NPPA 2008 Multimedia Immersion workshop underway in Louisville at

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Old May 28th, 2008, 02:29 PM   #1
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NPPA 2008 Multimedia Immersion workshop underway in Louisville

The following is a press release from NPPA. Full story with links and
photos at


LOUISVILLE, KY (May 27, 2008) – The National Press Photographers Association's 2008 Multimedia Immersion workshop got underway today in downtown Louisville, starting early with a packed room of participants and loads and loads of state-of-the-art technology, and running late into the evening with a Day One crash course in the arsenal of multimedia tools that photojournalists will be using this week to tell their stories.

"I'm here to absorb," Renée C. Byer of the Sacramento Bee said at the end of the first day. She won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for "A Mother's Journey."

"There are so many unanswered questions. I need to know what it's really going to take to do video. I don't know if I'll end up doing it or not. [She's not shooting video in her job at the present time]. Or if, on a large project, I'll consider shooting some of it in video, or someone else shoots it and it's a part of a bigger story. I just don't know at this point, but I need to know what it really takes to be able to do this," Byer said.

NPPA's Multimedia Immersion, and later this week NPPA's Convergence '08 conference, are at the Downtown Marriott Hotel in central Louisville.

The first day's morning included a look at the mechanics of audio-driven slideshows, as demonstrated by Josh Meltzer and Will Yurman, training in using Apple's Aperture by Apple's Jeffrey Morse, hands-on equipment training in audio and video gear from Rob Rosenthal of the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies, Regina McCombs of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Scott Utterback of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and examples of the power of sound as demonstrated by Rob Rosenthal, who produces stories as a freelancer for National Public Radio.

Story assignments came in the evening at the dinner break. On Tuesday the workshop's participants will pick up gear and start producing their assigned stories in the afternoon following the morning's sessions on audio an Sound Track Pro with Joe Weiss, video's Final Cut Pro with Tim Broekema, and a review of storytelling skills led by Bob Sacha, Scott Anger, and Sharon Levy Freed.

Photojournalists in the Multimedia Immersion workshop this week are using Apple MacBook Pro laptop computers, Canon XHA-1 digital video cameras, Olympus digital audio recorders, Sennheiser wirelelss and ME66 shotgun, microphones, Final Cut Pro and Sound Track Pro and Soundslides software, and Aperture.

"We're so busy with the daily news that it's hard to step away and get caught up and I'm really interested in multimedia and we'd like to start doing it at the paper," Immersion workshop participant Lindsay Pierce said as she gathered her gear for Tuesday's shooting assignment. She's a staff photographer at the Daily Times in Farmington, NM.

"I work on a small staff [two] and we've done a lot of online research about it but we've had no chance to really experiement on our own. We've done a bit with Soundslides. The tools we have are limited. We'll have some lower-end equipment to work with (at the paper) but as long as we can get some experience, we'll do it." Her assignment for the workshop is a sculptor.

An evening panel discussion on the new ethical and legal considerations that come along with multimedia storytelling wrapped up the formal part of the program Tuesday night, but workshop participants and faculty members continued talking well into the night about what they've covered on this first day, and what's yet to come. Moderated by NPPA past president Alicia Wagner Calzada, the panel of Richard Koci Hernandez, McCombs, Anger, and Freed shared their views on the ethics of the use of audio in multimedia presentations, and the importance of having signed releases as well as rights clearances for any music used in a photojournalist's story.

The panel answered questions from workshop participants about the ethics of using music in multimedia photojournalism stories, and whether the use of music manipulates how viewers respond to the story. Some of the panelists said they thought it was alright to use music with the piece if it supported the message of the story and the message the photojournalist is trying to deliver; other panel members seemed to be more concerned with whether photojournalists and publishers had secured the rights to the music to keep from being sued, and less focused on whether the technique is manipulative.

Before the panel started, NPPA's Code of Ethics had been distributed to workshop participants for their consideration. Item 6 of the Code says, "Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.

As the midnight hour approached, photojournalists were on their knees in the hotel lobby unpacking their equipment packs and familiarizing themselves with the video cameras and audio gear. Tomorrow, they'll start shooting their stories (which will be online by the end of the workshop).

The NPPA's annual board of directors and business meeting starts Wednesday morning and it will be carried live in streaming video online at

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Old May 29th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #2
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I bet photojournalists could make some great stuff if they have good gear. From reading magazines and newspapers they already know how to tell a story....I just hope they don't go for a news style package.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 07:03 PM   #3
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Photojournalists can make great stuff with anything they have. For them, the gear doesn't really matter. Their skill is in the eye and the ability to tell a story. The ones I've met each own a Holga, proof that the best tool is always whatever's nearby, whatever works, whatever is at hand that can make pictures. I have not yet met a PJ that doesn't have a Holga in their arsenal.

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Old May 30th, 2008, 05:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for the post, Chris. Having been a photog for 28 years (only some of them professionally - I started at 8!), I'd never heard of the Holga. Same settings I had on my first camera, a bellows medium format that I had given to me to "play" with. Imagine their surprise when I actually put film in it!
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