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Archive for October 17th, 2007

Feeling amateur

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

So, I was reading this blog post with interest about training the staff of the Canton Repository on video. In part because being from Ohio (Canton’s just a half-hour south of Akron, where I was grew up) I have an interest in media there, but also because I once was considering an online job there. And still have some reservations — yes after everything they’ve been through — about not going there because of what I could have learned and the freedom I would have had to experiment. But c’est la vie!

I found this comment in particular spot-on:

The small camera issue was also brought up by the photo staff. Professional gear brings with it a perception by the public that you are professional. Prosumer gear/consumer gear can create a different perception.

Let me tell you how much I hate our (the paper’s) point and shoot cameras. Doing head shots, I do not mind and prefer a point and shoot. In fact, I often times just use my personal one for the schools page mugs just because a) it’s smaller, b) I don’t need to sign it out, and c) it’s always on me so I can grab mugs & quotes any time I’m out on another assignment rather than having to set aside time for that.

But when they ask me to use the cameras to take a real picture? It’s embarrassing.

I know, I know. It shouldn’t be right? But that comment up there is exactly how I feel, like an amateur. (The photos also tend to suck, because you can only do so much with zoom and the standard flash.) Plus, our point and shoots are clunky and annoying and just… embarrassing. But again, what can you do.

I guess what you do is as the blog poster suggests, you act like a professional. It goes back to the old saying, you can get in anywhere with a clipboard and a sense of purpose. So, I guess rather than fumble and make a joke about the point and shoots, I should just act like it’s just another day and nothing out of the ordinary. And that’s how people will (hopefully) perceive it.

I’ll report back on whether this works.


Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Have you heard of ZIPskippy?

I have to give my friend Grace the hat tip for pointing out this site to me. This site is AWESOME.

I plugged in my zip code, 47904. I learned a lot about my neighborhood I never knew. Including how my neighborhood (one of the downtown zip codes) stacks up to others in the area. Just as an FYI, 47901 is the main downtown zip code and 47906 is West Lafayette, which is where Purdue and most of the Purdue students faculty live.

ZIP Skippy 47904 neighbors

This looks like a great tool to quickly assess how different areas of the community stack up. There’s a disclaimer that though this is census data, it’s just a sample. So I probably wouldn’t rely too heavily on it as a source. But it’s very useful for me to assess the different school communities/neighborhoods. Right now pretty much what I have to go on is anecdotal, what the DOE puts out and what I’m able to cull from other sources/data in a disaggregated way.

This information, presented in such a readable format, though? Seriously gold mine. Check it out.

As an aside, would this be a great project for a news organization to undertake? Or even just to link to. Lots of papers break things down by neighborhood. This could add another layer to that beyond the news and photos typical of those sections.