Archive for the ‘Appleton’ Category

Seeing Olympics ’08 through photographers’ eyes

August 23, 2008

[Race is on: Appleton’s Dan Powers, lower right, transmits photos]

Part of a series of posts by Gannett Blog Olympics news analyst Ed Hutcheson, a pen name for one of my long-time readers. Ed, an employee at a GCI paper, will file occasional dispatches about Summer Games coverage. Over to you, Ed!

The images from the Beijing Olympics by Gannetts team of photographers have been terrific. Again, here’s the plan: Deliver coverage of hometown athletes to their newspapers, then let the Associated Press do the rest. Most of the dozen or so photographers are from USA Today, along with Matt Detrich of Indianapolis and Jeff Swinger from Cincinnati. Two of their colleagues are fine shooters from community papers, including The Post-Crescent (left) in Appleton, Wis.

Like his reporting counterparts, Greg Pearson of the The Times of Shreveport, La., has been blogging from Beijing in addition to his assignments. Monday’s post will dash any notion of the Olympics as a glamorous gig. “The past few days have been EXTREMELY busy. I’m now getting between 3-5 hours of sleep a night. I’m ok for now, but I know that when I get home I’ll probably sleep for an entire day! One day I had absolutely no time to eat anything at all. I hadnt showered for two days. My last break in shooting was spent lying on a bed for 30 minutes and taking a quick shower. My clothes need to be washed again. I’ve had no time for shopping for souvenirs for the wife and kid. I bought some postcards, but the problem there is I need to find time to write something down and then mail them! I’m falling asleep on short bus rides.”

I liked Thursday’s gallery from the freestyle wrestling venue (left). Pearson, like the others on the Gannett coverage team, is not shooting just the Americans. The U.S. is in it, but freestyle wrestling is dominated by Eastern Europeans.

Dan Powers of the Post-Crescent also is blogging from Beijing. His paper’s use of Blogger software makes it easier to view a photo blog than the Pluck software so widely used now. Powers’ blog posts are mostly about the technical and logistical aspects of getting just the right shots at the Olympics. That’s not for everyone, but it’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes read — especially as he pursues Michael Phelps at the swimming venue — if you’re at all interested in photography.

I liked Powers’ Aug. 10 gallery from the fencing venue. He’d never covered fencing, and you couldnt tell. He got this shot (above) of U.S. gold medalist Mariel Zagunis after her victory, and then this: “After transmitting all of my photographs and packing up my gear, I ended up sharing a elevator ride with a nice young lady and her two companions. The companions I believe were PR folks. But the young lady just happened to be the gold medal winner, Mariel Zagunis. And as we headed down to the first floor, she pulled out the gold and let me hold it for just a second (she never let go of it . . . I think I got about three fingers on it). I thought that was pretty cool.”

[Image: today’s Post-Crescent, Newseum]

Appleton tells an old story — with new digital twists

May 25, 2008

[Big Appleton: Cory Chisel and band member Adriel Harris]

You know this story well: A young musician from the heartland takes a leap of faith, traveling to New York City in search of fame and fortune. Wisconsin’s Post-Crescent tells that story today, but with multimedia angles that transform this package into a nearly textbook-perfect example of contemporary digital journalism.

Writer Eric Klister and photographer Sharon Cekada trace the journey of guitarist Cory Chisel of Appleton, Wis., on his way to a crucial performance last month at a small New York nightclub. Chisel, 26, and his Wandering Sons band got an RCA Records contract last year, a deal that made him the first Appleton musician in more than 30 years to sign with a major label.

“You might think this would be the quintessential story of a small town boy’s journey to the big time, and you would be right — to an extent,” Klister says of that nightclub date. “Chisel is indeed humbled by this once-in-a-lifetime chance. But when it’s time to play music, he exudes the confidence of a performer who’s seen it all. If there was anything working against him on this leg of his improbable journey, it wasn’t awe or self-doubt — it was a stuffy nose.”

