Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Job opening in Lorain

Not often these days that we get to share news of a job opening but here goes. Posted on an opening in Lorain.

Here are the details: The Morning Journal, an award-winning paper in Lorain, Ohio, 30 miles west of Cleveland, has an opening for a photographer.

Photographers shoot anything and everything (news, sports and features) with company Nikons. Staff photographers are also responsible for shooting regular video pieces to supplement stories, so shooting and editing experience is a must.

Applicants should send a resume and work samples to: April L Elliott, Managing Editor, The Morning Journal, 1657 Broadway, Lorain, OH, 44052. No phone calls or e-mails please.

Monday, January 26, 2009

ONPA newsletter and convention changes

The ONPA board held a meeting via conference call over the weekend taking action on several matters all with an eye on the budget and reducing convention costs for members.

As a result the print edition of the ONPA newsletter is being replaced by this blog as well as the organization's Web site. This action not only benefits the treasury but also gets news out to the membership in a more timely manner.

Job losses in the industry are having their affect on membership which is the primary source of income for ONPA. This is no time to raise dues so the board had to look at the other side of the ledger to keep the books balanced. The newsletter is one of the bigger ticket items in the budget.

If the budget can stand it the board will consider an annual printed issued with winners of the year-end contest being bundled with a DVD of the television contest winners. Television vice president Chris Reece will look into the cost of the DVD while I look to see how many pages would be need to print such an issue and what the cost would be.

A discussion ensued about placing board meeting minutes and other content in a members only area of the Web site. This will probably take place after the April convention. Members who have paid their dues will be sent a new password to access that content.

The financial savings will be applied to lowering the cost for the annual convention. Although the cost to members has remained steady for several years it was felt that lowering the fees would attract more members to the seminar.

In the last four years members paid $45, non-members paid $55 and students paid $25. With the rate cut members will now pay $20, non-members $40 and students $10.

The awards dinner at the convention is being replaced by an abbreviated awards ceremony during the course of the day. Attendance at the dinner has been dwindling for several years with many members complaining about the high cost. Hotel dinner menus are quite expensive and ONPA has been subsidizing a portion of the cost for the last two years so this will save both members and ONPA money.

We will look to keep cost in check in other areas while still providing a top flight program of speakers.

ONPA treasurer Kimberly Barth is in the process of establishing a Pay Pal account so in the future ONPA members will be able to pay their dues, contest and convention fees with a credit card. This is not in place yet so until you hear differently keep sending those checks. Hopefully we can roll this out for the convention this year. We'll keep you posted.

In other action David Bradford has agreed to take over the television quarterly clip contest in 2009. Television members will be sent updated rules from me in the coming weeks.

The board's next scheduled meeting will be at the Columbus convention in April.

ONPA leadership change in 2010 - DeMay stepping down after current term expires

At the close of the ONPA board meeting over the weekend I informed my fellow officers that I will not be running for a seventh term as chairman of the board of ONPA. Officer nominations will be made at the annual business meeting in April. I wanted to take this step now so that other candidates may step forward to fill the vacancy.

The statement pretty much brought the conference call to a silence. There was no easy way to break the news and I hadn't discussed it with anyone prior to this so I know it was unexpected.

Twelve years is a long time and I think ONPA could benefit from some new energy. I have told the current board I would continue to work with David Polycn on the year-end still contest as well as continue my efforts with this blog after my current term ends if that is their wish.

Its been a rewarding experience, but I've reached a point in my life where taking back some time for myself and my family is important. I juggle quite a few balls and have time commitments in some other areas that I will be scaling back as well.

I'm sure my wife Pam will find a multitude of things for me to do with my free time. She has probably been to more ONPA events than any spouse and has even hosted a few. She will still probably want to go to the conventions just to get some shopping time in with Fred Squillante's wife Kris.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

From bad to worse at the Star Tribune

These are troubled times for workers in all sectors in today's economy, but they may have gotten much worse for some former employees at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Several employees who opted for buyouts last summer are now being told they may not get their full severance as a result of the company's filing for bankruptcy protection. 

