Friday, February 27, 2009

The final edition

Today's front page of the Rocky Mountain News carries an April 23, 1859 date and a look that mirrors it's beginnings nearly 150 years ago .

While today's front page goes back to it's roots the Rocky Mountain News also has a history of great photojournalism as well. A Poynter link to some memorable front pages of the Rocky with links to it's Pulitzer Prizes.

A very sad day in journalism.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dover photo ban to be lifted

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has decided to allow photographs of flag-draped caskets arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware as America's war dead return home as long as the families of the fallen troops agree, the Associated Press reports today. The ban was put in place in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.

The Dover Air Force Base is home to the military's largest mortuary facility. The bodies of killed American troops come back to the States through Dover before traveling on to hometowns and families.

Full story

Rocky Mountain News to publish final edition Friday

The Rocky Mountain News will publish its final edition on Friday. E. W. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne broke the news to employees in the newsroom at noon today, just two months short of it's 150th anniversary.

The Rocky Mountain News has been operating under a joint operating agreement with the Denver Post since 2001.

In the past ten years the newspaper has won four Pulitzer Prizes, three of them for photography. In 2006, photographer Todd Heisler won the Pulitzer for Feature Photography for "Final Salute," a year-long essay on America's war dead returning home for burial and honors.

In 2003, the photography staff won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for their coverage of Colorado's raging wildfires.

And in 2000, the photography staff won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for its coverage of the Columbine High School massacre.

Link to NPPA story

Link to Rocky Mountain News story

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rep readers question newspaper's redesign

The latest cuts in Canton at The Repository are not in staff but in the product itself. Top Repository editors have been hosting live chats on the newspaper's Web site in response to reader reaction to a redesign of the paper which debuted on Tuesday.

Several major changes have taken place in the repackaging of the paper. Page one has now been designed in billboard fashion primarily to tease inside content. For the first two days page one had only one story on it.

The newspaper's Living section has been eliminated and the Local section is being replaced by a new section called Your Life. The new section will be primarily one calendar page with canned material, obits, with citizen journalist copy within.

The content from the former Local section will now be rolled into the A section bumping most of the world, national and state news. The editorial page was shrunk to one page to make room for the local content.

The paper's Web site says, In remaking The Rep, our priorities were to “keep it local” and “make it better.” I'm not sure if readers agree from comments posted to the live chat.

Comment From Valerie
The layout is too "busy" to read easily. This is why our kids are so over-stimulated in that they can't concentrate on one thing. I'm a teacher and I didn't order text books like this for that reason. You can't stay focused on one topic with all the other short notes everywhere. I'm not renewing my subscription. I can find out what i want on line and not be confused with pictures and colors.

Comment From Valeta
I feel this is such a loss. There was ONE page of National and World news. How does one stay well-informed any more? The new format is basically a bulletin board.

Comment From dave s
Haven't seen the new print version but it can't be as bad as the new web site layout!!!

Comment From Doug
I have a question. If space and money is an issue in the newspaper then why are you guys cutting the national and international news a ton and still leaving almost a 1/2 a page to the TV listings? Your telling me your gonna cut news in a newspaper over TV listings?????

When a reader challenged the newspaper's spin on the subject of the news hole he was not given an answer. At first they said they didn't know the answer then said that they do know what the news hole is over a week, but that it was proprietary business info.

Circulation numbers will be the best measure of reader's acceptance. Stay tuned.

Katie Falkenberg takes 3rd in WHNP POY competition

Former ONPA member Katie Falkenberg of The Washington Times placed third in the White House News Photographers Association's Eyes of History 2009 Photographer of the Year competition.

Andrea Bruce of the Washington Post took top honors and Carol Guzy of the Washington Post placed second.

Falkenberg also won seven awards in the contest's single categories. She placed second in Feature, third in Domestic News, and won Awards of Excellence in the Portrait/Personality, Campaign 2008, On Capitol Hill, Domestic News, and Picture Story/News categories.

Another former ONPA member Haraz Ghanbari, won and Award of Excellence in the Pictorial category.

