* the camera roll *

little snaps from my iphone, among other things

Archive for the ‘newspapers’ Category

cool iphone/shakeitphoto pics from my boy heisler

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the dude’s just damn good, and such a nice guy too!



Written by John

March 29, 2010 at 7:33 am


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so was clicking around my old employer’s website tonight:


then i started looking at websites of some london tabloids:


see some similarities?  oh how the once mighty have fallen so low.

Written by John

August 13, 2009 at 11:50 pm


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remember that movie “the paper”?  that 1994 ron howard flick about a day in the life of a fictional new york tabloid?  the one with michael keaton, glenn close, robert duvall, etc…? 

it’s on cable right now.  i haven’t seen it in a long time.  yeah, its cheesy and over the top.  but gotta say, makes me miss my days at the paper in chicago.  

i know, chicago isn’t new york.  but there were times during late night walking out of the tower after an evening of busting my ass for some breaking metro story, when it really felt like i was doing some really cool major metropolitan news work…  stuff that really got the heart pounding.  these were back in the days when ink on newsprint was actually read, when morning radio jocks would start their shows by commenting about the day’s headlines, when one would pick thru the big  heap of papers scattered around lunch tables from the folks who read it before you.  back then, a single copy of the paper would be read by maybe three or four different people, which would mean that the number of actual newspaper readers would conservatively be at least double what the circulation numbers were.  so this meant that if i had page one lead art, that at least 2 million people saw my photo that day.  kinda cool for a punk ass kid in his mid 20s.  

it’s funny how my newspaper days are slowly slipping into the back recesses of my memory.  these days i don’t really even refer to myself as a “photojournalist” anymore.  “photographer” will do just fine, thank you.  it’s almost like i don’t want to associate myself with the few remaining folks that still occupy the newspaper newsrooms, clinging onto a job that so many analysts have determined will not exist by year’s end.  

makes me feel like shit sometimes, like i’m denying something that has clearly shaped who i am as a photographer, if not as a person.  i sometimes will notice this when i’m going thru my current portfolio.  i’ve worked so hard in these past four years of freelancing to exorcise the newspaperness out of my shooting.  as a result my style has changed significantly — i’m a lot glossier now than when i was back at the paper, and the types of pictures i shoot these days require at least some sort of orchestration on my part.  but i think when compared to other freelancers out there who cut their teeth in art school instead of j-school, my current book is still decidedly “journalistic”.  maybe there’s no denying where i come from.

back to the flick.  there’s this scene where the cub photog gets sent out to a perp walk for a page one story.  she freaks, thinks she misses the shot because she was pushed onto the ground during the perp walk scrum, then comes back to the newspaper photo department all dejected.  there’s this one split-second image of her as she steps out of the elevator into the photo department:  she’s disheveled, a photo vest weighing down her droopy shoulders…  

not quite sure why, but there’s something about that image which triggers some massive nostalgia.  mind you, i never wore a photo vest, would never be caught dead in one.  but i think it’s the feeling of utter exhaustion as i’m riding the elevator into the newsroom after working a big spot news story, running into the photo department to soup my film on deadline.  jeez, no one soups film on deadline anymore.  hell, not many people soup film anymore, come to think about it.

Written by John

April 13, 2009 at 12:51 am

Posted in insomnia, newspapers

this makes me very nervous, part II

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just a quick little refer to a nytimes piece on the possible death of newspapers and why they need to be saved:


and here are some letters to the editor in response:


they both make some great points.  gotta say tho, i’m siding on the idea of a total reinvention of newspapers, where they drop the “paper” part of the business.  a website will be much leaner and cheaper to run instead of this inflated 19th century model of disseminating news via pulped trees.  

oh, an ominous thing to view and ponder:

Written by John

January 31, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Posted in newspapers

this makes me very nervous

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for those who adore the nytimes, read this:


fine, so i can live with a few newspaper closings around the country.  newsprint is an outdated mode of news dissemination.   and kill me for thinking this, but most cities and metropolitan centers do not need more than one newspaper.  that issue is pretty much solving itself in two-paper cities like seattle, chicago, and denver.  

i’ve always looked to the public television/radio model as an eventual answer to the newspaper problem.  print news media clearly aren’t good business investments.  i would rather see them more as non-profits or civic trusts, something that isn’t beholden to market trends and fluctuations.  that will probably eventually happen, when newspapers drop the “paper” part of their operation.  then they won’t be saddled with the ridiculous overhead of printing and transporting news printed on paper to people who would rather read it online.

but when the threat of closure hits the grey lady, that really scares me.  if there is one newspaper that i think could/should weather this mess, it’s the times.  the sulzberger family is a news family.  that’s their family trade, and they’ve been the best at it for the past hundred years or so.  

i guess it makes sense that market woes affect the best of them.  proper news gathering is costly, something that only the times have been unwavering about. the times is the only newspaper who has thought it important enough to continuously fund a robust and thorough baghdad bureau since the start of the war.  and also, it also brings us really profound pieces like this:


before the los angeles times found themselves in the grips of the evil gnome, david geffen had actively sought to take over the paper, publicly proclaiming that he would be happy with a 5% profit and the opportunity to bring the paper back in the loving arms of los angelinos.  it’s also of interest that there have been rumors geffen is still interested, and has recently been in secret chats with the evil gnome.

my hope is that others besides mr. carlos slim join in to save the times.  maybe some of you multi-billionaires reading my blog can take heed of your colleague warren buffett’s example and invest in some newspapers (he owns shares of the washington post company and sits on their board).  

so bill and melinda, take a sliver of that buffett $30 billion and send a check to 620 eight ave.  larry ellison, sell off one of your boats and do the same.  and now that steve jobs is looking down the barrel of mortality, maybe it’s time to leave a little something in his will for the newspaper that happily employs david pogue, your friend and ally in the media world who has been dutifully waving the apple flag since it was rainbow-colored.

Written by John

January 23, 2009 at 7:05 am