Details of the situation are outlined in a story on the newspaper's Web site.

Under he heading of signs of things to come, the Hartford Courant has cut their last major beat for covering professional sports teams.  The paper will not be sending a reporter to spring training this season and will also not cover Boston Red Sox games with a staff reporter. Sports Editor, Jeff Otterbein, quoted in an E&P story said the paper would cover occasional home games. 

No reporter means no photographer at most papers. I can't help but think that this area will be the next to take a hit as newsrooms look for ways to cut cost. This is probably not an option for Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati papers, but at other papers it will probably be a fact of life. 

In Akron it was pretty much assumed late last year that if our Indians beat writer Sheldon Ocker opted for a buyout his position would not be filled. Situations are different at every paper in this area. We are in a unique position as it relates to the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James being from Akron. I'm sure our coverage of the Cavs will change if the day ever comes and LeBron leaves for brighter lights.

You can't cancel AP and eliminate your coverage of major sports so papers will have some decisions to make.

Perenic wins E&P Photo of the Week

Barbara Perenic of the Springfield News-Sun scored a win with a high school wrestling picture that was selected as Photo of the Week by Editor & Publisher.

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em was the headline over the photo on the E&P Web site.

Weekly winners in the contest are eligible for Photo of the Year in pubication's annual contest. Rules for submitting photos can be found here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

News agencies clash with Obama administration

The honeymoon between the press and Barack Obama's new administration seems to have been a brief affair. Photographers were denied access to Obama in his first day in the Oval office, a tradition photo op. 

The White House later released photos taken by White House photographer Pete Souza marking that event as well as an image of Obama retaking the oath of office. The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse refused to distribute the photos.  

In an AP story, Michael Oreskes, managing editor for U.S. news at the AP said, "We are not distributing what are, in effect, visual press releases."

The New York Times and McClatchy-Tribune Photo both distributed the images.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural overload

The party is over and now we move on. Quite a day for the journalists and editors handling the inauguration of Barack Obama.  Days like this on the picture desk are quite nerve racking. Not only are you dealing with the local photos of the day, but scanning the offerings from numerous wire services. There was no shortage of photos make your picks from. 

There is always that worry that you will miss a keeper looking at hundreds and hundreds of images squeezed into little thumbnails. I'm convinced that people that create these interfaces for photo browsing are all under 30 and don't realize that the majority of the people using them go no where without reading glasses.

Watching the event on television I was struck by how quiet the crowd was while Obama gave his address. Images on the screen showed faces of people riveted to the podium (or a video screen in a lot of cases). At the time I thought perhaps the audio mix was to blame on the hush tone of the audience. I later spoke with our staff photographer Karen Schiely who was on the National Mall and she too spoke of how quiet it was during the speech.

Looking at the mass of people on the mall I couldn't imagine how you navigate from point A to point B. I asked Schiely how that worked for her and she said sometimes very easy. Schiely said, "You could be in a crowd so tightly packed that you could move even thought your feet weren't touching the ground."

Today its revenue day for the newspapers. Extra single copy sales and commemorative anything with Barack Obama's picture on it from front pages to coffee mugs are being offered. Hey, somebody's got to pay for those overpriced D.C. lodgings.

If you click on this Ohio front pages link you can take a look at the treatment that other newspapers in Ohio gave the event today. When the page opens click on a thumbnail and just use your arrow keys to naviagte.

If I didn't feel old enough last night looking at tiny images it later occurred to me that for the first time in my life I'm older than the president.  

And I thought I was supposed to feel good about this change.

ONPA contest deadline approaches

If you haven't already put your ONPA contest entries in the mail its now time to start thinking Fed Ex. The deadline for still, multimedia and television contests is Friday at 6 p.m.

The deadline for the Larry Fullerton Photojournalism Scholarship is Friday, Jan 30.

