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October 01 2010


Death Knocks

IMG_3176 Door Knocker
A really, really good post from Alison Gow recalling her first ‘Death knock’.  Not something you would look back on fondly but:

Today I contributed a content strategy, with particular emphasis on what sort of feeds we should consider aggregating and the level of showbiz news a user might require. Which might explain why I’ve been reminiscing about reporting days.

As Alison points out, the knock is an inevitability for reporters.

I’ve never done it (thankfully) but it was on my mind this week as well.

I was talking to the second years about using pictures from facebook as part of a chat around communities and the content they create (social media). One student said it would be better to ask the parents for a picture they could use rather than ‘steal’ one.  Of course the reality of that is ‘you have to go and ask them’. I asked them “Which would you rather do. Take the picture off facebook or go and do a death knock?”

In the intro to her post. Alison notes:

There are a few set questions anyone applying for a job in journalism gets asked at interview – among them is a request to summarise what they would do if Newsdesk sent them out on The Knock – which usually means a death knock.

Just to be clear. ‘Avoid it by getting the details from facebook’ is probably not the answer they would want.

Image from marlambie on Flickr

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September 30 2010


August 18 2010


June 05 2010


Hello world!

What happens when you let kids loose with good lighting - they went crazy taking photos of everyone and everything!

It seems we climb forever, striving to reach goals we set and reset and then…


What exactly are we aiming at or for? Are we aiming at a goal to make ourselves better people? More money? More prestige? Are we doing this for ourselves? Others?

Twice I’ve aimed – and now, twice I’ve

The last day of this month marks my last day of employment by Lodi Unified School District. The actual last day of work with students was Friday, May 28.

Somehow I can’t write as I did in my Goodbye to News posting. This move is more of a Hello World – What Next? article. A new beginning with no boundaries…no rules…a world of freedom and unknown choices.

I can finally dig my garden boxes and fence and shape it the way I’ve always wanted to. There are stories to be shot (what would life be WITHOUT a camera in hand? Unbearable). Trips with Newell and trips with Ron. Volunteering (oh year – don’t worry kids – I will be back on campus to hold your hands and guide you). Endless work on the property (fences, gopher patrol to name a few). Try my hand at writing for magazines. Maybe go back into education – this time as a student and aim for the next degree. Watch the sunset from the Drunken Hippo (aptly named because she is so slow and bulky that steering her is just like trying to motivate an inebriated water beast – which she is. Our tiny floating home on the Delta). Oh – and for those of you patiently waiting – finish that blasted book now that I have TIME.

All of that time that seemed too compressed now stretches out in front of me with no horizon in sight in any direction.

I know there will eventually be an end. As I tell my students, we all die. It’s what we do in that brief interlude between life and death that makes a difference.

The difference I make – as a videojournalist, parent, teacher, human being – will not be marked in history books, but in tiny pieces of myself that have touched others through teaching and stories. And in a life I can remember with peaceful content.

…see ya on the road…

January 15 2010



Mario García, the well known Cuban American newspaper designer, writes in his blog after a review on how the international press has done presenting the news from Haiti, and ends his post asking about the Haitian papers.

“Although I have tried to get a pdf of a Haitian newspaper, I have not been able to do so. Perhaps they are not even publishing, but if anyone has access to a Haitian newspaper, please do send me a pdf.”

Are you kidding?

Here in Wales, we had a lot of snow in the recent weeks, so milk was not deliver, posted mail was late, food supplies didn’t arrive… but John, our loyal and brave newspaper boy (that must be in his late 50’s), delivered the papers to our front door everyday.

With no excuses.

He is my hero!

But to ask about what the papers in Haiti are doing is too much.

Just go to the web and see what they have online.

It’s as tragic as the earthquake.

This country, yes, is very poor, so you cannot expect too much for their on and off line new operations.

And here is the proof from today’s homepages.

Life as normal?

Soft news day for the Haiti Star:

haiti star

Here, at least, the front a picture tells the real story:

Haiti en marche

The Haiti Progress, an “alternative” voice, is almost out of business, just talking about…Peru:

Haiti Progress

The Haitian Times is in real news business, but continues offering appropriate advertising when the population goes almost naked, and I suppose not too much interesting in lose weight:


Le Nouvelliste does better than the rest, but still keeps a non sense poll that sounds like asking a dying country if they prefer to have holidays in the French Riviera or Cascais:

Le Nouvelliste

And they have created this special bare website that delivers real pictures and real news from the chaos.


So I don’t know Mario about any print papers here, but don’t expect too much.

If, as Leo Bogart used to say, “the crisis of newspapers is always the crisis of their cities”, Haiti is a dead matket.

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