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

Advertisements

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

Third year for China, Beijing and tennis, still a great trip

Mizzou students at the Great Wall near Beijing. From left are Jake Lutes, Jason Steimer, Jason Bredehoeft, Andrew Kauffman, Paxton DiBlasi and Daniel Shapiro.

Mizzou students at the Great Wall near Beijing. From left are Jake Lutes, Jason Steimer, Jason Bredehoeft, Andrew Kauffman, Paxton DiBlasi and Daniel Shapiro.

 

People leave offerings of food at Buddha idols at the Wall.

People leave offerings of food at Buddha idols at the Wall.

It took me a while, but I’ve finally put together a selection of photos from China. Getting back home is an exhausting 24 hours of travel, getting in late on a Monday night. I was able to take Tuesday off but right back into the thick of it on Wednesday. Getting back is the hardest part of the trip.

In my photography I tried not to duplicate what I’ve shot before but I was sick several days this year and didn’t get to do as much. (I went to the Great Wall again but was too weak to climb very far.)

For those who don’t know, the University of Missouri (where I teach) has a journalism class that covers the China Open tennis tournament, held in the Olympic tennis park in Beijing. The students write stories which are used on the English-language side of the China Open website. We also have several days available for touring, shopping, getting lost, etc. This is like the third time I’ve gone.

The tournament wasn’t as good this year for me because Serena Williams dropped out with an injury and Venus Williams dropped out due to illness. Djokovic won again, which was nice to see. He’s a really nice guy and is much loved in China.

I hope you find something here that causes you to smile or to wonder or the react. I try to create moments to share with others, not just memories that have no meaning beyond me. You can see other images from China in my posts from 2012 and 2011. Use keyword “china” to search for them.

Madison Keys, a player to watch on the women’s tennis circuit

Beijing — I took some time today to watch Madison Keys play. She’s practically an Iowan, born in Rock Island, Illinois. She’s currently ranked 32 on the women’s tour, is 19 years old and turned professional in 2009 — and beat Serena Williams . Today she was beaten by German Andrea Petkovic pretty handily. Keys didn’t play badly, Petkovic, ranked No. 17 and eight years older, played better.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2014 China Open: Sharapova, Halep, Djokovic and Nadal

BEIJING — We’re off and running here in Beijing. The students have learned a ton — about tennis, about China, about major sporting events — and are cranking out good deadline stories. It’s hard to say exactly what the highlights are for the students (all males, so I’ll call them “the guys” a lot.) They were struck by the beauty of Kerber and Wozniacki, the friendliness of Bouchard and Djokovic and the awe of being around Nadal. They will certainly leave China with a new sense of what is possible for them as they pursue careers in sports journalism.

 

2014 China Open: We come for the swag, we stay for the tennis

This year's color scheme is much tamer than in years past. Last year's orange uniform was nearly unwearable.

This year’s color scheme is much tamer than in years past. Last year’s orange uniform was nearly unwearable.

The Missouri School of Journalism has an amazing relationship with journalists in China and maybe even more amazing is that it’s been a long-last relationship. I’m terrible at history, always have been, but this relationship is about as old as the 116 year-old J School.

Broadcast sports major Andrew Kauffman showing off his China Open gear.

Broadcast sports major Andrew Kauffman showing off his China Open gear.

One of the offshoots of that relationship is a class that covers the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing. This is my third trip as instructor for the class, leading the students as they write the English-language stories for the Open’s website (content will start appearing soon.)

As part of this arrangement we get SWAG!

We each received two shirts, warm-up pants, socks, a hat, jacket and fanny pack. Sure, you’re shaking your head now about that fanny pack but when we come back to the States rockin’ it, you’re gonna want one. You know you are.

The work begins tomorrow (we’re 13 hours ahead of the Central time zone) with a few games, a press conference with Novak Djokovic and a few other things.

We’re ready!

I will not be returning to Ferguson

Great piece from one of our journalism students. He has been covering the situation in Ferguson, Missouri for Al Jazeera America. Unfortunately, he’s seen way too much of the sad, pathetic sides of journalists.

Working with ThingLink

This is a project I’m working on for the NABJ Monitor. The work is by a sharp young photojournalist named Sophia Nahli Allison. More to come, this is just a test.

Homemade dog park chairs are a hit

In my last post I mentioned some little chairs I have been making and donating to on of Columbia’s dog parks. Columbia has two dog parks and Frankie and Alvie like one of them better, but that one doesn’t have a lot of seating. So I decided I could help with that.

Twin Lakes dog park is on the south side and is visited by a lot of young, healthy, able-to-stand-for-an-hour college students. And the park has a lovely hill, which is where I usually sit. Because it’s high I get a good view of most of the dog park. And after a rain it’s usually drier up there. So I set out to design and make some simple chairs to put on the hill. Here’s the result:

Two young women lounge in the chairs I made and gave to one of Columbia's dog parks. They said they headed right to the chairs when they saw them. They are intentionally simple and not real pretty, in hopes that people won't want to leave the park with one tucked under their arm. I have eight out there so fair, the park could easily handle another eight. Or more.

Two young women lounge in the chairs I made and gave to one of Columbia’s dog parks. They said they headed right to the chairs when they saw them. They are intentionally simple and not real pretty, in hopes that people won’t want to leave the park with one tucked under their arm. I have eight out there so far, the park could easily handle another eight. Or more.

I have made 10 chairs, but only eight of them are out there. My first two were rather quickly destroyed, not sure if it was by accident or mischief.

I made those two out of 1×2 furring strips, which I really thought would work and, since I was buying the wood, would be cheap for me. Well, I was wrong.

Fortunately something else has worked out: discarded construction lumber. It’s amazing how much waste there is on a construction site, and they are mostly unwilling to share it with people for second-hand use. I’ve been lucky, though, and have scored a number of good 2x4s. But that’s not the best find.

One day I drove by one of the gazillion construction sites for student housing. (Don’t get me started on that topic.) They had just torn down a long (like 50-75 foot long) privacy fence, made from 6’ x 5” x ¾” boards. Bingo! A stockpile of wood that I could use for the seats and backs of my chairs. You can see these boards in the photo.

Being a good citizen, I actually called and got permission to take the boards: “as many as you’d like” they said. After all, it would lessen the pile, saving them money on disposal. I grabbed about 30 of the boards, each one cut down and making three usable pieces. I’d have taken more, but once I dug into the pile, others did, too.

I want the chairs to last more than one summer so I bought some exterior paint, one of those gallons that’s discounted because the customer didn’t like the color. It’s perfect for my use: if the chairs are too attractive then there might be temptation to steal them. So the first batch is that ugly gray you see in the photo. I’ve run out of that paint and someone donated the brown stain, seen on the two chairs on the right. Then someone else donated some bright orange spray paint, so the chair I put together today has orange supports and brown seat and back. It’s pretty darned ugly.

Building them is fun for me and my ego gets a little stroking whenever I see someone sitting in one. There’s apparently a group of women my age who go to the park in the mornings and are very happy to have some seating. I’m working up to making some nice (good wood, good paint) Adirondack chairs for my friend’s ranch. She wants some so people can sit around her pond and watch the geese.

And here’s another good thing: the wood I can’t build with is used in my fire pit.
I’m a happy camper.