In Asbury Park, a view on a photog’s juggling act

Updated at 1:57 p.m. ET: Asbury Park Press‘ chief photographer for video, Thomas Costello, did some quick work recently after a plane crashed near his New Jersey home, and an apartment building caught fire. His account of how he handled the stories offers a window on the lives of 21st century journalists, balancing new web responsibilities with traditional duties. Here’s what he told me:

“Saw a report of a plane crash on my news pager about 20 minutes from my house. Got there at about 7:30 p.m. and shot a quick photo that was transmitted back for a web update. Continued shooting the video on the plane crash until at about 10:30 p.m. got another report on my news pager about an apartment building fire with people jumping out windows. The news gods were with me, since this was just across the Shark River from where the plane crash was.

“Zoomed over there and was able to get video of victims still being loaded in ambulances. Grabbed a few stills from the video and sent that back for a web update (these were very late for our Sunday paper — but they managed to find space). Shot more video and got done there at about 12:30 a.m. Went home to edit both videos and produce a photo gallery of the fire that were all on the web by 4:30 a.m. And then I slept.

“The two videos generated a lot of traffic, and the photo gallery — produced from video grabs — is still doing pretty well.”

One of Costello’s videos is here. (In an earlier version of this post, I’d embedded the video. But the Press uses an annoying player that kicks into autoplay when a page is launched. We. Hate. That!)

Please post your thoughts in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Image: today’s Park Press, Newseum]

7 Responses to “In Asbury Park, a view on a photog’s juggling act”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Love it, love it. Now THIS is what local reporting is all about: newsworthy events that everyone is talking about and wanting more info on. Great job, Costello!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Great job Costello!! Hey, did anyone happen to notice that the Free Press received 2 national Emmy nominations for broadband video this year, after being one of the first newspaper sites to win one last year? Somebody has got to throw some GOOD news into the mix. Asbury Park, maybe next year.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Great work, man.

    If we can hit breaking news hard like this, with updates and strong multimedia, and still keep some good people and space around for enterprise work, we’ll make it.

    Great shot, Costello.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Agreed, this is what mojo reporting should be. But even Costello admitted that a good deal of luck went into it.

    One can only hope that the bean-counting mentality doesn’t start saying “Couldn’t you have gotten the story in faster?”

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Great work Costello.
    About the bean-counting mentality—Where I worked, they would have already spoiled it by telling him he had some ridiculous time window to turn it around—or else. I worked with clueless, power hungry bullies who didn’t give one hoot about quality.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I hope this type of work is enough to help save your job?

  7. cheap flights, price increases in travel, cheap travel, international travel Says:

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    this topic for a while and yours is the best I’ve came upon so far.

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