Friday, May 29, 2009

March clip contest results

The March monthly still clip contest results are in. Marshall Gorby, Bill Lackey, Chris Russell, Eric Albrecht, Adam Cairns and Sheri Lewis were all first place winners in March. Russell is still in first place with 214 points, followed by Gorby with 176, Tracy Boulian with 116 and Eric Albrecht with 114.

The point totals below do not include February results which apparently are being held hostage by Cory Dellenbach of the Shawano Leader in Wisconsin who said they were completed and would be shipped April 26. We were told the same thing on May 22. Anybody see a pattern here.

We are not alone in the clip contest judging dilemma. The January results for the NPPA Monthly Clip Contest have been released in only four of the twelve regions, and this using an online system for entering and judging which was supposed to eliminate this sort of thing.

A slideshow of the winners will be posted as soon as all the images are submitted.

Spot News
1st - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, “Fire Scene” 
2nd - Paul Tople, Akron Beacon Journal, “Standoff” 
3rd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun, “Fire Scene” 

General News
1st - Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun , “Family Member Touched Coffin” 
2nd - Karen Schiely, Akron Beacon Journal, “Goodbye Chad” 
3rd - Tom Dodge, The Columbus Dispatch, “Mistrial” 
HM - Barbara J. Perenic, Springfield News-Sun, “Flower at Coffin”

1st - Chris Russell, The Columbus Dispatch, “Lustron House” 
2nd - Karen Schiely, Akron Beacon Journal, “Reflected Image” 
3rd - Leonardo Carrizo, The Columbus Dispatch, “On the keyboards” 

1st - Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Dispatch, “Dog Lick” 
2nd - Andy Morrison, Toledo Blade, “Sunset” 
3rd - Jeff Hinckley, The Columbus Dispatch, “Red Umbrella” 
HM - David Rea, This Week Newspapers, “Slimed” 
HM - Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun, “Destroy Nurses Station” 

1st - Adam Cairns, This Week Newspapers, “State Champ” 
2nd - Tracy Boulian, The Plain Dealer, “LeBron Comforts” 
3rd - Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal, “Bball Wrestling” 
HM - Kyle Lanzer, Sun Newspapers, “Gymnasts Waiting” 

Picture Story
1st - Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch, “Released from prison”
2nd - Neal C. Lauron, The Columbus Dispatch, “Wrestling Finals” 
3rd - Scott Shaw, The Plain Dealer, St Patty’s Day” 
HM - Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Dispatch, “Sending Help

Top 10 Point standings 
1st - Chris Russell, The Columbus Dispatch - 214
2nd - Marshall Gorby, Springfield News-Sun -176
3rd - Tracy Boulian, The Plain Dealer -116
4th - Eric Albrecht, The Columbus Disptch - 114
5th - Barbara Perenic, Springfield News-Sun, 96
6th - Scott Shaw, The Plain Dealer - 86
7th - Kyle Lanzer, Sun Newspapers - 76
8th - Phil Masturzo, Akron Beacon Journal - 74
9th - Karen Schiely, Akron Beacon Journal - 72
10th - Bill Lackey, Springfield News-Sun - 66
            Shari Lewis, The Columbus Dispatch - 66

Full standings available on the ONPA Web Site

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Remembering Ramón Owens

Our sympathy to the family and friends of Ray Owens, who worked with many of us in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He died last Thursday of a heart attack in Oregon, where he had recently moved. He was 48. His obituary follows…

Ramón Mena Owens
Nov. 3, 1960-May 21, 2009

Ramón Mena Owens passed away May 21, 2009, of a heart attack. His friends and family are shocked and saddened and trying to find a way to smile through this grief, knowing he is at peace… and that Ramón was always so loving and happy that he would want nothing but smiles. His big heart, kind eyes, and warm smile were his calling card in this life, and he had the remarkable gift of actually being able to see people as only a photojournalist could and empathize with them. He also knew how to love, forgive, joke, and laugh. He was a wonderful soul who will be missed; his heart was as big as the sky, but God made it weak so that he would not suffer the world’s cruelties which baffled him, like war and poverty, or lesser fools for too long.

