To be anonymous or not?

When I read the New York Times article, “News Sites Rethink Anonymous Online Comments,” I immediately thought this:

Anonymity equals Drama.

When online social networking, and online chat conversations were becoming popular,  I reflect back to my middle school years of AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).  In those individual chat boxes and in those chat rooms, people would stop at nothing to tear each other down, swear like crazy and at the end of it, really not say anything beneficial at all.

I think within news organizations, anonymity shouldn’t be allowed.

If we are commenting on credible news organizations websites, anonymity is just another excuse for people who really have nothing to stay, to say something of no value for all to read.  It’s a waste of time when that happens.

Obviously I keep on my local news organizations, and I do enjoy reading the comments at AnnArbor.com but when I see an article that has 25+ comments, I only pay attention to the top 3 that were voted in by other commenters.  After all, I don’t have a lot of time and I will not waste it on people merely bitching and not saying anything to put a resolution to the problem if there is one.

Seattle Times and AnnArbor.com are very similar.  Both newspapers monitor the comments by the staff.  Seattle Times just erases the comment notifying the user by email that the comment was deleted.  AnnArbor.com actually writes a statement in the comment section indicating a comment was removed because it violated their comment policy.

I think the same rules apply.  If you will not provide you’re name, we won’t use you as a source.  It has to work in actually reporting the story, it should work with the people who read and comment.

Downtown Ypsilanti’s new business, B-24’s proves to be sustainable

Just after two-months of operation, B-24’s in downtown Ypsilanti is proving to be viable.

Paying tribute to Ypsilanti heritage, B-24’s name originates from World War II when 8,700 “Liberator’s” bombers were flown out of Willow Run Airport.  During peak volumes, Willow Run employed nearly 42,000 people including “Rosie the Riveter.”

Famous B-24 logo outside of the shop in downtown Ypsilanti

Martha and Tom Rumford, Ann Arbor, who own the building where B-24’s is located, has always seen this space as a coffee shop.

“This is the industrial path of the area.  So in this way, we connect our generations,” Martha Rumford says.  “Some people don’t know what a B-24 is and when 8,700 airplanes were flown out of here, that’s quite an impact on the world.”

Walking in, the clean, sharp ambiance fits with the industrial-life, World War II theme.  Lining the back walls, black and white pictures from the Ypsilanti Historical Society of the bombers depict life back then.  At the front of the store, signs calling all local artists for open-mic night.

Rebecca Manney, Ypsilanti, along with Martha and Tom Rumford tasted coffee from several different local roasters and finally settled on Roos Roast and Mighty Good coffee both from Ann Arbor and also Chazzano’s coffee from Ferndale.

Operations Manager, Rebecca Manney poses in front of the traditional espresso machine used at B-24's

 

 

“The freshness and the quality and the fact that it’s local are really the main reasons that went into our coffee selection,” Manney said.

 

 

 

 

View of the famous pour-coffee coffee that B-24 brews.

 

 

 

“We feature pour-over coffee so you can pick up every hint and nuance of each coffee,” Manney said. All bakery and bagel items are freshly baked every morning at B-24’s by Lesley Austin who owns a dress shop down the street from B-24’s.

 

Barry Dauphin, Ypsilanti, was excited to see a coffee shop re-open in this space after the disappointed closing of the former Bombadill’s.

“I like the décor,” Dauphin said. “I think the new theme is local and very connected to the area.”

And Dauphin is very happy to see life springing back into Ypsilanti.

“Every time one thing opens, something else closes. It’s almost like karma,” Dauphin said.  “And so I’m hoping with this place opening, others will move into a direction of more vitality in downtown.  There wouldn’t be a downtown without folks like this.”

 

Art gallery posted in the dining room at B-24. Artist: Fritz Ho

 

 

Every month, B-24’s features a local artist.  This month, Fritz Ho, a barista who works at B-24’s is featuring six pieces for sale.

 

 

 

 

In an effort to increase traffic, B-24’s is advertising for local artists to play in their space.

“We want to be a meeting place for groups and for live music,” Manney said.

And that’s what is happening in this space.

Open mic nights are being offered every Friday from 7:30-10 p.m. and sign-up’s can happen either their Facebook page or in store.  Also, calling local bands and artists to play sets other nights of the week.

“It’s interesting tying coffee and airplanes together but it awesome showing Ypsilanti heritage,” Manney said. “And the locals appreciate the name.”

As regulars become familiar with B-24’s, Manney discovers that a lot of people don’t know what the B-24 bomber is.

“It’s interesting to hear the reactions from the customers when they ask questions about the heritage,” Manney said.

With acknowledgement from the local neighborhood, B-24’s is looking to promote their sweet treats and their local music events also serving up ice cream for summer time around the corner.

“We are looking to hit the local business school for next year and canvas the neighborhood,” Martha Rumford says. “For now, were into summer and looking forward to the local festivals and the music it will bring to our part of town.

For more information, visit b-24’s.com or their Facebook page.

test video post

2010 Detroit Auto Show test

 

What the still photo does for journalism-

In the article, “What the still photo does best,” Hank Klibanoff depicts a world becoming more dependent on photo journalism and video and how one picture can capture the viewer’s emotion immensely.

It is so doubt that with the evolution of smart phones, flip cams, and cameras, that it has become much easier and more acceptable to shoot video or photos of events taking place.  And although, the typical person doesn’t have any photo training, we are able to depict history making events at any moment in time.  A trained photographer is not always on the scene to snap something.  However, still photos will be able to capture and cultivate the human experience rather than any video.  Although a video can be watched over and over again, we can also stare at photos for a long time and really try to get inside of what was really going on in that place and time.

Vice President Joe Biden, joined by daughter Ashley Biden, left, wife Dr. Jill Biden, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, react to a joke made by performing artist Jamie Foxx during “The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House,” a concert celebrating Black History Month and the legacy of Motown Records, in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 24, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The quality of the still photo and how it can be refined and edited will always have it’s place as well.  In screen shots of video, you cannot clean them up.  Even though Neda Agha Soltan’s death was recorded on video by a cell phone, the screen grab doesn’t capture how trying that moment in time was.  However, the fact that someone did record it and then was forwarded to become national news is incredible.  To really capture my emotion and reaction, I would rather not see a screen grab and watch the video. Events such as these needs to be documented to become the news.

There is a reason that Brian Storm has a photograph by Charles Moore hanging in his office depicting the emotional scene in Birmingham of a black woman and two black men being pounded by a fire house.  For Storm, it more than likely is daily reminder of what this country went through to get to where we are today when it comes to the social injustice of blacks back then.  And really, you can’t get that everyday from your office if it’s not in still photo.

President Barack Obama receives a leather-bound 2009 edition of the "Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States" from David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, center, in the Oval Office, Feb. 25, 2011. Joining them are staff from the Office of the Federal Register and National Archives and Records Administration. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It is unsettling that Webinars are starting to replace typical workshops and classes for photo training.  After spending a large amount of time in my first career, developing Webinars and introducing them to my staff became second nature.  However, at the end of the day, I saw what Webinars can’t do for several individuals.  It still cannot provide that one-on-one approach that so many of us need.  Sometimes convenience cannot take the place of thorough-ness.  I think that for something as important as photo-journalism, we cannot afford mistakes.  Most of the time, we only have one chance to depict history and because someone chose convenience over getting it right the first time, is sad especially if it’s the only chance we had to get the shot.