A complete list of the winners

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts on ONPA's 2008 Pictures of the Year

Some thoughts and observations following the annual still contest judging last weekend at Kent State University. It was not the most well attended judging, but the live streaming of the contest may have had something to do with that. For most of the day Saturday 8 - 10 people were viewing online taking advantage contest chairman Dave Polcyn's efforts.

Online viewing is no excuse for students at Kent State. They stayed away in droves until late in the day Saturday and missed a great learning opportunity. ONPA brought the judging to the university for this purpose. The support staff at the university couldn't be better hosts and the facility is state of the art. Perhaps it is time to look at a new location. It doesn't seem right to burden university staff with our event if the students aren't going to participate.

We started a little earlier than normal on Friday and the judging process went smoothly. We never had that feeling of we're never going to get done. There was plenty of time for judges to articulate their opinions and for those watching to interact with the judges between categories. The early start also made it possible for results and galleries to be posted live.

This was the first year using Photo Mechanic as contest judging software. It worked well, but some changes will be needed next year as to what information photographers put where in the file info fields.

Judges Jim Brown, Matt Detrich and Smiley Pool worked well as a team. That means they didn't always agree with each other, but worked through their differences to form a consensus. As an aside if you ever get the chance to meet Smiley Pool, feel free to ask him about his name. He gets the question often, its a good story, he likes to share it and I'm not giving it up because I can't tell it as good as he can.

Every year the judges have a few questions for us regarding the rules and categories. Two that seem to be commented on consistently are why we don't have some sort of sports portfolio category and why we have a split spot news category based on circulation. Both are issues worth looking at.

While I'm all for combining the spot news category, it might be worth considering a split in the Photographer of the Year category. There is some excellent work being done at smaller papers by photographers carrying a heavy load at some less than glamorous assignments. This is a world void of professional or big-time college sports and little time to work on a long-term story. It's clearly not a level playing field at the end of the year. It is done at the national level, the idea at least merits discussion.

It might very well also be time to make it mandatory that POY entries include at least one video, audio slideshow or multimedia entry. It would create some problems judging, but considering where we are going as an industry sooner or later this change will be needed to reflect the work we do as journalists.

Looking over the results of the picture story and online journalism winners many of the same stories appears on both lists. It seems separate judging panels had similar views on what were good story telling images.

There were quite a few images this year entered in the wrong category. You see this happening a lot with features and pictorials, features and portraits, features and general news. The feature category is not a trashcan for 'where do I enter this'. There were at least ten photos that were eliminated in the process that the judges openly stated would have been among the finalists had they been entered in the proper category.

The sports action category was not the most heated debate of the day, but without a doubt the longest. The judges’ dilemma centered on two photos of Cleveland Indians' center fielder Grady Sizemore crashing into the outfield wall. While the frames were cropped differently, Chuck Crow of The Plain Dealer and Tony Dejak of the Associated Press shot the images at the exact same moment.

The debate was almost a contest in itself. In the end the judges gave both pictures an award of excellence. The judges felt that both the images would be among their top picks if their clone wasn't there, so both should be rewarded rather than cancel each other out. The moment captured a third win after the category was completed when I shared my edited crop of Tony Dejak's version. Judges gave me a picture-editing award of excellence. Somehow I don't think I'm getting a plaque for that win.

In a strange twist in the Campaign '08 category no images of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain or Sarah Palin were among the winners. The only politician that made the final cut was the man whose record everyone was running against, then sitting president George W. Bush.

A photo of Bush appearing on a video screen at the Republican national convention by Lisa Marie Miller of The Columbus Dispatch was one of the two. The other was by Photographer of the Year, Lisa DeJong whose image of Bush stopping on the campaign trail to greet a woman on her 91st birthday won first place in the category and was included in her portfolio.

There were two stories that stood out to me. Lisa DeJong's James R. Gordon Ohio Understanding winner, "Survivor's Journey" and Michael E. Keating's story about Dustin Carter, who wrestles despite having lost portions of all of his limbs. The two stories never went head-to-head, as Keating did not enter the Ohio Understanding category.

It should come as no surprise that Andrea Levy of The Plain Dealer swept the issue illustration category. She has peers, but no rivals.

