YLYB #28: New Crew, New No Comment

I know this is not yearbook, but my TV News kids are having trouble getting Asst. Principals to go on camera for comment.  Now, we are not talking about an expose show here.  We are talking about a news you can use piece on how to get a parking tag.  We haven’t had student tags for parking for at least three years.   So, it’s new.  Kids don’t know how to get one.

No A.P. will go on camera, neither will the secretary who gives them out.  We only want simple info about the tags like the price, requirements, etc.

What I’m worried about is that this will set a precedent for the yearbook staff.  We have a tight margin on getting yearbook pages to the plant.  If we can’t get the info we need in a timely manner, it will set us back and we may never get on track.  I really need to know that the kids have a go-to A.P. for this kind of stuff.  It is frustrating.

YLYB #26: Sales Are Comma Limited

Today I fought with the computers trying in vain to get the school’s database to spit out a CSV (comma delimited) student list with all the right info in all the right places.  It just won’t.  We don’t have a field for city or state.  I can’t get the stuff to line up right in the database.  It is frustrating and I was at the school until nearly 5 p.m.  That makes for a long day when you get there at 6:30 a.m.

I am hopeful that tomorrow I can get the thing to give me a list that will work in the yearbook company’s online sales program.

In non-yearbook related news, I finally have a broadcast student who seems like he is interested in doing sports.  He caught the fever when he went to the game last Saturday.  He wants to go to every game from now on.  That is exciting.

YLYB #20: Pepped Up Pep Rally

It’s been a while since we’ve had anything like school spirit at my school.  Our last principal was too focused on testing, and our sports programs have not brought home a district championship in a while.  But our new principal is an alumnus and our first away football game was a victory.  So, the pep rally today was not only longer than in the past, but actually pretty peppy.

It was really good to see the students excited about something.  None of them remember pep rallies from before the old administration.  My news crew came together at the last minute – two video shooters and to photographers.  It came together great.  The crew for tonight is a little scratch too.  Two photographers and hopefully a VJ too.  The heat has dialed down too.   I’m excited, and hope the team wins and I hope we get great images either way.

YLYB #15: The Longest Day

Yesterday was day number 15 in the Year In The Life of Yearbook, but I wasn’t able to publish the post until now because we didn’t get home from the football game until 1 a.m.  At least we won.  Here in Texas, football season dominates yearbook.  We have the games of course, halftime performances, cheerleaders, pep rallies, homecomings, parent’s nights,  pre-game, post-game, and more.

My day started at 5:15 a.m. when I got up.  School starts at 7:15 a.m.  The game started at 7:30 p.m.  It ended at 10:30 p.m.  The opponent was an hour and 15 min. away.  So it was OMG it’s early when we got home.

It’s always fun working with student photographers and video shooters.  Last night, I was showing a new shooter how to shoot a football game solo.  I’ll be checking the footage soon and seeing how well she did.

Cool Links #97: Back To School Edition

Here in Texas, most public schools start the week of Aug. 24.  It became state law a couple of years ago, that schools can’t start before then.  That means teachers return next Monday in many districts.  I’m ready to get back to work.  I really do feel the like the long, recently hot, summer is over.  So, let’s cool it down with links.

1 – The wonderfully named Robert Picard thinks Journalism is in Good Health.  I suppose in a Darwinian way, as the number of journalism jobs decrease, those who are serious about the craft will win out over those who are not.  Let’s hope that the Business of journalism will find some health too.

2 – This is something we’ve struggled with – HD video.  We have cameras that do SD, widescreen SD, 720p and 1080i HD.  The One Man Band Reporter tries to explain why using HD in the newsroom is difficult and slow going.

3 – What will happen if yearbooks disappear?  How will we find embarrassing photos of actors and politicians from their high school years?

Who's this good looking young guy?

Who's this good looking young guy?

4 – This is so true.  How can these kids show up looking like $1 million bucks at the first bell and look so bad when they get to picture day?

Yearbook Photo Day Readiness

Yearbook Photo Day Readiness

5 – Adam Westbrook is running a series on Blogging.  How, why and everything else.  So far, my favorite one has been How To Build An Audience.  It’s really not just about blogging, but about appealing to those who want the content you’ve got.  The rest of the series is pretty good, worth putting into your RSS feed.

6 – This is a great little nugget – Lee Hood’s Broadcast Journalism Tips.