The video shot in New York is quite good: It’s well edited, overlaying voice and music on moving and still images — just the right story-telling format for a subject with both action and sound. And that brings me to one of my few quibbles: the Post-Crescent uses a video player, common across Gannett websites, that doesn’t allow me to embed the video here — something I was able to do with that Argus Leader video we read about Friday. The Post-Crescent player doesn’t include an easy-to-grab permalink, either.

On the plus side, however, the paper smartly organized the Chisel package on one page (screenshot, below), where you can find all the elements: stories; video; posts from Klister’s Valley Jams Blog; photo slideshows, and downloadable MP3 audio clips. It all points to Chisel’s concert next Friday in Appleton, with his Wandering Sons.

The Post-Crescent at a glance:

  • Publisher: Genia Lovett
  • Executive editor: Dan Flannery
  • Founded: 1853
  • Joined Gannett: 2000
  • Employees: 473
  • Circulation: 52,005, weekdays; 65,568, Sundays

A Gannett Blog reader suggested I write about the Chisel package. Do you have an example of good work at a Gannett paper or TV station? Leave a note in the comments section, below. Or to e-mail me confidentially, use this link from a non-work computer; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

[Photo: Sharon Cekada, Post-Crescent; today’s front page, Newseum]

Wisconsin weighs regional copy, design desks

March 10, 2008

Gannett’s 10-paper Wisconsin Newspapers group is considering a plan under which copy and pagination work would be merged into a regional operation, likely resulting in “significant” job cuts, an internal company document shows. Publishers discussed the idea at a meeting last Wednesday that addressed several topics — including consolidating work, according to a meeting agenda I’ve obtained.

The document describes “two possible consolidations. 1) regional copy desk and 2) page layout.” It says executives are “looking at severance costs, which are significant. They will be meeting to walk through the process. At this time, we’re not sure if there are any showstoppers.”

Gannett spokeswoman Tara Connell declined to comment, calling the subject an “internal matter.”

The Wisconsin talks are the first concrete evidence I’ve seen of such a move within Gannett, although the company may already operate regional editing desks elsewhere. (See question, below.)

Consolidating all copy editing into giant regional or statewide desks has emerged as another way for newspaper publishers to cut labor costs at a time when revenue is falling. But critics say copy editors can’t do their jobs well when they work far from the communities their papers serve. (Mayor Smith? Smyth?) Gannett business partner MediaNews Group is a prominent proponent of consolidation.

A Gannett shift to regional editing would not be surprising. The company has made clear that it’s now favoring newspapers in its portfolio that are clustered together. Proximity makes it easier to share resources, a factor in GCI’s decision last year to unload five papers.

Some Wisconsin papers already share copy editing functions, a Gannett Blog tipster says. Geography makes the 10 Wisconsin newspapers good candidates for consolidating work: Eight of them are small afternoon dailies, within about two hours of each other. The biggest among the 10 is the morning Green Bay Press-Gazette, with 55,081 weekday subscribers, and 77,765 on Sunday.

Is your newspaper considering a move toward regional editing? Use this link to e-mail your reply; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.

[Image: Sunday’s Post-Crescent at Appleton, and the Press-Gazette, Newseum]

Cutlines Only: The Post-Crescent

March 6, 2008

A mismatched flu vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration tries to tailor each year to the type of flu strains it expects, could be partly to blame for a recent outbreak, The Post-Crescent says today. Photo by Gannett Wisconsin Media.

Cutlines Only showcases Gannett website art. E-mail suggested links here; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right. Or leave a note in the comments section, below.

[Image: Newseum]

Hot Off the Press: New Year’s Day editions

January 1, 2008

A selection of first-day-of-2008 front pages from across Gannett shows balloons, noise makers, and fireworks in Appleton, Wis.:

. . . Staunton, Va.:

. . . and Tallahassee, Fla.:

[Images: Newseum]