The final debate of the day among the judges was the Best of Show category. Many years this is a slam dunk, but not so this year. Final contenders were Keating's wrestling story, a weather pictorial by Karl Kuntz of The Columbus Dispatch and the eventual winning single image of wrestler Dustin Carter shot by Andy Morrison of The (Toledo) Blade. See the image in the post below.

Finally thanks to Gary and Carole Harwood for opening their home to ONPA following the judging. It was an enjoyable evening. Those who stayed late got a sneak peek at a project about literacy in Cuba recently undertaken by Gary that already has some wonderful images in it. It’s got Ohio Understanding entry written all over it when it’s completed.

And so it goes - remember your best picture should be one you haven't taken yet, not the one you just won an award for.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lisa DeJong of The Plain Dealer wins POY title

Lisa DeJong from The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer has been chosen ONPA Ohio News Photographer of the Year for 2008. Finishing second was Michael E. Keating from the Cincinnati Enquirer and third was Gus Chan from The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

DeJong also won the James R. Gordon Ohio Understanding Award for her entry "Survivor's Journey" which told the story of a rape victim's journey to find out about the life of her attacker.

Diego James Robles from Ohio University won the Student Photographer of the Year award.

Best of Show was won by Andy Morrison for his image of Hillsboro wrestler Dustin Carter competing at the state tournament despite having lost parts of all of his limbs.

Contest results and galleries of all of Fridays winning images are posted on the ONPA Web site. Click on the 2008 Pictures of the Year link for a complete winners list and galleries. 

Galleries for picture story and portfolio winners are quite large and will take 30 seconds or so to load so be patient.

Quick link to results from the annual still contest judging. A video of the judging can be viewed with this link

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ONPA Online Photojournalism Results

Contest results for the ONPA online photojournalism portion of the annual contest are now complete and you can now view all the winning projects by scrolling to the bottom of the linked results page. 

Student fires gun inside Willoughby South High
Best News Video
1st, David I. Andersen, The Plain Dealer, "Student fires gun inside Willoughby South High"
2nd, Michael Keating, Cincinnati Enquirer, "Memorial video"

Best Sports Video
1st, Dale Omori, The Plain Dealer, "Wrestling coaches get a workout from the sidelines"

Best Feature Video
1st, Michael Keating, Cincinnati Enquirer, "Flyboy"
2nd, Randy Walk, The Columbus Dispatch, "Pressing Vinyl"
3rd, Amy Sancetta, Associated Press, "Sextuplet Mom"

News Audio Slideshow
1st, Chris Russell, The Columbus Dispatch, "The Ones Left Behind"

Sports Audio Slideshow
1st, Andrea Kjerrumgaard, The Columbus Dispatch, "The Fight"
2nd, Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch, "Life on the Frontier"
3rd, Tracy Boulian, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, "Their Own Field of Dreams"

Feature Audio Slideshow
1st, Gus Chan, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, "Fixing Mr. Fix-it"
2nd, Lisa DeJong, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, "Family Circus Built on Tradition"
3rd, Mark Duncan, Associated Press' "100 Burials"

Multimedia Project
1st, Randy Walk, The Columbus Dispatch, "Buster Douglas: Then and Now"
Team participants: Randy Walk, Jeremy Lynch, Tim Meko and Mike Wagner
2nd, Shari Lewis and Randy Walk, The Columbus Dispatch, "Test of Convictions" Team participants: Shari Lewis, Randy Walk, Tim Meko and Tom Baker
3rd, Abigail Bobrow, Sandusky Register, "Fallen Sons"
Award of Excellence, Carrie Cochran, Cincinnati Enquirer, "The Changing Face of Butler County"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Still contest judging can be viewed live online

Can't make it to the judging of the annual ONPA Pictures of the Year competition this week at Kent State University? No problem.

Thanks to the efforts of contest chairman Dave Polcyn and the News Journal in Mansfield we will be streaming the judging both days on the News Journal Web site. Click on this link to view. Look in the news updates column in the center of the News Journal home page for the link. When you click on it, it will take you to a story with the viewer embedded. The link in the news updates area won't be active until we start streaming.