Ramón was born in Tillamook, Oregon, where his father was stationed in the Air Force. Ramón had recently returned to Oregon and was living in Bend with dear friends, where he was starting an environmental journalism reporting web site. He told his friend Matthew it felt as if he was going home.

After his birth and a few years in Oregon, Ramón’s family returned to Madrid, Spain, where Ramón grew up under the regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. He spent many a happy day in “el campo,” as he called it—the village of Andujar in Jaen, which was the birthplace of his mother. Andujar was home in his heart, but he had many homes in his heart, and in the end, home was where his friends and family were. He was a traveler and a free spirit.

As a child in Spain, Ramón said he felt left out because he was not allowed to join the “Boy Scouts” with the other little boys. When he was older Ramón learned that the organization was for young fascists and he was excluded because he was American. He had a good chuckle over that. Ramón retained a deep affinity for Spain his whole life, spoke fluent Spanish, and even considered getting a Spanish citizenship over the past few years. He returned to Spain in 2000 after not seeing his family for more than 20 years. It was a thrilling and happy time for him to reunite with his numerous cousins and devoted Aunt, Joaquina.

Ramón was a veteran of the Navy, which he called “the Nav,” and he would have smiled knowing he died on Memorial Day Weekend. He was stationed in Key West, Florida. He attended Cuyahoga County Community College in Cleveland, Ohio and Ohio University School of Journalism in Athens, Ohio. Prior to becoming a photojournalist, he was a trained electrician, and wired navigation equipment for Navy jets.

After becoming a photojournalist, Ramón excelled. He traveled to El Salvador and Honduras in the 1980s, starting a career in international journalism and hardening his resolve against war and for peace. Injustice bit at him, and he was driven to document that and make the world a better place. Ramón won numerous awards in his lifetime, including a Best of Gannett Award in 2005 for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina, an AP Photographer of the Year Award in Ohio, a Ford environmental photography fellowship from the International Center for Journalists in Ecuador (2003), and a Knight Fellowship in Armenia (2003). He also earned fellowships in environmental journalism from the Society for Environmental Journalists in Baltimore, Maryland, and Atlanta, Georgia. His work appears in the Smithsonian Museum of American History from the Americanos project, in which he documented the lives of Hispanics in America; and several book projects, including a book about The Ohio State University, Americanos, and a book about Ecuador’s wildlife and ecosystems.

Ramón started his career as an intern at The Boston Globe, went on to work as an intern and then a photojournalist at The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, before heading to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In 1998 he moved to Colorado and started a full-time freelance photography business. In 2004 Ramón was the photo editor at the Greeley (Colorado) Tribune. He volunteered for the Navajo Times, and had a deep affinity for Native peoples, their traditions, and beliefs. In 2005 he headed to Palm Springs, California, where he worked for the Desert Sun and covered Hurricane Katrina, the wildfires and their impact on the people and wildlife of the desert, and homelessness in the California desert communities. Ramón then worked as a photographer in Riverside, California, at the Press-Enterprise. After downsizing last September there, Ramón started Back in Green, a blog for environmental reportage. The earth and the environment were big concerns for Ramón, and he headed to Bend in his hybrid car to build Back in Green and bring attention to the environmental issues facing the world to try to effect change.

Ramón was preceded in death by his father, Amos Owens, a paternal uncle Ross, a paternal aunt Nelly, his paternal grandparents, a maternal aunt Maria in Spain and his maternal grandparents. He is survived by his mother, Mercedes Owens, Maple Heights, Ohio, and his younger brother and his wife, Francisco Owens and Camille Evans, Los Angeles, and their daughter and Ramón’s niece, Sophie. He is also survived in Spain by his Tia (Aunt) Joaquina, his Tio Antonio, and numerous cousins and second cousins.

Ramón’s father was of African-American and Seminole heritage. Ramón was thrilled when Barack Obama won the presidency and wished his father had lived to see that historic moment. We are all glad that Ramón did.

Ramón enjoyed hiking, running, and biking, in his words, “on trails overlooking mountain views.” He adored animals and the companionship of his dog, Lilly, sustained him. After her death he spent time volunteering at a local animal shelter in Palm Desert. He loved music and reading, and died in love with life and doing what he loved. We can all find solace in that.

