Posted in Innovation in the media, Journalism, Media issues, tagged Aaron Ritchey, Adrian Holovaty, Alan Mutter, American Press Institute, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Bill Adair, Carol Napolitano, chicagocrime.org, David Milliron, EveryBlock, Fast Company, Gannett, Greg Reeves, Jennifer LaFleur, Knight News Challenge, Matt Waite, Michael Gluckstadt, MSNBC, National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting, Newspaper Next, Paul Goodsell, PolitiFact, Pulitzer Prize, Shawn McIntosh, Washington Post, Zack Kucharski on August 18, 2009 |
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Journalists love stories. Give us a good anecdote and we know what our lead is going to be. We’re not as comfortable with data. We know a good story is hiding in there somewhere, but most of us don’t know how to find it. And too many of us — reporters and executives alike — are refusing to learn.
My first exposure to the use of data for journalism was when I was at the Kansas City Star (or possibly the Kansas City Times; I worked for both) nearly 20 years ago. The late Greg Reeves, a kind of geeky reporter I didn’t know very well but came to admire, wrote a terrific story about the driving records of Kansas City police. I don’t recall the details, but I was shocked at how many police had offenses such as reckless driving (I think drunk driving, too, but I can’t vouch for my memory over that many years). What I do recall is that I started to understand the power of data analysis. (more…)
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Posted in 2008 Iowa floods, Journalism, tagged Allan Thompson, Cedar Rapids flood, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Lens, Omaha World-Herald, Pulitzer Prize, Terril Jones, Tiananmen Square on June 5, 2009 |
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I savor every uplifting story about journalism in these difficult times.
My last post dealt, as most of my work and writing today does, with the difficult times in the news industry and in our search for solutions. Sometimes we need stories of great journalism, to fuel our fight for a prosperous future.
I read two such stories this week in the New York Times‘ Lens photojournalism blog.
First Lens recounted the stories of the four photographers who captured the moment 20 years ago when the “tank man” stopped a line of tanks attempting to quell student protests in Tiananmen Square. Their stories are filled with fascinating details about saving film from Chineese authorities, personal risk and protection and transmitting photos in the pre-Internet age.
Even more fascinating, to me, was the Lens story of Terril Jones and the photo he shot moments before the tank confrontation. The other photographs were shot from the balconies of a hotel. Jones was on the ground, fearing for his safety as the tanks approached, firing their guns. In the last shot he fired before fleeing to safety, you see a young man dashing toward the camera, his head ducked in fear. And in the distance, calm amid the uproar, you see a man with a white shirt and two bags, awaiting the oncoming tanks. It’s a compelling story, a compelling moment of premeditation and courage.
Context matters, even 20 years later.
I love hearing the stories behind great photos and these two stories remind me of some other uplifting stories about great photos or videos:
- My April post, The heart: one of journalism’s best tools, about Allan Thompson’s story in the Toronto Star, identifying the father and daughter in Nick Hughes’ horrifying video of genocide in Rwanda.
- I remember the evening Gazette photographers spent at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, explaining the stories behind some of the photos in the Year of the River exhibit of Gazette flood photography.
- National Geographic’s A Life Revealed story about the successful attempt to find the Afghan girl with the haunting green eyes, photographed by Steve McCurry in 1985, who came to symbolize the hard life of Afghan refugees.
- One of the best stories of my career was the story of Buddy Bunker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo The Homecoming, told first in 1997 at the Omaha World-Herald and then again as a multimedia story for GazetteOnline after a home movie surfaced 65 years after the homecoming.
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