Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forecast: unpredictable

"Shoes and shirt off, Towson University sophomore Ryan Brooks soaks up some sun at the Speakers Circle Thursday afternoon. Below, a student walks across the Union bridge Sunday afternoon. Over the weekend, Towson and surrounding areas experienced unpredictable Maryland spring weather with high temperatures in the 80s Friday and Saturday and dipping to the low 60s on Sunday."

Stories fall through, change and layout gets transformed. It's the nature of the beast in journalism.

Just when the editorial board decides what is of importance and cover worthy - change strikes. Life gets hectic for everyone, from the page designers to the reporters and everyone in between.

Running around, making calls and conducting interviews. Trying to salvage a story or structure another article worthy of the front page.

But while the nouns and verbs are being pumped onto the computer monitor by reporters the biggest stress normally lies on the photographer trying to find art that works well with the new story on deadline.

Thus was true last week.

The Student Government Association elections went haywire. To keep things to the point, the paper could not be objective, visually, and ran into some difficulties with turmoil within the SGA. (read: the first election commission resigned after the SGA senate voted down an extension deadline for potential senators.)

Nothing went as planned.

With the story about elections unpredictable, the paper went to "plan B" which was, umm, yeah. We were not sure.

The only other main story worth gracing the front page was the ongoing tailgating policy story, which in my opinion, is absurd. After initially [basically] eliminating tailgating at the university, the school has decided to may keep BYOB policy. But who knows what they are thinking.

The downside to running this story is again... no visual. There have been past images ran of tailgating and to be honest, no images worth running on the cover from the past six months with people drinking in a parking lot.

At this point, there was only one option. Feature standalone on cover. Thankfully unprecedented spring weather with high temperatures in the 80s Thursday, Friday and Saturday shined throughout campus.

Features are always easy to be made with odd weather, be it hot, cold, raining or snowing. So I set out on campus Thursday to find something worth being printed onto toilet paper news print (sometimes I do with it were a glossy front publication).

I did my classic routine when finding a feature on campus. Walk around twice, and then shoot.

The first time around, I scope out possible subjects to photograph. Often stopping and examining their actions.

The second time around I'll snap a couple frames from a distance and also shoot anything that is new on my second trek around.

On my final walk, which is normally back toward the office, I'll make my images and get names of my subjects. With campus as small as it is, this technique works beautifully each and every time.

With an image ready to be laid out on Sunday, a second election commission was in place, and the SGA elections would go on as planned. But we still didn't have an image to accompany it.

We decided to run the tailgating story, the SGA update and the weather standalone, with a twist.

Instead of just running the warm weathered feature, I also shot a feature in the rain to show the unpredictable April weather.

Pop quiz: What have you learned?

Yes, that's correct. Things are bound to change when you only publish twice a week. Thankfully the Web site keeps news freshly updated anytime it feels like breaking. But I am happy that we once again kicked ass and got a nice looking cover.


Post a Comment

<< Home