Additional judging details can be found on the ONPA home page or on this blog.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Video sharing agreement between WKYC and WOIO in Cleveland

First it was newspapers finding creative ways to share content, now two Cleveland television stations have gotten into the act as well. NBC affiliate WKYC and CBS affiliate WOIO in Cleveland will pool video coverage from pre-planned events.

A story on the WKYC Web site says this will allow both stations to cover more stories, while keeping the focus on content unique for their stations and their brands. Dan Salamone, WOIO News Director says in the story, "Viewers at both stations will get more stories, but each newsroom still keeps the editorial independence to write and report those stories in its own way".

If anyone believes viewers will get more stories from this arrangement I've got some stocks I'd like to sell them. There are only so many stories you can put in a newscast, this is all about cutting cost and jobs. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Neal Lauron wins third clip title

Neal C. Lauron of The Columbus Dispatch has won his third ONPA Clip Photographer of the Year title. No suspense here, Lauron didn't have any wins in December, but he didn't need any with a 350 point lead going into the final month.

The race for second place was won by Lauron's co-worker Fred Squillante who picked up a first place win in illustration and a HM in feature to put 50 points between himself and Marshall Gorby who finished in third place.

December Results

Spot News
1st - Barbara J. Perenic, Springfield News-Sun, “Wreck”
2nd - Tom Dodge, The Columbus Dispatch, “Hilltop Mystery”
3rd - James DeCamp, The Columbus Dispatch, “Fire”
HM - James DeCamp, The Columbus Dispatch, “Firefighters”
HM - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, ”Utility Rescue”

General News
1st - Tom Dodge, The Columbus Dispatch, ”Not Guilty”
2nd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, “Vigil”
3rd - Wayne Thomas, The Morning Journal, “Goodbyes”
HM - Andrew Dolph, The Medina Gazette, “Troops Home”
HM - Lisa Dejong, The Plain Dealer, “Silent Night”

Feature Single
1st - Jeff Hinckley, The Columbus Dispatch, “Practice Swing”
2nd - Tracy Boulian, The Plain Dealer, “Teacher”
3rd - David Rea, This Week Newspapers, “Deer Kiss”
HM - Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch, “City Sidewalks”
HM - Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Dispatch, “Casting Call of Wild”

1st - Chris Russell,The Columbus Dispatch, “Off the Streets”
2nd - Chris Russell, The Columbus Dispatch, “Historic Church”
3rd - Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch, “Living Free”
HM - Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal, “New School”
HM - Chris Russell, The Columbus Dispatch, “Nutcracker”

1st - Tracy Boulian, The Plain Dealer, “Lebron’s Puff”
2nd - Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch, “Goalie Save”
3rd - Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal, “Braylon Edwards”
HM - Mike Cardew, Akron Beacon Journal, “Ball Scramble”
HM - Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch, “Blocked Shot”

Feature Picture Story
1st - Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer, “ Fixing Mr. Fix-it”
2nd - Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch, “Robert McClendon”
3rd - Mike Cardew, Akron Beacon Journal, “Rev. Winters”

4th qtr Illustration
1st - Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch, “Radishes”
2nd - Bob Rossiter, The Repository, “Balanced”
3rd - Scott Shaw, The Plain Dealer, “Living Free”

Judges: From The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La) - Photo editors Kevin Martin and Karen Doerr and photographers Bill Feig and Travis Spradling