Still photographers are reminded of several changes this year. The number of entries in the still contest has been lowered to 15 from 20. This puts the same limit on individual categories as has always been in place for portfolio entries. In the Online Photojournalism contest the entry limit for video and multimedia categories has been increased from 2 to 3 per publication or station.

A change is being made in the categories which will merge the feature category once again. This eliminates a change made several years ago which split the category into assigned and enterprise features. Over the years judges have commented that they really didn't think the split was necessary. Many photographers were also entering photos in the wrong category.

As is customary in presidential election years a Campaign category has been added to the still contest for 2008. All photos of political candidates for local, state or national office and/or issues including the casting and/or counting of ballots are entered in this category.

If needed rules are available to download - Still/Multimedia contest, Television contest, Fullerton Scholarship 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All Obama all the time

Perhaps subdued somewhat by the economy, but local newspapers and broadcast stations all seem to have staff on the ground in Washington D.C. today for the inauguration of Barack Obama. Special sections and historic front pages will make Wednesday newspapers collector items. You will probably need to watch ESPN today not to watch the historic event.

Web sites and networks are implementing new technologies to bring the story to life. All the new gizmos don't do the job on their own, its the journalists working in less than an ideal conditions who are responsible for that. 

Many of these people will be transmitting live from the Washington Mall or from some very cramped shared office space. No 600 thread-count sheets either - strained budgets and room prices have driven a lot of these people to find some unique sleeping quarters. They should all have some very good back stories to share about their experience.

We will attempt to bring together some of the Ohio-based content on Wednesday. 

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beacon Journal gives AP two-year notice

Playing catch up with a few items that fell through the cracks during the holiday season by me, and went unreported in traditional media outlets.

The Akron Beacon Journal joined The Columbus Dispatch giving the Associated Press its required two-year notice to cancel its contract. While the cancellation notice by the Beacon Journal could be just saber rattling in their dispute with AP, the paper has begun to look at alternatives for AP produced content.

This follows the formation of the Ohio News Organization, a content sharing cooperative by the eight largest papers in the state who have grown dissatisfied with AP's service. While the OHNO arrangement was formed by the larger papers it appears that smaller Cox Ohio properties are taking advantage of some of the content that is posted.

In New Philadelphia, The Times Reporter is laying off 14 people at the newspaper. No photographers were among those let go. These follow cuts by Gate House in Canton where a total of 25 employees where shown the door in last quarter of 2008 at The Repository. In the newsroom, two reporters, a wire editor and a graphic artist were among those affected.

Gate House has also announced that 401K company matching contributions would be discontinued for non-union employees.
We reported a few weeks ago that former ONPA member Mike King was among those who were laid off from his staff position at the Appleton Post-Crescent. King is now a visual journalist at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. King will be doing multimedia work for as well as provide multimedia training to other staffers at the Gannett property.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Furloughs and layoffs

I’ve been staying away from headlines of the spiraling business of broadcast and print journalism, but when they come from inside the Buckeye state they are hard to ignore.

By now most of you know about Gannett’s imposed company-wide, first quarter one-week furlough. While most of the headlines dealing with this story mention the company’s larger operations like the Cincinnati Enquirer, Gannet has a large presence in Ohio in the form of many small to mid-size papers.

In Ohio Gannett publishes daily papers in Bucyrus, Chillicothe, Coshocton, Fremont, Lancaster, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, Port Clinton and Zanesville. Its no secret that workers at these papers are not paid handsome salaries. A week without pay will be felt. Not a great position to be in. I doubt that any of these people will spend their week off in the Bahamas.

Late word Thursday was that Gannett broadcast properties were also to included. That would seem to indicate that employees at NBC affiliate WKYC-TV in Cleveland will also be on the outside looking in for a week. The one Gannett property immune from the edict is in Detroit where the Free Press is preparing for the three-day home delivery at the end of March.

While a week off without pay is not good news, it’s much worse for about 13 people at The (Ravenna) Record Courier who have been given pink slips. Two of those are ONPA members Timothy St. Hilaire and Lisa Scalfaro. By our knowledge of the operation that would leave photo editor Stephanie Krell as the only person left in the photo department. A daunting task to say the least.