7 – This post really hit it right on the head.  So many adults today think that kids are born wired into the computer, but they are not born tech savvy, they are tech comfy.

8 – The JPROF has a super post – Seven Steps To An Audio Slideshow.  I think I will use this with my photojournalism kids this year.

9 – This is hilarious – a soccer team (football across the pond) in England banned photographers from their games and insisted newspapers buy the photos from their official photographer.  So a newspaper covered the game with an artist – like a court story here in the US.  Funny.

10 – PetaPixel has a fun video comparing the new Barbie Cam Doll with a Canon DSLR.

It's A Barbie World

It's A Barbie World

11 – I’ve been trying to find a way to spice up a lesson on historical photographers.  This looks like the kids might enjoy it – A Historical Facebook Page for an historical figure.

12 – This post from Copyblogger – 60 Ways to Increase your Influence online would be worth it just for #1 – David Meerman Scott. “Stop talking about your products and services. People don’t care about products and services; they care about themselves.” -@dmscott

13 – Photo Agency head Neil Burgess says Photojournalism is Dead.  I think that is overstating it a bit.  What I think he is really trying to say is that quality photography is dead.  The tyranny of good-enough is here.

14 – Mindy McAdams has posted a superb example on how to teach the five shot method for broadcast journalism.

15 – This is bound to be useful – a Final Cut plugin to change multiple fonts at once.  Thanks Alex4d.

16 – Black Star Rising has posted part 3 of a series – Why The First Amendment Matters.

17 – The Denver Post has a great collection of images from the 1930s in color – yes color.  Great collection from a time when nearly all the photos are black and white.

America - 1930s in Color

America - 1930s in Color

18 – There are a number of good collections of journalism videos on YouTube including: How to Be a Local Sports Reporter with Jamal Spencer, How to Be a Local TV News Reporter with Bill Albin, YouTube’s own Project Report, and the YouTube Reporter’s Center.

Have a great back to school week!

Cool Links #95: The One About Redoing Curriculum

About two months before school ended for me, I got a comment on my blog.  It said that Windows users could not access my Power Point presentations (.ppt files) because the embedded images were broken.  She asked me if I could post my photo lessons as PDF files.  I made a half-hearted promise to try to do so this summer.  Well, it’s summer…

And I’m trying to make good on my promise.  I have redone and reposted both the PPT and PDF files for about 15 of my lessons so far in the photojournalism syllabus.  But I am also trying to revamp my broadcasting and yearbook syllabi too.  So keep checking back, because I hope to post a few lessons every week until the summer is gone.  Now, the links…

1 – I have a lesson I teach about Paparazzi each year and one of the most famous is Ron Galella and most notoriously for this photo of Jackie Kennedy Onasis.  I’m definitely adding this to my Photos That Changed Journalism.  I’m also adding the blog – iconicphotos to my RSS reader.

Windblown Jackie by Ron Galella

Windblown Jackie by Ron Galella

2 – Photojojo has a list of the Top 50 Movies about Photographers.  I think it is a good list, but it is missing The Killing Fields – a great movie.

3 – Black Star Rising has a great post that states that Photo Manipulation is Not a Sin, but Lying About It Is.  I have to agree.  Just put photo illustration created in Photoshop on photos that are manipulated.

4 – I have seen this site listed on several blogs lately.  So, I had to see Who Do I Write Like? Well, I am not surprised to find out that…

I Write Like Stephen King

I Write Like Stephen King

5 – Free Tech 4 Teachers strikes gold again this week with not one, but two PDF photography texts.  They are not school textbooks, but they could be.  There is not a state adopted text for photojournalism and so I don’t have one, but I really like The Absolut Beginngers Guide To Photography.

6 – Here’s a fun game of Type Recognition.  Ten Magazine typefaces, how many can you recognize – I got six.

7 – Zombie Journalism is another new favorite blog for my RSS reader.  I love their 10 Social Media Guidelines for Journalists, especially number Five – Always remember: The Internet is public and permanent.

8 – Bill Mecca has episode 8 of his Quick Tips – this one is about improving your sound quality.

9 – All Web Design Blog helps to explain and demystify sending Clipping Paths using Photoshop.

Short list this week, but it is still summer.  Enjoy yourselves while it lasts.

