People Photo

Flickr a Day 57: ‘Pure Inspiration’

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Pure Inspiration

Iconic best describes the last of three pics chosen from The United States Marine Corps photostream. Isn’t this exactly the kind of scene that many people outside the military imagine? Depicted: “Sgt. Justin Glenn Burnside motivates a recruit with Echo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. Burnside, originally a signal intelligence specialist from Bristol Fla., is one of about 600 drill instructors who shape the approximately 20,000 recruits through Parris Island annually into United States Marines. This handful of dedicated DIs is entrusted with sustaining a more than 237-year legacy”.

Lance Cpl. David Bessey shot self-titled “Pure Inspiration” on April 16, 2013, so that’s more like a 239-year legacy. Camera info is missing from the EXIF data. Composition and expression make this photo a worthy Flickr-a-Day selection.

Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. David Bessey

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Stop Paying Bloggers and Journalists for Pageviews

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Anique Handcuffs

Last week, headline “Samsung lied—its smart TV is indeed spying on you and it is doing nothing to stop that“, piqued my interest. In the preceding days, the InterWebs flooded with allegations that the South Korean manufacturer’s televisions listen to their owners. But I cringed reading the story, which appeared on BetaNews, where I also contribute. The reporting doesn’t support the headline, which if editor on duty I would never have permitted.

Editorially, BetaNews and I drift apart. My responsibility for day-to-day management ended in May 2013. I told one of the writer/editors yesterday, in context of discussing the Samsung headline: “No offense, but the story packaging is more like a blog everyday…Real stories have real reporting. Too many of the BN stories rely on someone else’s reporting. That’s primarily my saying feels more like a blog. The Samsung lied story is good example”.

BN editorial structure is more diversified now, with several writers acting as day or night editors. All contributors share in common something I detest: Pay by pageviews. The model is widespread among blogs and news sites, and I oppose it. There is inherent conflict of interest, when the reporter’s livelihood directly ties to clicks.  Read More


Flickr a Day 56: ‘Night Shift’

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Marine Fueling

Today’s selection is the second of three chosen from The United States Marine Corps photostream. Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz shot self-titled “Night Shift” using Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Vitals: f/3.2, ISO 4000, 1/15 sec, 78mm. Depicted: “Lance Cpl. Hailey Carrol with Transportation Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, refuels a logistics vehicle system replacement after conducting a combat logistics patrol (CLP) to Forward Operating Base Shukvani, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Aug. 13, 2013″.

The image is a bit soft, because of the high ISO, which enhances the overall ambiance. The composition appeals several ways—light illuminating her face contrasting against the bokeh background and how the fuel pipe’s deft lines draw viewers’ eyes up to hers.

Photo Credit: Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz

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The Measure of Chromebook’s Success

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Last year, I disputed ridiculous assertions, based on widely misquoted NPD data, that 2014 would be “year of the Chromebook”. It wasn’t. But that designation does belong to 2015—at least in the United States. Measures: Number of new models; adoption by K-12 schools; and overall sales, which are surprisingly strong. Read carefully the next paragraph.

Through U.S. commercial channels and retail, Chromebooks accounted for 14 percent of laptop sales last year, according to NPD, which released data at my request. That’s up from 8 percent in 2013. Commercial channels, largely to educational institutions, accounted for about two-thirds of 2014 Chromebook sold. Year over year, sales soared by 85 percent, and the trajectory continues to climb.  Read More

People Photo

Flickr a Day 55: ‘Spot Me, Bro’

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22nd MEU Marines dominate Bataan weight-lifting competition

Meet the few and the proud. Today starts three days of pics picked from The United States Marine Corps photostream. I purposely avoid any of the many evocative combat training or deployed troops shots out of respect for those who might have been wounded or killed. I don’t know enough about military culture or protocol being outsider looking in—as you might be, too.

The three chosen photos focus on individuals and emotions their faces express.  Sgt. Austin Hazard shot self-titled “Spot Me, Bro” on April 20, 2014 using Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 500, 1/200 sec, 35mm.

Depicted: Staff Sgt. Jace Manning “squats 385 pounds during a weight-lifting competition aboard the USS Bataan”. He “placed first in the light-weight division of the competition, lifting 1,175 pounds between bench presses, dead lifts and squats”.