This is sad to see in more ways than one. First obviously you don't wish anyone to loose their job. Secondly, this is a paper which turned the corner from a photography standpoint in the last few years. Its not an easy thing to do at a small daily. There are many of them out there, and many of them have the look of a bad weekly. This was not the case in Ravenna and Stephanie, Tim and Lisa can be proud of the work they have done.

I've worked an environment similar to this when I started my career at the Nile Daily Times. Its amazing at how close the staffs are at these smaller papers. I'm sure they are all leaning on each other to get through this.

Record Publishing also produces eight weekly papers in the area. The Record-Courier has a daily circulation of around 10,000.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Extreme Photography: First Frame

Lighting guru David  Hobby did a guest blog entry today on Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider blog talking about  the practice of an extreme photo competition known as first frame. 

The rules were simple: Two competing photographers shooting the same game shot the first frame of a 36-exposure roll of Tri-X at each other, thus verifying that no rolls of film were switched later. The very next frame was your entry in the game. Whoever had the best action shot (moment, composition, focus, etc.) won.

As someone who shot a lot of sports in the days of Tri-X it was a was an enjoyable read. It was also a reminder that too many of us cover sports and just let the game happen without putting much thought into it. 

It's what separates the also-rans from the contest winners. As AP shooter Amy Sancetta put it a few years ago at an ONPA seminar, there is being lucky and putting yourself in a position to be lucky. I think Hobby's column addresses the later. You don't need to do a first frame challenge to do that. Just challenge yourself.

Hobby hosts his own blog the Strobist which is a great resource for lighting issues.

I've added both of these blog sites to the Photo Blogs listing here for future reference just in case you're at a computer where they are not bookmarked. Both are good sources for lighting and Photoshop issues.

November Clip Results

Spot News
1st -Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, "Robbery Stop"
2nd Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, "Fatal Wreck Grief"
3rd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, "Boy Struck by Car"
HM Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, "Deer Ram"

General News
1st - Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer, "Tears for Obama"
2nd - Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal, " Fallen Soldier"
3rd - Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Dispatch, "Premie Baby"
HM - Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer, "Voting Toy Chase"
HM - Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer, "Fudge Jube"

Feature Single
1st - Neal C. Lauron. The Columbus Dispatch, "Parade Sucker"
2nd - Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch, "Boys carrying leaves"
3rd - Barbara Perenic, Springfield News-Sun, "Thanksgiving Meal"

1st - Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer, "Staph Amputee"
2nd - Kyle Lanzer, Sun Newspapers, "Grinch Sleigh"
3rd - Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch, "School Deputy"
HM - Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun, "Cutout Dad"

1st - Neal Lauron, The Columbus Dispatch, "Wells' Leap"
2nd - Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal, "Edwards' Missed Catch"
3rd - Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch, "Columbus Academy Jube"
HM - Barbara Perenic, Springfield News-Sun, "Mechanicsburg Dejection"

Feature Picture Story
1st - Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch, "Iraqis in America"
2nd - Neal Lauron, The Columbus Dispatch, "Coach With Cancer"
3rd - Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch, "Ping Pong"
HM - Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch, "Crew Wins MLS Cup"
HM - Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch, "Honor Flight"

Judges: From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Staff photographers - Stephen B. Thornton, Russell Powell, Chirs Dean, and Barry Arthur.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The digital photo frame: Buyer beware

No one told me, but I'm here for you, so you don't learn the dark secret of the digital photo frame the hard way.

My son was looking for a Christmas present for his mother a few weeks ago and also looking for suggestions to accomplish the task. He came to the old man looking for a tip. I said, "Why don't you get her a digital photo frame, they've come down in price, and mom's always asking where the vacation pictures are."

He liked the idea so we began the research phase. Like any good shopper we referred to the leading consumer magazine as they say in the advertisements. Well sure enough there they were, right in the most recent edition. Piece of cake. Read all about them and useful features to look out for. So my son heads out to Best Buy to take care of his end of the deal.