Final point standings 2008
1st - Neal Lauron, The Columbus Dispatch - 974
2nd - Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch - 684
3rd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun - 634
4th - Lisa Dejong, The Plain Dealer - 524
5th - Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch - 494
Chris Russell, The Columbus Dispatch - 494
7th - Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Dispatch - 394
Jeff Hinckley, The Columbus Dispatch - 394
9th - Tom Dodge, The Columbus Dispatch - 374
10th - Bill Lackey, Springfield News Sun - 344
Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal - 344
12th - Ken Love, Akron Beacon Journal - 328
13th - Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer - 318
14th - Gus Chan, The Plain Dealer - 292
Marvin Fong, The Plain Dealer - 292
16th - Tracy Boulian, The Plain Dealer - 282
17th - Kyle Robertson, The Columbus Dispatch - 254
18th - Barbara Perenic, Springfield News-Sub - 232
19th - Andrea Kjerrumgarrd, The Columbus Dispatch - 220
20th - Jim Noelker, Dayton Daily News - 188
21st - James DeCamp, The Columbus Dispatch - 176
22nd - Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer - 158
Wayne Thomas, The Morning Journal - 158
24th - Bob Rossiter, The Repository - 148
25th - Scott Heckel, The Repository - 134
26th - Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer - 118
27th - John Kuntz, The Plain Dealer - 106
28th - Chuck Humel, Elyria Chronicle - 104
29th - Roadell Hickman, The Plain Dealer - 102
30th - Kyle Lanzer, Sun Newspapers - 92
31st - Abigail Bobrow, Sandusky Register - 88
32nd - Tim Revell, Freelance - 80
Peggy Turbett, The Plain Dealer - 80
34th - Adam Cairns, ThisWeek Newspapers - 76
Mark Duncan, Associated Press - 76
Lisa Powell, Dayton Daily News - 76
37th - Bob DeMay, Akron Beacon Journal - 58
Teesha McClam, Dayton Daily News - 58
39th - Ron Alvey, Dayton Daily News - 56
Mike Cardew, Akron Beacon Journal - 56
David Rea, This Week Newspapers - 56
Patricia Schaeffer, The Morning Journal - 56
Chris Stewart, Dayton Daily News - 56
44th - Lew Stamp, Akron Beacon Journal - 52
45th - Jason Werling, Sandusky Register - 48
46th - Karen Schiely, Akron Beacon Journal - 46
47th - Scott Shaw, The Plain Dealer - 44
48th - Dan Trittschuh, Suburban News Publications - 32
49th - Lorrie Cecil, ThisWeek Newspapers - 30
50th - Paul Tople, Akron Beacon Journal - 24
51st - Karen Carter, Freelance - 16
Anna Norris, The Morning Journal - 16
53rd - Kirk Irwin, The The The Columbus Dispatch - 14

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gus Chan's prequel to the Word Press winner

Plain Dealer photographer Gus Chan didn't strike gold and take top honors in the World Press photo competition, but he didn't strike out either. Though the facts are he swung first.

Friday's headlines drew attention once again to Cleveland's foreclosure crisis when Anthony Suau won the World Press Photo of the Year for his image of Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Deputy Robert Cole clearing a foreclosed home in Cleveland for a Time magazine story.

Suau's photo is of the very same detective captured in a similar circumstance months before by Plain Dealer photographer Gus Chan. Chan's story was shot in 2007 and published in January of 2008. The image was part of a story that placed first in General News in the 2007 ONPA annual picture contest.  (Slideshow link) 

A link to The Plain Dealer's original story by Phillip Morris about detective Robert Cole with an audio slideshow by Chan.

There's no sour grapes coming from The Plain Dealer. Director of photography Bill Gugliotta tells Photo District News that the staff sends congratulations to Suau and thanks him for shedding more light on the crisis in Cleveland.

Friday, February 13, 2009

World Press top prize shot in Cleveland

A photo of Cuyahoga County Sheriff's detective Robert Kole searching a home in Cleveland to ensure evicted residents had left the premises following a mortgage foreclosure was awarded the top prize in the World Press Photo competition. The photo was taken by Anthony Suau for Time magazine.

The image was part of a story that placed second in the Daily Life category of the contest and documented the housing market collapse and foreclosure crisis in Cleveland.

In an interview published by Photo District News Online Suau said he pleaded with Time to run the essay.  Time never printed the  finished project and the photos ran on In a strange twist, Suau himself is caught in the economic crisis and may have to leave his own home.

Plain Dealer staff puts Mark II 5D into action

In a relative short time frame the Plain Dealer photography staff has turned from being still photographers to visual journalists thanks to the new Canon Mark II 5D.

Plain Dealer director of photography Bill Gugliotta shares his thoughts about the newspaper's efforts in making the transition.

The Plain Dealer has taken a giant leap forward in producing video for its host web site  In January, each still photographer received a Canon Mark II 5D, a Sennheiser shotgun microphone, and a copy of Final Cut Express for their laptops.  Deputy director of photography/multimedia Dale Omori is conducting ongoing training and Canon representative Mary Mannix spent time with the staff going over the camera's features.  