On his facebook page he wrote “About Me: On the path to find the goodness and meaning to this life.” His favorite quote was an Irish blessing: “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

After a cremation in Oregon, a private memorial service is being held in Los Angeles, California. Memorial services are being organized in Palm Desert, Ohio, and Colorado and arrangements are pending.

Ramón was an advocate for the homeless, animals and was touched by the plight of Hurricane Katrina victims. Donations to local homeless shelters or food kitchens, The Humane Society, and the American Red Cross would honor Ramón’s memory.

Friends and family are creating a tribute site for Ramón. In the meantime you can share your memories of Ramón by becoming a fan at Ramon Mena Owens: A Tribute in Green on facebook.

May we all work to create the goodness and meaning that Ramón sought in life. Godspeed.

You can see Ramon’s work at, and on the Press Enterprise Web site

Link to an additional obituary on

The Shot - The Original

Former Akron Beacon Journal photographer Ott Gangl reminds us all of how the unexpected can happen, especially when photographing sports.

Gangl was covering the Cavs - Bulls playoff game when Michael Jordan hit the shot that Cleveland Cavaliers fans and basketball historians will never forget. 

Only seconds earlier Gangl shot what he thought was the game winner by the Cavs' Craig Ehlo. He left his position to go to the other end of the floor during a timeout to shoot Cleveland celebration photos. In anticipation of that Gangl put on a wide angle lens. It wasn't his intention but it resulted in a story telling image that included the scoreboard.

The rest as they say is history. 

Lesson of the day - expect the unexpected

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Shot - The Sequel

With apologies to Gary Harwood I'm tired of seeing him taking Michael Jordan's picture after "the shot"  at the Coliseum in Richfield. Of course as a  Cleveland sports fan the scene is burned into my brain after all these years. Perhaps "The Chosen One" has now eased my pain. 

I may still need to see Jordan's shot from time to time but at least now it will probably be shown with LeBron James buzzer beater against the Orlando Magic in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

If you missed the game you had to have lived under a rock Saturday not to have seen the sequel to "The Shot".  ESPN couldn't go more than 10 minutes without replaying it and every newspaper in Northeast Ohio has some version of it on the front page.

I happened to be working the picture desk Friday night and a roar went up in the newsroom when the ball ripped through the net.

We weren't the only newsroom that erupted as the clock struck zero. ABC affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland happened to be signing off their 11 pm newscast when LeBron hit the shot. Even the video of this was shown as part of  the ESPN LeBron mini series Saturday. I won't ruin it for you if you haven't seen it. Its short but sweet.

Enjoy and  Go Cavs

Friday, May 22, 2009

First quarter television results and winning videos

Photographers from WBNS-TV in Columbus captured all but two of the places in the first quarter of the ONPA Television Quarterly Clip Contest. 

Jeff Ritter from WBNS is the points leader after the first quarter. Only three points behind in second are Nate Van Sickle from WBNS and Billy Muhhamed from WJW-TV in Cleveland.

Contest chairman David Bradford reminds all the the deadline for second quarter entries is July 15.

First quarter results

Spot News

1st - Nate Van Sickle, WBNS-TV, "New Year's Loss" 

2nd - Jeff Ritter, WBNS-TV, "I was expecting the worst" 

3rd - Steve Maguire, WBNS-TV, "Historic Arson Victim" 

General News

1st - Jeff Ritter, WBNS-TV, "Even if we're bored to death, we'll wait" 

2nd - Steve Maguire, WBNS-TV, "Rebuilding Kids Lives" 

3rd - Nate Van Sickle, WBNS-TV, "I'm not a football fan"
HM - Rich Yedlicka, WBNS-TV, "Reynoldsburg Basketball Player dies" 

News Feature
1st - Billy Muhammed, WJW-TV, "Dan's New Job"
2nd - Bill Reagan, WBNS-TV, "OHP Ticket Quota"
3rd - Billy Muhammed, WJW-TV, "Job Fair"
1st - Jeff Ritter, WBNS-TV - 20pts
2nd - Nate Van Sickle, WBNS-TV - 17pts
3rd - Billy Muhammed, WJW-TV - 17pts
4th - Steve Maguire, WBNS-TV -14pts
5th - Bill Reagan, WBNS-TV - 8pts
6th - Rich Yedlicka, WBNS-TV - 2pts

Judged at WNDU-TV, South Bend, Indiana

Who is that man in the pink boxers

Even the headline on the New York Times' Lens blog pokes a little fun at the situation. Behind the Scenes: Man in the Pink Boxers. Its worth a click, not often we get humor from the front lines of the battle field. 