Now my dear departed mom always said, "Its not a present until its installed." Might be one of the few things my wife ever agreed with her on. Knowing this I figured we better load a few images on a disk so come Christmas morning we don't hear the dreaded retort.

Of course digital cameras weren't on the market before my son graduated high school, so any pictures of him, when he would be cute and cuddly are in print or negative form. So I wait for a time when my wife is away so I can get to the family archive.

I find a small box on top with prints used for my son's high school open house and head for the scanner. Add a few more files from the digital era and I'm done. It was about then that it hit me. It's her present, he bought it, but I'm doing all the work.

Well sure enough Christmas day rolls around and the frame is a hit. And for the record we did hear the "its not a present until its installed" line. Prepared like a boy scout I pull out the preloaded disk.

The frame is as easy to use as the magazine said and all is right in the world, at least for a few days. Well the starter disk was fine, but I'm reminded there are many more candidates in the big Rubbermaid containers that hold archive that will need added to the frame.

Now you know your in for trouble when the negatives from your then five year-olds big fish are in a box with a Jim Traficant for President press conference. This is the dark secret of the digital photo frame that the leading consumer magazine doesn't warn you about. Before any photos get into the frame, you've got to find them.

Should I just scan prints of go for the negatives? 

Well beggars can't be choosy. It'll have to be negs from that ten-day Seattle vacation because I never had it printed. Right now you're reading this in either disbelief or you're nodding your head up and down because you've done this before too.

I don't want to know how may hours I've already spent on this project. It’s been some time since I've looked at the old family photos and now it seems I'm spending as much time editing at home as I do at work.

This is the portfolio that really matters though. I purchased my first 35mm camera a few months before my son was born so I would could shoot, unbeknownst to me, my first long term project. At this point I didn't even know what a picture story even was, I just wanted to take some nice pictures and my Kodak 110 Instamatic wasn't cutting it. So it seems photo-wise things have come full circle. 

There have been some pleasant surprises searching the archives, finding photos I'd forgotten about and also some sadness as some of my subjects are no longer with us. There is no buyers remorse here. This project won't be done anytime soon, but I'm fine with that now. With another Ohio winter upon us it’s a good time to get this done. I'm overwhelmed at the task, but enjoying the journey.

I you haven't already done so get yourself one of these gadgets. Don't say I didn't warn you though. You are now armed with the dark secret about the digital photo frame. Don't let that stop you though.

After all pictures should be seen, not hidden in albums and boxes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dispatch series looks at death

A five-part series produced by The Columbus Dispatch launched yesterday and will run through Feb. 2.

The series examines death through the eyes a professionals who face it every day. Part one of the multimedia portion of the project looks at the subject with a trauma surgeon, paramedic, child mortality expert and a pediatric hospice nurse. Two new new installments will added each Monday for a total of 10 installments.

The online project has links to the print edition story and an interactive component to search a rather extensive database as well as the multimedia component. Credits listed for the project include: Mark D. Somerson, assistant city editor; Randy Walk, video producer; Doral Chenoweth III, photographer; Victor Black, database producer; Tim Meko, interactive Web producer and Jeremy Lynch, interactive Web producer

Click the link here to see "Death Perceptions"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chicago Tribune to redesign redesign

Readership for the print edition may be dwindling but in Chicago the shrinking masses have spoken and the powers that be at the Tribune have listened and are addressing complaints about its much heralded redesign.

The complaints must have been many and loud, more so than just a change in the comics page or the bridge column which always lights up the switchboard and fill editors e-mail in-boxes.  Almost without exception the reader takes it on the chin when the brass decides to find a new way to bolster sagging profit margins. 

Its heartening to see readers caring enough about what lands at their doorstep every morning and bring about change for the good, for a change.

Gorby wins AP national Photo of the Month

A feature photo by Marshall Gorby of the Springfield News-Sun has been selected by the Associated Press Managing Editors as its National November Member Showcase Picture of the Month. 