World Doctors Orchestra comes to Cleveland

We realize that the Mark II 5D is not a video camera, but we feel it gives us video capability on any assignment we choose at a reasonable cost.  Equipping a photographer with a Mark II kit costs abut $3,200, while a video kit costs about $7,000.  We think it's an excellent way to produce "quick hit" videos and increasing our video output.  Eventually, we think it will be just another storytelling tool for our staff and the possibilities are exciting.

We still have three staffers who use the Canon XHA1 HD video camera exclusively.   And now that others on the staff can shoot video, they are free to explore more in-depth stories with a cinematic, narrative approach.  In addition, we also have trained about a dozen reporters to shoot video with Sanyo HD point-and-shoot video cameras.  In January, photographers and reporters produced 79 videos that encompassed the full spectrum of news, sports, features and entertainment.  That number should increase in the coming months.

We've been pleased with the results so far.  While there are limitation with focusing and exposure, the HD video quality of the Mark II 5Ds is outstanding.  It's a great still camera, too, and several photographers are using it as their main body.  One of the hardest aspects of the transition has been integrating the video assignments and editing into our workflow, but that's an issue we're resolving with smarter scheduling. 

Here are some of the videos shot with the Mark II 5D:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

AP new distributor for NCAA photography

The NCAA and Associated Press have inked a three year agreement which will make AP the worldwide distributor of NCAA Championship photography. 

An Editor & Publisher story says that under the agreement, AP Images will serve as the NCAA's exclusive photo licensing agent, including retail sales of archival photos, for all NCAA Championships and events.

According to a NPPA story consumers will be able to buy photographs online at and on the Web site.

Star Tribune to pay severance despite bankruptcy

An update to an earlier posting about severance payments to former employees at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled in favor of the Star Tribune's motion to pay in full its severance obligations to 43 former employees who left the company last summer and fall, and whose remaining severance payments were capped by statute at $10,950.

NPPA seeks an end to Dover photography ban

NPPA has formerly requested to the White House that the ban be lifted on photographing America's war dead returning to this country at Dover Air Force base. The base is the military's largest mortuary facility and is located in Dover, Delaware. The question of lifting the ban was also addressed in President Barack Obama's prime-time press conference Monday.

"NPPA wholeheartedly supports the removal of restrictions on media coverage of the flag-draped coffins coming in to Dover Air Force Base – be it by Executive Order or by passage of Fallen Hero Commemoration Act," NPPA's President Bob Carey wrote yesterday to the President.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New rules for NPPA clip contest

NPPA members who enter the organization's monthly news clip contest (MNCC) are encouraged to visit the NPPA website to review the new rules announced for the contest. The January contest is now open for entries. Entries will be accepted through the end of February 11th (midnight PST), to give entrants a few extra days to update their entries in light of the new rules for 2009. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Amtrak spoof does its job

The NPPA and Amtrak have been been at odds recently over the railroad's policies towards photography. The issue was brought to light on the Cobert Report recently which was written about in a story on the NPPA Web site.

I was aware of the Colbert video, but hadn't had the time to actually view it. When the link was forward to me again (with my daily dose of jokes from co-worker Paul Tople)  I gave it a look see. The video does a great job of shining a light where it is needed. (Note: video starts after a three second Comedy Central logo loads)

It comes up short in lauding NPPA's efforts to correcting this issue, but that was clearly not the mission here. I think everyone of us has been accosted by the "camera police" at one time or another while trying to do our jobs. NPPA has taken a lot of grief in recent years over a myriad of issues from its critics, but the issue of access clearly is not one of them. This is an area where NPPA shines.

I'm sure there are many photographers in Ohio who see a headline over an access issue and think Amtrak, subways, etc, don't pertain to me, but in the big picture they clearly do. In the Amtrak case it took comedy to bring the matter to the attention of the masses. In time perhaps this will filter down and other people will "get it" and we won't need to deal with the camera police on a routine basis.

