Category Archives: Journalism industry

My short-lived trip back to the newsroom

Betting on Gannett didn’t pay off this time

About a month into the job at The Tennessean, working on two laptops and a desktop computer.

Getting oriented back into a newsroom included working with two laptops and a desktop computer, relying on my old systems while I learned the new ones.

Well I gave it a shot. I placed the bet, rolled the dice and crapped out. I know “crapped out” isn’t the correct term (I’m looking at you, Mary Lawrence) but I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for the right gambling analogy and, well, crapped out.

Just a few days past my one-year anniversary at The Tennessean in Nashville, I joined the ranks of the unemployed. (It also happened just four days after my Continue reading

The standards for showing grief vary, depend on many factors

There’s no easing into my job here at The Tennessean. After a relatively slow day of training on Monday, the past three days have been hectic, filled with news and lots of meetings.

It’s only been four days and we’ve already had a stimulating ethics conversation about a photograph of a grieving widow.

Thankfully these conversations don’t come along often and I’m grateful that my years at the Missouri School of Journalism gave me chances to practice these Continue reading

Packing up, letting go

Moving sucks. That’s a no-brainer.

Moving 11 years of stuff — some of which I never even unpacked — sucks even more.

I think I've always been the only African American photographer on a photo staff. As such, I took pride in covering that community, to give them a much needed voice.

I think I’ve always been the only African American photographer on a photo staff. As such, I took pride in covering that community, to give them a much needed voice.

Some of the stuff was pretty easy to let go of, like a closet full of clothes I haven’t worn since I moved to Columbia. Other stuff is much tougher. A good friend here told me to purge my old things from my life.

“Remember with affection the part of you that used and even loved those things and those times in your life, and release her, too. I’ll be the first to agree it’s not easy. But you are on to new things, and you need to cut out the dead wood to make room in your life for fresh growth.”

But there’s something I have that I’m not sure I can part with, but not sure if I should keep, and I need your suggestions:

What do you do with more than 14 years of newspaper clips? (I’ve been in journalism since I was 19, so this includes my college years with the Drake Times-Delphic and about 10 years at Continue reading

I’m leaving teaching and heading back into the newsroom, back to Gannett

This is what I wore for my interview. I always wear earrings for important things.

This is what I wore for my interview. I always wear earrings for important things.

I imagine that headline may have shocked you a little bit.

Shocked that I would leave the teaching job I have loved.
Shocked that I would go back into a newsroom.
Shocked that I would go to a Gannett newsroom.

I get it. Here’s the short answer: I have a great job, unfortunately it’s in Columbia, Missouri. I’m not quitting the Missouri School of Journalism — I’m quitting Columbia. It’s been 11 years here and I have learned and grown a lot. But mostly at the professional level. My personal life has not progressed and it’s time for a little more balance in my life, balance I haven’t been able to find in Columbia. I wasn’t looking to move on at this time, but an interesting job came along in a much bigger city: Continue reading

Step up or step aside: coaching a youth basketball team

Photo by A.J. Feather.  Karen Mitchell, left, hands a T-shirt to team member KeJuane Johnson, center, as John Williamson (11) looks on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at Douglass Park in Columbia, Mo. Mitchell is one of the coaches for the city's Moonlight Hoops program at the park.

Handing out a T-shirt to team member KeJuane Johnson, center, as John Williamson (11) looks on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at Douglass Park in Columbia, Mo. I was one of four coaches for the city’s Moonlight Hoops program on the first day of the league.

Photo by A.J. Feather.

Lately I’ve been wondering about whether I consider Columbia, Mo., a home or just a temporary stop. The problem is that I’ve been here 10 years now. That’s a pretty good commitment, not generally considered a temporary length of time. But Columbia doesn’t feel like a home to me.

But last week something happened that seems to indicate that I am thinking of Columbia as something more than a temporary place to be. The annual summer basketball program, Moonlight Hoops, was facing the possibility of canceling. This program is a Columbia staple. This town is dead in the summer, Hoops is one of few things that’s happening. But the program is more than just something for ballers to do in the summer.

Two unusual things happened last week: I became involved and I did a story on it. The story, done with two of my Convergence Reporting students, was published by our newspaper organization, the Columbia Missourian. Here’s the result (below, or go to the Missourian site.)

Karen Mitchell came to Columbia in July 2003 to attend MU as a full-time undergraduate and then master’s student. She joined the faculty of the School of Journalism in 2008. Her background is in photojournalism, and she teaches convergence journalism. She no longer works full time in a newsroom.

Karen’s first-person story follows, with photos and video from two of her students, A.J. Feather and Daniel Shapiro.

I don’t live anywhere near Douglass Park, but as a journalist in Columbia I’m well aware of the park and what it brings to the community. The park has a bad reputation, but there are also a lot of good things that go on there, too. One of them is the Moonlight Hoops basketball program. When I heard last week that the program might have to be canceled, I wondered why. The answer surprised me and encouraged me to contribute to the city in a way I never had before.


ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The Moonlight Hoops basketball program, run by the city, has games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for three or four hours each evening. Karen Mitchell coaches the white team, sponsored by Columbia accounting firm Marberry & Eagle. Coaches and sponsors are still needed to accommodate the number of players who would like to play. The league, which was started by Tracy Edwards, Scotty Williams and Rodney Estes about 25 years ago, runs through Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Gotta get Google Glass

062813 google glassI MUST HAVE THIS! Well, ok. I WANT this. I got to experience Google Glass today. Really cool. I hadn’t paid that much attention to this device because I’m farsighted and didn’t think it would work for me, but it does! As with the iPhone there are limitations when it comes to photos and video, but this is pretty cool. I’ll probably get one when release to the public (if I can convince the J School to buy it for me.)

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Saying goodbye to 715 Locust

Goodbye old building, hello old friends

Me and Lisa Kruidenier in the wonderful main stairway of 715 Locust. Photo by Larry May, who Lisa and I worked with in the late 70s and early 80s.

Me, left, and Lisa Kruidenier in the wonderful main stairway of 715 Locust. Photo by Larry May, who Lisa and I worked with in the late 70s and early 80s.

I knew saying goodbye to the Des Moines Register was going to be tough but also a joy, and it was. On Saturday, June 8, 2013, a bunch of us — 100 or more — gathered on the fourth floor of 715 Locust to say goodbye to the building that has housed the Register (and the Tribune) for 95 years. Continue reading

Saving the mementos from a great journalism career

I have had a wonderful career and I want to share that with students and tell them what lies ahead if they pursue a career in journalism. One of the most tangible representations of my career — other than the thousands of photos I’ve shot — are the many media credentials I’ve saved.

Credentials hang from a four foot length of pipe in my office. Great memories for me, inspiration for my students.

xfl
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We just clicked *

I went to a journalism conference in Gainesville, Fla., over the weekend. I flew out of Columbia with my colleague, Lynda, whom I don’t see as often as I used to (she got a big promotion.)

We were seated together out of Columbia and wanted to sit together on the next leg of the flight, too, but we had seats in different rows. But Lynda was in the seat right behind me, so we thought that was good enough. The person I sat next to was unknown to me and we didn’t even say hello to each other. I was ok with that because I didn’t really want to talk to a stranger. Turns out, neither did she.

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Always looking for an idea

I have no clear sense of direction for this post. In my first draft there were about three different posts going on. So the point of this one: there are many things I see and wonder if it could work as a photograph, or in this case, as video.

Here’s something I shot while practicing with the department’s new Nikon D7000. While shooting video of a softball game I landed on a tight shot of first base. I started to wonder if a story could be told by shooting mostly first base.

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