The  humor supplied from the lens of AP photographer David Guttenfelder who captured Specialist Zachary Boyd, who rushed to the front line from his sleep when his unit came under attack in Afghanistan wearing body armor and his I Love NY boxers.

The 15 minutes of fame was followed by Boyd's hometown paper the Fort Worth Star-Telegram who followed the story. Boyd's mother said she was not at all surprised saying, "He has always been an interesting little character."

Plain Dealer newsroom opts for paycut over layoffs

Newspaper Guild covered employees at the The Plain Dealer have ratified an agreement that calls for economic concessions as a way to stave off further staff reductions. The one-year agreement calls for a an 8.1% pay reductions as well as 11 days of unpaid furlough. While the agreement is in place there will be no layoffs.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Vacation catch up

A week away from home, work and newspapers is gone in a flash. 

Having been forced to take two unpaid weeks off this year working at a Gannett property Matt Detrich asked me what kind of vacation I was on. My reply - the old fashion kind - paid. We haven't gotten to that point in Akron so that is good news. Catching up with my e-mail after a week I see there is very little other good news to share.

Following the lead of their sister paper in Warren the Lisbon Morning Journal has cut the photo staff to one person forcing Aaron Rudolph to the unemployment lines after eight years at the paper.  Rudolph was a consistent winner in the clips and year-end contests during his time at Lisbon so this wasn't a case of poor performance. As it had in Warren, Ogden Newspapers has elected to pass out digital cameras to reporters to replace staff photography. We wish nothing but the best for Rudolph whose second daughter was born earlier this month.

It appears GateHouse Ohio Media doesn't consider its photographers as journalists. That coming from Kevin M. Kampman, publisher of The (Canton) Repository commenting on the paper's agreement with the city of Canton to publish its quarterly magazine.  Kampman is quoted on the newspaper's Web site that, “This business relationship does not involve our newspaper newsrooms and will not shape the independent coverage decisions made by GateHouse Ohio journalists”.

The story goes on to say that the city is responsible for all of the written content and has final approval before the pages are printed and that GateHouse Ohio Media will supply the photography and artwork for the publication. 

Repository staff photographers routinely do work specifically for the city and this has been going on even before this new arrangement to produce the quarterly magazine for the city. Well Mr. Kampman I'm probably not the first to tell you this, but your staff photographers are journalists and have no business in doing any sort of work for the city of Canton. The last time I checked photographers are part of the newsroom. Check with your managing editor, if he's got any guts he'll tell you the same thing.

An Akron reserve police officer is the latest to think his police powers extend to censoring legitimate news gathering. Richard Culp, a 12-year reserve officer working security at the Akron library deleted images and video made by Maurice Howard of rescuers working to free a 5-year-old who had become trapped between the library's revolving door and its enclosure. Full story on the Akron Beacon Journal Web site. 

Two more Ohio photographers have had images selected by editors at MSNBC for The Week in Pictures gallery. J.D. Pooley at the Sentinel-Tribune has a photo of an overturned tractor-trailer on U.S. 6, which was hauling meat byproducts, in the gallery. Jonthan Quilter of The Columbus Dispatch also has a feature photo selected. Quilter just recently returned to shooting full time after working as a photo editor the past few years. Apparently not a lot of dust gathered on the cameras.

The March clip contest results came in right before I left town and I will get those posted a soon as the points are tabulated. We are dealing with a bad judging chairman for the February contest. Contest chairman Neal Lauron was told over two weeks ago that they were judged and results would be coming. Right now we have no results and the individual is not returning my e-mail queries. Might be a good idea to get a national database started for contest chairs to let others know who is dependable or in this case, who is not.

