Monday, June 30, 2008

Video embedding- YouTube Style

I've become an instant YouTube fan. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit that I've spent sometimes hours and hours watching one video after another on YouTube.

My most favorite types of videos-- clips of local newscasts around the country.

As we talk about embedding video (via MSNBC's site), YouTube has been promoting this for a while

I've done research and visited WHNT more than any other station in the Tennessee Valley. While not rated number-one in the Huntsville market, this station is one of the best in the state.

Video embedding- MSNBC-style

These days news Web sites-- whether extensions of newspapers or electronic media outlets are increasingly including video as a "MUST-HAVE" on their sites. I'm told by some who run these sites that the availability of video that viewers can click and watch dramatically enhances the viewer experience and increases the number of "hits" on a site. Visitors stay longer when they're watching video instead of just scanning text.

I'm a big ONLINE Video watcher. In fact, this summer, I've developed a habit of watching at least three daily news programs via podcast. Downloading NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, an ABC News Webcast is a routine that gives me about an hour's worth of network news content guaranteed. It's a useful evening supplement (NOT a replacement) to my reading the daily newspapers in the morning (I tend to read at least 3 every morning). And, if I'm home or able to get to a television at 5:30 p.m. Central Time, it allows me to focus on the over-the-air newscasts NOT available online.

Now, tonight during one of those web-only commercials during the Nightly News podcast, I saw the announcement about MSNBC's video embedding tool.

BAM! I'm there-- and here's my first video embedded on my blog. Like any easy tool-- there's a catch, MSNBC includes a quick advertisment for viewers to point BACK to its site at the end of the video. But, if you're not put off by that, the video is one to check out.

This is one of my favorite stories of the day because Wal-mart (A.P. Stylistically correct way to write it) is finally growing on me after all of these years. I've always been a Target (or as they say "Tar--ZAY") kind of guy, preferring the neat, "refined" orderly layout of the big RED DOT stores to the seemingly "zoo-like" atmosphere of a Wal-Mart (Have you ever been in there on the first day of the month?).

OK-- that was a little insensitive, I'll admit. My apologies.

But, on a recent trip, I made a food run from my hotel and Wal-mart was nearby. So, the nation's biggest retailer got my food money for the day-- and I came out with a frozen dinner, munchies and plenty of water with not a lot of money. I was pretty happy and I avoided the stop for unhealthy fast food, to which I often resort when traveling.

Now, the retailer is donning a new look. Will that bring George Daniels back to the store more often? Maybe, it's certainly got my attention.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Today's Decatur Big Photo

When it comes to front page layout, I like the way the editors made use of a really dominant photograph in today's front page layout. It's one example of

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What Mark Lent Left Me To Think About

Veteran photojournalist Mark Lent gave a presentation on "Visual Journalism" this week that really made me think about the degree to which photojournalists work to get that perfect photo that we read in the newspaper or see in a magazine.

I thought I as a reporter was busy gathering all the facts and information for the text part of the story.

Looking at some of the photos that Mark Lent, a telecommunication and film student at the University of Alabama, shot, I have a whole new appreciation for the visual side of news gathering.

In checking out some of the Mark's writing on the Popular Photography Web site, I see one of those photos that left an impact.

Mark talked about the importance of capturing emotion. He also talked about the factor of timing. This photo would not have been possible if Mark had not had just the right timing.

In his article, he talks about the three key elements to getting photos like this: focus, exposure and timing.

But, the big thing he revealed is that he practiced. He didn't just accidentally stumble into this shot. He pratices shooting children playing -- a way to see if you get just the right shot.

"Shooting sports well means that you can regularly anticipate what's going to happen, " Lent wrote in an article from Popular Photography nearly two years ago.

If nothing else, I realize that to get really good with my digital camera, I had to be willing commit time to practice-- with the focus, exposure and timing in mind.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scenes from Cedar Rapids

The experience of the people of Cedar Rapids, Iowa is almost unbelievable. The Des Moines Register captured the experience with many, many images.

In this photo, Des Moines Register photojournalist Harry Baumert Brandon Smith, 23, carries Bender, right, and Fry, his fiance's cats, this morning in southwest Cedar Rapids. His neighbor, Tyrone
Pierce, 49, follows. Smith said there was no flooding in sight when they
evacuated the neighborhood Wednesday afternoon.

While the neighbor appears in this image, the cats -- their unassuming nature -- ones that might otherwise be left behind-- really help tell the story.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008