Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day Nov. 12 or later

Remembrance Day. No longer a national holiday, and all the more reason to shine.

Most of us will be at work or school, maybe recognizing a couple of minutes of silence at 11 a.m. Whether we’re celebrity watchers tuning in to see Prince Charles and Camilla in Ottawa, or wondering what took place at our local cenotaphs, we’ll hopefully deliver the images the public is looking for.

For my part, that means a late lunch to put together an online feature ASAP after our local ceremony. No more slacking for hours knowing the images and information won’t appear until the next day. The prospect of layoffs is a great motivator.

I’m determined to post before our rivals. We’ve got TV beat by six hours, and radio is blind to eye candy. I don’t even think about the print product anymore since the event will be long over before the dead trees hit the press let alone doorsteps.

I plan to take a peek at online weekly newspapers to see if they break with their snail’s pace tradition of only posting once a week. I bet my poppy their online work will be hidden away and only see the light of day when their latest issue hits the stand.

I look at their sites fondly as nostalgia, since I can’t in good conscience consider them news.

The Hyper Journalist


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The bionically challenged newsroom

Joe Reporter, multimedia journalist. An industry barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology.

My newsroom doesn’t have the luxury of professional video cameras, mics, a video suite or digital recorders. We’re making due with what we have. Sometimes it’s not half bad, although our hands are tied to move to the next level producing a professional-looking product.

Doubtful we’ll ever have access to better equipment. There are a few choice pieces of technology, and I have a few choice words about how they’ve been distributed. We’re patiently tolerant with the endless speeches about how news is immediate, yet the one editor who brags about not being able to use a computer was given the department’s only mobile media device. I’m optimistic its owner will one day learn how to switch it on.

Our best computer with the fastest processing speed and best software for video production is used by that same editor for writing text and is usually off limits to the rest of us.

I don’t expect to be consulted on what equipment we should buy or who should have access to it. I expect someone sitting in an ivory tower to decide that for me.

I recommend a splashy new work SUV slapped with our logo, flashing lights and bum warmers. We can park it on blocks and misuse it as a fridge to store the beer that will help us forget about backward decisions.

Tsilanruoj Repyh Eht


Monday, November 9, 2009

Flu, craps and fake photos

I tip my toque to bloggers with full-time jobs who keep up their ramblings in the midst of a flu outbreak.

My newsroom had casualties, and we’ve never been so busy -- and so efficient. We’re a mixed bag of talkers and doers, and it turns out the talkers were rendered mute by sore throats. With that heavy layer of administration out of the way, reporters have been producing more and better work.

There appears to be another wave of layoffs in media. With my own newsroom in mind, I find myself hopeful that our chaff might being separated from the wheat. An opinion piece on The Globe website reminds me of the bigger picture. As media hemorrhages staff, we're losing the ability to fight the onslaught of supplied photos and information. We're guilty of blindly posting information that's supplied to us, although that has stopped for a time thanks to the flu bug, not good judgment.

Stephen Harper’s team is busy releasing heroic photos of him, including the infamous kinder, gentler leader performing on the piano during a gala last month. His handlers apologized for releasing wrong information when it was learned the photo was taken during a rehearsal, although they’ve never corrected the cutline.

More people are receiving or distributing news through blogs that rely on supplied photos and information, but they don't challenge what’s being fed to them. Government and business supply photos all the time. The difference is now they know media are losing the workforce they need to challenge this information.

They hold all the cards while we're losing our players.

The Hyper Journalist