The Akron Beacon Journal is currently looking at having the paper printed someone other than Akron. The obvious alternatives are Canton or Cleveland, both of which have a smaller web than currently in place at Akron. Apparently that is the driving force behind the decision to print elsewhere.  The paper had been looking at going to a tab format as an alternative to the smaller web, but apparently advertisers weren't receptive to the idea. It wasn't going over very well in the newsroom for that matter, but I'm sure the newsroom's opinion doesn't carry the same weight as the revenue arm. 

The New York Times launched a new photo blog today to showcase the paper's photography. Similar in format to's The Big Picture the blog will showcase visual journalism from their own staff as well as the best of other newspapers, magazines and picture agencies. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Portsmouth to drop Monday edition

Another newspaper has jumped on the bandwagon of dropping an edition to lower costs. This time it's here in Ohio where the The Portsmouth Daily Times is will no longer print a Monday edition of the newspaper as of May 11.

Full story

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pulitzer photographer and subject meet again

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer John Filo and his subject, Mary Vecchio, were reunited Monday at Kent State University during the annual May 4 commemoration on campus. The reunion was only the third time they have been together since the Pulitzer image was made, and the first such reunion on campus.

Reunion story by Bill Lilley of the Akron Beacon Journal.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ohio APSO Awards

Lisa DeJong of The Plain Dealer, William D. Lewis of The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Abigail Bobrow of the Sandusky Register, Sarah Wright of the Chillicothe Gazette and Mike Ullery of the Piqua Daily Call were named Best Photographers in the state Sunday in the annual Associated Press Society of Ohio newspaper competition.

General Excellence awards for 2008 went to The Columbus Dispatch, The (Canton) Repository, the Sandusky Register, The Marietta Times and the Wapakoneta Daily News.

Sixty-six daily newspapers submitted 2,908 entries in the contest, which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns, graphics and photos from 2008. Entries were judged by editors from The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Division V; The Modesto (Calif.) Bee, Division IV; the Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune, Division III; The Daily Advance, Elizabeth City, N.C., and the Statesboro (Ga.) Herald, Division II; and The Daily Times, Maryville, Tenn., Division I.

A complete list of photography winners is on the ONPA Web site

Friday, May 1, 2009

Your next assignment: Preserve our history

A few weeks ago we shared the news about the passing of ONPA Life Member Don S. Mathews in this space. The post drew a comment from ONPA secretary Chris Parker asking about what might be done to preserve the history and experiences of our Life Members.

The first such effort at this was actually done in a video by Andy Morrison at The Blade when co-worker Herral Long retired. There are many others with stories worth telling and preserving and adding to the content of the ONPA Web site.

For the past few weeks I have been working on a new area of content for the Web site about the history of ONPA. These living histories could be the centerpiece for this content. Years ago George Smallsreed gave me a piece he had written about the first 20 years of ONPA. In years since others have passed on old newsletters and other items with much of our organization's history tucked inside. My goal was to be able to roll out a large portion of this content by the end of the summer before I pass on these archives to others as I step down. 

It will be up to other members to provide the living history content for the site, so the challenge is out there to both still and television members - capture and tell these people's stories. You don't need to wait for someone to retire to get their story. If we did that I might never see a piece on Ron Kuntz. 

There are also educators out there with their own stories to tell. There has to be someone at Ohio University who can sit down with Chuck Scott or Marci Nighswander for an oral history. Is there a Bowling Green graduate out there will to sit down with Jim Gordon?

Perhaps you find a shy one (although I know of none) who doesn't want the focus to be on them. Get them with another of their co-workers to tell the iconic story of the day that..........., which is told at every gathering of the staff. A certain film drop comes to mind in Akron.

I think its important that the finished products be posted to our own Web site and not be YouTube postings so we will have control of them going into the future. It would be good to have some quality standards set for these projects so I'd be interested in getting some feedback from those who produce such pieces already so we can come up with a standard for all to follow.

We go about our jobs daily and capture our images and video and don't give much thought that what we do today is tomorrow's history.  We now have a venue to share that history going forward with the Web. So give that former colleague or professor a call and share their story. You might even learn something about them you never knew before.