NPPA Region 4 November clip results

Spot News
1st - Marshall Gorby / Springfield News-Sun, “Fatal Accident”
2nd - Marshall Gorby / Springfield News-Sun, “Hands up”
3rd - Bill Lackey / Springfield News-Sun, “Sagging Ceiling”

General News
1st - Cory Morse / The Muskegon Chronicle, “Court reaction”
2nd - Jim Rider / South Bend Tribune, “Family”
3rd - Matt Detrich / The Indianapolis Star, “A "Dream" Come True”

Feature/Single Picture
1st - CoCo Walters, “Body Paint”
2nd - Scott Shaw / The Plain Dealer, “Pipe walk”
3rd - Charlie Nye / The Indianapolis Star "Veterans Day Parade"

Feature/Multiple Picture
1st - Cory Morse / The Muskegon Chronicle, “Karim's Journey”
2nd - Clayton Jackson / The Advocate Messenger, “Unbreakable”
3rd - Hilly Schiffer, “Homebirth”

1st - Denny Simmons / Evansville Courier & Press, “Success”
2nd - Matt Detrich / The Indianapolis Star, “Tough Loss”
3rd - Jim Rider / South Bend Tribune, “Picked Off”

Region 4 Top 10 point standings
1st - Matt Detrich/The Indianapolis Star - 782
2nd - David Stephenson/Lexington Herald Leader - 572
3rd - Ryan Garza/The Flint Journal - 552
4th - Marshall Gorby/Springfield News-Sun - 500
5th - Cory Morse/The Muskegon Chronicle - 420
6th - Charlie Nye/The Indianapolis Star - 392
7th - Erik Holladay/The Jackson Citizen-Patriot - 348
8th - Clayton Jackson/The Advocate Messenger - 322
9th - Barbara Perenic/Springfield News-Sun - 272
10th - Tracy Boulian/The Plain Dealer - 258

Click here to see the winning photos

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Herral Long retires from The Blade

ONPA's first still Photographer of the Year, Herral Long is retiring from The Blade after 58 plus years. Long reflected on his career in a story by Ryan E. Smith in The Blade on Sunday saying, “I’ve been, since early on, just mystified by the ability to just press a button and capture reality.”

The online version of the story also has a video by Andy Morrison. In the video Long said he probably photographed half the people in Toledo during his time at the paper. 

I'm not hear to challenge that statement but will add there have been many memorable images taken by Long.

Long showed some of his work at an ONPA convention not long ago and you could see his eyes just light up when he talked about photography. This wasn't some guy riding off into the sunset, there was still a lot of passion left.

I've got a feeling Herral will try to catch up to that other half of Toledo he hasn't got to yet.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pete Souza returns to White House

Pete Souza will return to the White House to chronicle Barack Obama's presidency according to an NPPA story. Souza, who has been teaching photojournalism at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication, knows what's in store as he was also a White House photographer during Ronald Reagan's second term in office. Souza has previously worked at the Chicago Sun Time and Tribune.

A slideshow of Souza's work from his Sport Shooter page of Obama on the campaign trail for an upcoming book. 

A link for a Chicago Tribune story with the news of Souza's new position.

Monday, January 5, 2009

News from The Columbus Dispatch

"Postcards from Columbus" is the theme of a new 2009 calendar featuring the work of Columbus Dispatch photographers. The images were part of a Columbus Day group project in which each photographer was asked to contribute at least one postcard-type image of Columbus. 

Eleven of the images ran in the newspaper's LIFE section, as well as one contribution from a reader. The newspaper's marketing department coordinated the calendar printing.  Click here to see the pages as the ran in the paper's LIFE seection.

Leonardo Carrizo is the newest intern in the photography department at The Columbus Dispatch. He is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but grew up in Cleveland. He is an Ohio State University graduate with a degree in International Studies and Spanish. Last year, he completed a Masters in photojournalism at Ohio University. As part of the masters project, he spent two summers in rural Ecuador documenting the living conditions of people at risk of Chagas disease. During summer 2008, he worked as a photo intern at the Houston Chronicle.