Friday, December 28, 2007

Bhutto's last moments, a photographer's account

As I'm sure we've all heard, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday after a rally just weeks before elections in that country.

John Moore was on hand shooting for Getty.

Someone at the New York Times must have been on the ball because by this morning they had Moore's pictures and his account of what was happening up on the website.

It's graphic at times, so you've been warned, yet powerful and not to be missed.

Keep an ear out for when he talks about where he decided to shoot and not shoot. That's experience talking, very brutal experience.

It may not be flashy or groundbreaking, but it shows the power of multimedia and it's ability to take us there and deliver a richer story. Plus you get to here a master like Moore speak. (I wouldn't be surprised to see his name up for another Pulitzer.)

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quick Hits: Uprooted

I haven't been posting as often as I like, because while I see a lot of Multimedia out there, I don't always see a lot of good multimedia. And then sometimes I see something that just grabs the foundations and shakes it all up like a rag doll in a pit bulls mouth.

Chew it all up, spit it, change the game.

Dai Sugano of the Mercury News, along with reporter Julie Patel, worked on Uprooted for six months. Examining how land use in the Bay Area has effected the residents of a mobile home park in Sunnyvale from their struggle to stay to the aftermath of relocation as developers take over.

The piece is as moving as it is innovative and for storytellers like us, it makes us reexamine just what effective multimedia can be.

As Dai has shown, there is no formula.

This is without a doubt the most cinematic piece I've seen anyone do, anywhere! (Seriously, I'm convinced Dai is ready for Sundance.)

And on my personal list it ranks number two, right behind The Star's Noir-inspired piece on the Conrad Black trial, as my all-time favorite multimedia piece.

Dai took a brief timeout from partying with his son to say: "I don't know if you have seen it in the paper. My 6-month project on two mobile home families finally ran last Sunday. UPROOTED. When you have time, please check it out."

Don't ever let it be said that the man talks to much.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The warm embrace of Mother Jones

A little shameless self-promotion (because personal cultural modesty isn't in keeping with the American way).

Wee! Another goal off the list.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Tracking Santa

It's cold, I'm tired and there's a few cool things Santa related that I ran across... soooo... It's light and fluffy time.

Wired Magazine has a really funny article in the December issue that breaks down how one man can run such an empire and still do it year after year, the high tech way (it is Wired after all).

Unfortunately I can't link you to it, it's not online (it is a magazine for profit after all).

NPR however has a report on the article, and it's almost as fun.

Google is tracking Santa in partnership with NORAD again. Pretty cool use of Google Maps, man if we're not careful those two Stanford kids are gonna take over the world.

But if you're one of my new New Mexico readers, perhaps you prefer a more local provider of satellite surveillance. There's Los Alamos Labs.

Now, if you like your Santa's a little more edgy, here's a couple of stories for you.

First, a bunch of drunk Santas, they say 50, rushed into a New Zealand Movie theater caroling to "Ho! F*****! Ho!"

Finally, the desert, my good buddy Daniel Esch created this piece last year after attending Santacon.

I was supposed to go with him, but missed it, and after seeing what he came back with, boy did I miss it!

Well that's that.

Happy Thanksgiving part 2, III


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The best layout in the history of newspapers (take a long hard look)

Do you see it?

No? Focus on the center. Take a look at the two pictures, and no they aren't from the same story.

It maybe hard to read here, but the top image is a stand alone feature and the one below it is a news story on a stolen wallet, the surveillance camera that caught it on tape and pictured the suspect whose identity is unknown.

One word: "..."

Checkout the PDF for a better image.


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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quick hits: Driving Detroit

The Detroit Free Press photo staff decided to jump into the deep end with Driving Detroit, a multimedia piece that uses Google Maps as a foundation and lays over it videos, sideshows, flip book panoramas, written stories, a public forum and infographics to explore the streets, the homes and the people that make the 11th largest city in the US what it is.

The idea was to get a unique view of Detroit, a short-term, street-level survey of Detroit's 138 square miles, a once-in-a-lifetime snapshot of the city Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and others insist is coming back.

From downtown -- where the comeback is evident -- through the immense territory of Detroit's neighborhoods -- where the future seems less certain -- the trip was never boring.

The 4-month project explores 2,700-miles through 2,100 streets and journeys from the ritziest of digs to the lowliest of slums.

It's not perfect, but it's a huge stride forward in community journalism and using the tools and code available to create something that serves the community and takes a historical snapshot of a city.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Thinking out loud: We need some new tricks

So here's a thought. When we were just starting out in multimedia a short 2 (3?) years ago, we were all giddy and excited and couldn't wait to play with our new toys. And very quickly we started experimenting and trying new things and after a short gestation period with the basics many of us started thinking about how we edit in four dimensions rather than just two, or three when it came to layout. All of a sudden we had Time to deal with, and that made everything a lot more interesting.

So we started doing fancy stuff like tiles, fades, cross-fades, pans, and then we got even fancier with split screens and flipbooks (or if you prefer a more avant guard, montages), but what since then?

It's like we're running out of tricks. Maybe it's just me, but I haven't seen anything new. When I started playing around I used all the basic film editing tricks I had picked up, and by the time everyone else was doing the basics I moved on to experiment with flipbooks, and when others started doing that, I had already started experimenting with split screens and selective crop-ins and other goodies.

I felt that each time I had managed to stay ahead of the curve and was trying something new, but now I'm just not seeing it. I'm still doing flipbooks and split screens and pans and whatnot, but now so is everyone else. It's like we've all run out of new tricks.

We're all doing the same thing, I mean EVERYONE is flipbooking today! And it's starting to get stale and homogenized.

I think that may be because we're still looking to film for our guide map. Perhaps it's time we stop looking to mimic everything that's come before and start creating.

We need some new tricks.

*Thinking out loud is where Shaminder just blabs about whatever pressing thought is on his mind.... so in other words it's just like Twitter, but he refuses to remember another pair of passwords and log into another program everyday. He also refuses to say 10-4 on the Nextel, but that's another story.

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