops.
John Moore, a senior staff photographer for Getty Images, was at the scene and told NPR’s Kelly McEvers that the day began with a Liberian health ministry burial team that had come to collect four bodies of people who had died overnight. But the team, he says, was turned back by the families and the local community. “The crowd was exuberant, having won this battle in their minds,” he says. “And then they marched on the isolation ward and pushed through the door and basically pulled out the patients. Members of this mob literally pulled people out of the isolation ward. I saw a man carrying a small girl by one arm up in the air and she was screaming, and the crowd carried them off.”