Archive for February, 2010

The Great Morgan Smith Photo Caper

February 24, 2010

A funny thing happened at work yesterday. Our intrepid young staffer Morgan decided to change her Tribune bio photo to something a little different, something a little more grown-up. A little more “adult”, if you will. Problem is, the photo looked both more adult… and too adult. (Cue all the sexy secretary, naughty librarian comments here.)

The Trib photographers started asking me about it at something like six am, and asked for copies to download it. Colleague Ben’s long-lost-friends started crawling out of the woodwork asking if she was available. We brainstormed a few ideas to put Morgan’s photo on promotional t-shirts, under the slogan “You know my URL”. Oh, the ideas kept a-comin’.

Less than 24 hours after she put up the photo, she took it down, citing “workplace harassment”. As one of her secretary photo devotees protested, “She can’t help being attractive! What! What is she going to do, change her face?”

The photo in question, and the not-so-controversial photo, melded together:

Nothing but love, Morgan.


Behind the Lens

February 18, 2010

Originally uploaded by thetexastribune

Spent birthday morning at a TribLive event. It was the third in our conversation series that features various political or policy movers and shakers in Texas. Because my job is now far more multi-faceted than before, I run the production end of TribLive instead of doing the interviewing.

After the events are over, we process them and put them up as full 40 minute videos and put them on our site, later we’ll put them on iTunes as podcasts.

It’s actually a fun change of pace, since I didn’t sit behind the camera before in TV, but love to shoot photos and video when I get the chance. Our intern, Caleb, caught a pic of me gesturing to Justin, who was on the second camera, to check with Todd, who was at the sound booth, on our levels.

Which brings me to the team. I said it yesterday at the fourth annual Hu-Moritz-Castro three-way birthday party and all say it again. Without the work of our all-around multimedia ninjas Todd and Justin, the Tribune’s multi-platform presence would be a shell of what it is. Many thanks, boys. Pleasure to haul around equipment, troubleshoot uploads and wildly gesture during TribLive events with you.

Journalism Next

February 6, 2010

Spent the last 36 hours in and around Arlington, TX, home of the JerryDome and University of Texas at Arlington, Stiles’ alma mater. We talked about journalism nonstop for hours; I’ve never considered or discussed journalism with that length or breadth since maybe college, and back then I wasn’t in class that often so maybe I’ve topped myself.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with the staff of UTA’s student paper,  The Shorthorn, giving a short talk and then training (Stiles on computer assisted-reporting, me on multimedia/video). This morning we took part in back-to-back panels at a Society of Professional Journalists Career Conference for students and young professionals, where we talked convergence journalism (one of my fave topics, as you know). Apologies to the students who had to see us twice. Goodgod.

The Hu-Stiles traveling roadshow often starts with this piece from CBS’ Jeff Greenfield, which is a great introductory explanation of what convergence is, and what it means. (So much for CBS understanding the sea change though, they still don’t allow their videos to be embedded elsewhere so I had to link you instead of show you the story on this page.)

The bottom line is, distinctions between print reporters, TV reporters, radio reporters and others are quickly melting away. We’re all hybrid, multi-platform journalists now – or should prepare ourselves to be – and students should embrace it or be left behind. “It’s the cost of admission these days,” said our fellow panelist, CBS11 web editor Kent Chapline.

Here’s a sample slide… and the full audio from one of our panels is available thanks to a forward-thinking future journalist named Brooks, who is also a Plano Senior High grad. (Go Wildcats.)

My favorite part of Stiles’ slide is “don’t be evil”. He can better explain it, but this is something we both feel very strongly about as journalists. Being evil, to us, means hoarding information because you can. Not connecting audiences to the best resources because you only want them to be on your website. Not telling certain stories because it’s difficult or not sexy or doesn’t tie to revenue goals. That’s evil. Not allowing your video to be embedded other places is evil. Not linking out to other blogs and helpful sites is evil. Not using open source and free journalism tools like Google Docs and Flickr or Audacity because you only want to use your own stuff is silly, and if it’s keeping good info from viewers and readers, it’s evil. Using social media solely to push your own stuff and not have a conversation is not quite evil, but it’s a poor use of social networks.

We, as journalists, are information sharers. In a time when information is everywhere all the time, we oughta be information finders and sorters and filters – people who help provide greater context, explanation, digging – to help news make better sense to people or help it better connect to their worlds. We can’t do it if we believe other finders and sorters and diggers out there aren’t worthy of linking to or promoting or teaming up with. Don’t be evil.