Summer somnolence…

Just as summer is heating up and it is time to slow down, my life is heating up and I can’t slow down.

Larry Nance, my co-author and buddy, is setting up the website for The Basics of Videojournalism while I keep hacking away at the keyboard, one chapter at a time. We’re on a deadline and can’t hit the brakes til we’re done. We meet weekly to keep each other updated and on track. His wonderful wife (a veteran educator) has taken on the duties of proofreading (thank you!!!).

My garden (gotta have some kind of personal life here) is growing. An experiment in recycling in turquoise, I went with raised beds made of commercial size pipes. We’re talking big suckers here – about two feet across and three feet long. Cut from the ends of pipes at a south Stockton company putting in water mains somewhere. Dig into the ground a foot or so, add some hardware fabric at the bottom to frustrate the gophers, a line for drip irrigation and tadah! A nice easy to keep up garden with seven plus types of tomatoes, two types of eggplants, four types of squash…and more.

Working on a couple of videos…my second for Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra’s program plus a new client who wants some sizzle for her website. And there’s more in the works – a trip planned with accompanying video and articles for my local rag, the Lodi News Sentinel

Why this posting though? Who knows – a reality check for myself perhaps? This blog is what got me going, made me dive into myself and get out of some pretty deep ruts…at times I thought I’d abandon it, but it kept calling me back. Blogging makes me view the world in a different light – thru the eyes of a lifelong newsie with a love of all things visual. My visual world has been rocked and torn apart as technology has outpaced the media’s ability to keep control of who it is. Journalists and photographers are trying to hold on to their livelihood and the ability to control and funnel the news as they see fit, refusing to allow the evolution of the revolution of communication.

I’ve been watching a thread on the NPPA facebook page, with the usual chatter about citizen journalists. How bad they are. How cheap newspapers (and TV stations) are for using their stuff. How the industry is suffering (from both a lack of quality photography and ethics and/more important to some – paying jobs). And somewhere in there the notion that journalism owns news began to disintegrate. The media doesn’t “own” news or even the right to cover or determine what is or is not news. News just is. It exists. And more importantly, it belongs to the audience.

Think about it – what would have happened on 911 if the broadcast media had charged people to see the attacks? And think now – how is that different from newspapers charging folks to buy their news?

Another angle – journalists boast that they cover both sides of issues. Truth be told – most issues have a plethora or sides.

So here I sit…dancing an intricate tap dance on a tall fence, trying to figure out what’s gonna happen next. I know all of the arguments on both sides, and agree with some of each side’s arguments. Honesty and ethics – yep. The tendency of big media to dictate news and, by choosing what to cover, to determine what people should hear/know/see – um, no. Concise beautifully written factual articles by BOTH pro and citizen journalists – yep. Slanted articles written with venom and malice – by both pros and citizens – never.

All I know is, I want my news and I don’t want to it to be entertainment, slipshod, biased, or too tightly controlled. And I’m willing to pay a reasonable price for it.

Now back to work on the book. I’m guessing both citizen (video)journalists and (wanna-be) professional videojournalists can benefit from it.

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