Photo Credit: Sgt. Austin Hazard

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Three Words That Go Oddly Together: ‘BuzzFeed’, ‘News’, ‘Investigation’

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Coffee and News

Among the many posts in my Google+ feed this AM is link to “Fostering Profits“, which dek begins: “A BuzzFeed News investigation”. My initial reading stopped there. What the frak? For the king of linkbaiting, “news” and “investigation” look wrong.

But as a Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard video interview indicates, and as I explain in my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, BuzzFeed seeks to be more than the list-linker to the Millennial generation. I am not so much skeptical as critical. The writing needs to be crisper and more inviting than this news story. I suggest editors take cues from Mother JonesVice News or Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi rather than from ProPublicaRead More

People Photo

Flickr a Day 54: Harley Riders

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Harley Motorcycles Riders

I chose today’s selection, by Andrea La Rosa, for composition and use of black-and-white photography. The sky could be a painted movie-set backdrop, and it is perfect emotive canvas. The pic juxtaposes Day 53—motor- and pedal-powered bikes.

Andrea shot self-titled “Harley Riders” in Wyoming on Aug. 25, 2011, using Nikon D7000 and 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Vials: f/5.3, ISO 320, 1/2500 sec, 95mm. He is from Palermo, Italy, where he still resides. For more-recent photos in the Flickr stream, he uses the Leica M4, with a variety of lenses. Andrea joined Flickr in September 2009.

Photo Credit: Andrea La Rosa

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Sometimes Reddit Comments are the Best Storytelling

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What could be better Sunday reading than cats jumping into cars? I stumbled onto this Reddit post roundabout way from something that appeared in my social network. Stated simply: A “cat climbed into” Jonny_Bloodbeard‘s “work van in downtown Detroit to keep warm. They choose you right?” Nearly 500 comments later, I’m impressed by the civil discourse and some of the cat tails—er, tales.

Take a look at the screenshot and the story about the cat riding to church for attention and a couple other Redditers’ ribbing responses. I love it. This is what interaction should be among commenters, and their personal stories add so much to the original post.  Read More

Music Storytelling

Road to Jericho

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Desert Sunrise

Spring 1985 in Washington, D.C., the cherry blossoms adorned the streets. I was 25, feeling virile and wanting to write something different. My lyrics typically tell tales of women, which interest me as a heterosexual man. By contrast, “Road to Jericho” is the hero’s story—man fighting against other men and weakness within himself.

I am no scholar of Old Testament stories but admit with some certainty that the tale this song tells isn’t in the Biblical record. Being unfamiliar with the historical period when writing 30 years ago, armaments aren’t right either. So I take poetic license, for which I ask your pardon if someone of Faith.  Read More

Photo Sports

Flickr a Day 53: The Racer

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Bike Racer

If you followed this series for the past 52 days, a pattern may be obvious. Not all, in fact not many, of the photographers are professionals. That’s particularly true for Bob Mical, whom I hope won’t be offended by my expressing such. The best pics aren’t those that stand as works of art but which matter most to you and to friends or family; and the story each image tells about these people.

I see in stand-out photography, particularly events, a quality Bob demonstrates: Willingness to get in, and get down if necessary, for the best shot. That quality makes this photo of a racer during the 2014 VA State Cyclocross Championships today’s selection. Sports photography isn’t easy, and should be more than stopping the action with the longest lens.  Read More

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SDCC 2015 Open Registration Success!

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In theory, I will go to San Diego Comic-Con this year—as a paying customer. For that I am most grateful and for the ease of the Open Registration process. From 2009 to 2014, I attended as registered press, but for some reason my status wasn’t re-certified. There was no formal rejection, just no approval during the typical “within 6 weeks” period after verification document submission.

SDCC’s streamlined process is a grabbag of chance. If you have an active ID on the system (before a cut-off date) and attended the previous year, you receive a code to participate in the registration process. That means using the number and last name to enter the waiting room between 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. PST. Anyone in the room when sales commence at 9 o`clock can be randomly chosen to purchase passe(s). Chrome refreshed me to the buying queue about 20 minutes after sales started.  Read More