Cool Links #94: The One About The Midpoint

Here in most of Texas, we are about mid-way through the summer.  And for many of us, summer will end early because of back to work tasks that can’t wait – like getting all the computers hooked up and running, taking football/band/cheerleader pictures and meeting with the new yearbook rep.  All things we yearbook teachers do off-the-clock and unpaid.  No one has any idea how many hours of unpaid work go into being a yearbook teacher.  Our stipends don’t even come close.  We work from before the year starts until long after it ends and get a stipend that pales in comparison to the lowliest coach.  But, enough about that.  On to the links:

1 – Here is a collection of sad graphics about the decline of the news industry – focusing on the last three years called A Quick Primer on the US News Industry.

2 – Thanks to the Principal’s Page Blog2 for this photo – it really brings to life the computing revolution:  size, price and power ready to take anywhere.  I really miss my old Bondi Blue iMac.  But I love my new iMac even more.  We retired our last bubble iMac from the lab this year – it was 8 years old and still going as a printer server.

iMac v iPad

iMac v iPad

3 – This is a great article for any young, would-be journalist at either the college or high school level to read.  Thanks Ms. Yada, I hope the job search is going well.

4 – OK, yes clip art is so, like the ’90s.  But sometimes you really need a good piece of clip art for a powerpoint presentation.  Here is a royalty free clip art site for teachers.   As always, check the guidelines before reproducing anything.

5 – I’m incensed about the BP oil spill in the gulf.  As of this week, tar balls have been sighted on Galveston beaches.  Just like the Louisiana gulf coast, East Texas gulf coast was hit by hurricanes Rita, Katrina and Ike.  Many coastal towns live on tourist dollars in the summer months to feed them all year long.  Others from shrimping and fishing.  The last thing these towns need is the oil disaster that BP has unleashed upon us all.  The whole gulf coast is feeling it, but BP and the White House keep lowballing the problem and trying to keep journalist from seeing the real devastation.  I hope brave photogs and video crews keep thwarting the rent-a-cops and Coast Guard to publish photos that keep the disaster fresh in our minds.

6 – Here is where our industry is heading, as ad dollars keep shrinking and publications close, those few that remain will be more beholden to the ad money they still get.  This is especially true for trade publications – those magazines that cover a single industry, or group of related industries.  A reporter for Motorcyclist Magazine was allegedly fired because he did a story critical of a major sponsor – a helmet maker.  Who will be watching the watchers?

7 – This confirms something I’ve know for a while, minorities use the mobile web (smart phones/laptops/netbooks) more than Anglos.  I suspect it is because phones and netbooks are cheaper than a traditional desktop or high-end laptop and provide the user the mobility to seek out wifi at places like McDonalds, the public library, schools, Starbucks, etc.  That is a powerful combination for those who don’t own a home (rent) or have a need to be mobile due to their work (truck drivers, construction workers, seasonal laborers, etc.).  I think this is an important finding for those who wish to market to minority groups (yearbook).  You have to go where the customers are – online via mobile.

8 – Everyone has a story.  Eight million people live in the NYC area, each one has a story.  This is a great way to show your student journalists how to get personality profiles.

9 – If you don’t have great video of the event, then you need great storytelling/standups.  The ever-great Kaplitz blog has a superb example.

10 – I ran across this little tidbit while working on a lesson about Matthew Brady – how photos were made in the 1860s.

11 – If you create a web site, then you should validate the code.  This helps to make sure that your page is compliant with all web standards – All Web Design Info has a list of several sites to do just that.

12 – Working with type on the web?  Then you need these Six Super Helpful Typography Cheat Sheets.

13 – Here’s another resource for teachers wanting to learn the Google tools for your classroom – a 33 page guide from Free Tech 4 Teachers.

14 – And we wonder why journalists are held in such low regard and no one wants to pay for our work?  It is no wonder when well-respected publications keep violating the most basic of ethical standards – don’t modify photos.

Economist modifies photo of Obama

Economist modifies photo of Obama

15 – Want to use a popular song in a YouTube video, but you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for the rights.  Now you can – Rumblefish is a service that is supposed to sell the musical rights to video creators who want to post to YouTube.  The rights are usually between $2-25 for a song and are only good for YouTube.  Try it out and let me know how it went.

16 – What makes a great teacher? No one thing, maybe these 12 things each contribute to being a great teacher – I think number 5 and 6 are pretty important.

17 – I’m always looking for more of these Photos That Changed The World to add to my collection.  Some great ones in this collection – Ghandi and Brady.

Keep having a great summer.  I just finished an 8 hour InDesign CS4 tutorial that took me about two weeks to complete – up next Photoshop, then Flash.