We all know there are too many people besides our editors who are telling us where to go.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

AP to hold multimedia workshop

The Associated Press is hosting a Multimedia Workshop Saturday, March 7, at the Crowne Plaza - Columbus North. Cost for the daylong seminar is $40, which includes breakfast and lunch.

The event is sponsored by the Ohio AP, Associated Press Society of Ohio, Ohio AP Broadcasters, Ohio Association of Broadcasters and the Online Newspaper Association. The deadline to register is Monday, March 2. Contact Patti Baker at the Columbus AP bureau if you have questions. She can be reached at 614-885-2727 or

Tribune Chronicle memories

Another photographer is victim to newspaper downsizing as Steve Schenck has been laid off at Tribune Chronicle leaving one full time photographer, R. Michael Semple holding down the fort in Warren. Schenck had been at the paper for quite some time and  previosuly worked at the Morning Journal in Lisbon.

This is another sad turn for a newspaper that once had a staff whose names littered the top ten standings of the NPPA Region 4 and ONPA clip contests. The descent has been slow as the newspaper went from the local ownership of Helen Hart Hurlburt to the hands of Ingersoll to Thompson to Ogden. Apologies if I missed an owner or two in there. 

Mike Semple is the lone survivor from the glory days of the Trib. He followed his father's footsteps to work at the paper. In the 80's the staff also included, Bill Lewis, Steve Ilko, Rob Engehardt, Ed Suba, Jr. and Fred Squillante, who was the new kid on the block at the time. They were followed in later years by the likes of Steve Rosenberg and Gary Green with students Luis Sanchez and Apryl Pilolli getting their first taste of journalism there as well. 

Although a mid-sized paper, Warren was not mid-sized in talent. Ilko was an ONPA POY while at the paper, Suba a three-time POY at the Beacon Journal and Squillante went on to win a POY title at The Columbus Dispatch. All of the other names on the list went on to work at much larger properties including the late Steve Deslich who was a photo editor for KRT and MCT in Washington D.C..

It is sad to see for me as the Trib was the competition, and a measuring stick for me as I broke into the business. While Semple is the last one standing at the Trib, I can only wonder what his late father would think about the demise of a paper with such rich photojournalism history.

Inaugural observations from Neal Lauron

Columbus Dispatch photographer Neal C. Lauron was part of the Dispatch team in Washington D.C. covering the recent inauguration of Barack Obama.

While there for four days Lauron made his first run at blogging, sharing his thoughts on covering the historic event with readers on the Dispatch Web site. 

Growing up in the Philippines he has a different perspective than those of us who have only witnessed the transition of power as being a peaceful process.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Troy, Piqua and Sidney drop Tuesday editions

Brown Publishing Co. is eliminating Tuesday print editions at the Troy Daily News, Piqua Daily Call and the Sidney Daily News according to an AP story. The weak economy is to blame for the cuts which start next week.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

ONPA Web site gets long overdue makeover

Updates to this blog were minimal during the past week as my attention was turned to the ONPA Web site which was in major need of updating.

While the blog will continue to be home for industry news and clip contest updates, the ONPA Web site will be all things ONPA.

Resource links from this blog have been added to the Web site and broken links to other content repaired. Links for past years contest results and newsletters have been reestablished. The archived content now goes back to 1998.

The site is not laden with lots of bells and whistles - perhaps the glitz will come in time. Right now all that can be said is the information on the site should be easy to find and navigate. Be patient as I learn yet another new skill.

Kent State to host ONPA still contest judging

Judging for the annual ONPA still contest will take place Friday & Saturday, Feb 20 & 21 at Franklin Hall on the campus of Kent State University. Judging should get underway by 9:30 am both days. If you did not attend last year this location is different than in years past at Kent so refer to the directions below.

Judging this year's contest will be Smiley Pool from The Dallas Morning News, Matt Detrich from the Indianapolis Star, and Jim Brown, executive associate dean of the Indiana University School of Journalism.

Results will be posted on the ONPA blog as soon as they are available. Results will not be sent to AP unless until we also have the winners in the multimedia contest available to us.

A post-judging gathering with the judges will take place at the home of Gary and Carol Harwood on Saturday. Directions will be available at the judging.

Click for directions and a map of the area around Franklin Hall