Monthly Archives: January 2015

#GoodMorningAtlanta: Photos from 1/26-1/30

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

One week last year, I used this space to spotlight the Atlanta sunset.

This year let’s take a week to showcase the opposite.

Here are five photos of an Atlanta sunrise, to wake you up for whatever comes your way. Enjoy!

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The lesson I learned telling a story about race

I was expecting 25%.

Typically I try to avoid person-on-the-street assignments — the kind that involve humble reporters like yourself asking “regular” people to opine on a certain issue. I prefer to hear from experts or the newsmakers themselves; I dislike the concept of 2-3 random interviewees somehow speaking for a whole community.

I also despise the rejection.

People are often, understandably, reluctant to speak on-camera about a potentially controversial issue. Look at the situation from their eyes: a reporter, who you likely have never met or even seen on TV, approaches you with a camera and microphone. You don’t know where your words — with your face attached — will wind up. Will you be edited? Almost certainly. Taken out of context? Possibly. And even if the reporter represents your words perfectly, can you trust yourself to say exactly what you think without somehow garbling the message? Think of how many conversations or arguments where you thought afterward, “If only I had said …” Do you want to stand by recorded answers to questions you have not yet heard?

It’s a tough sell.

Throw in the potential land mine of race, and you have my recent assignment. (more…)

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Batman, Oregon, & Tamir Rice

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Batman (1/9/15, NPR’s This American Life): Whenever I listen to This American Life on NPR, I marvel at its producers’ ability to consistently find truly fascinating stories.

They then turn those stories into enthralling hour-long programs.

This month’s “Batman” episode fills the bill. I actually rolled my eyes a bit at the title and constant references to the super-hero, which seemed somewhat forced and even subjective in glamorizing the program’s main subject.

But that subject — a blind man who can ride bikes and hike, among other things — and the program’s overall examination of the capabilities of the blind make for a superb listen. Producers Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller weave their way through a story that absorbs from start to finish.

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#GoodMorningAtlanta: Photos from 1/19-1/23

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

What a difference a week makes.

A week after chilly, foggy, rainy conditions in Atlanta, we had a beautiful weekend ripe for photo opportunities.

And everyone seemed to head outside.

Here are five photos from the past weekend in Piedmont Park:

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PODCAST EPISODE #25: John Kirtley, photographer, WLOS-TV

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Roughly seven minutes into this episode of the Telling The Story podcast, guest John Kirtley said the following:

“No one said this was easy. If it was easy, the world of storytelling wouldn’t be such a unique thing.”

During an already honest interview, this was a particularly honest moment. So often in this business, we try to maintain an optimistic, even idealistic, point of view. But Kirtley made his opinion perfectly clear: this job is difficult.

And to do it well, and to do it regularly? Even tougher.

“It’s practice; you know that. You gotta work on improving a little detail each time, and eventually you’re going to get to the point where it all adds up.”

Kirtley has seen things add up. He has worked in numerous cities in his ten-year career, but he has found a home in Asheville, N.C., where he has now become the assistant chief photographer at WLOS-TV. He has also claimed seven regional Emmy awards.

He joins me for Episode #25 of the Telling The Story podcast.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring the world’s most mysterious chicken dish

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

The Search for General Tso (January 2015, Wicked Delicate Films): A new documentary, exploring the history behind one of the world’s most famous dishes, is playing in seven cities this week.

Luckily for me, one of those cities is Atlanta.

I had the pleasure of seeing The Search for General Tso — he of the famous General Tso’s Chicken — and I highly recommend it. The subject matter sounds whimsical at best, but it provides a stupendous launching pad for a 75-minute film that touches numerous fascinating topics.

Credit to filmmaker Ian Cheney for putting together an entertaining — even absorbing — documentary that has already dominated the awards circuit at various film festivals. And by the way, the movie is also available on demand through iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and other outlets.

So you can watch it anywhere … and you should.

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#GoodMorningAtlanta: Photos from 1/12-1/16

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Let’s be clear: winter in Atlanta is far tamer than winter elsewhere in the U.S.

When I look at single-digit temperatures in Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston, and Buffalo, I know we’ve got it good. (Sometimes I feel slightly differently in the summer, though.)

That said, cold weather still comes, the trees still lose their leaves, and a normally outdoorsy city becomes less so. With that in mind, here are five photos from warmer times in the city of Atlanta:

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5 reasons for hope for journalism’s future

I realized it the other day: I started the year by highlighting a sobering story for any storyteller.

I linked to a brilliant piece by Andrew Marantz called “The Virologist”, which profiled a web site/content creator who aims for clicks and money without any nod to ethics or storytelling. Sites like this — think Buzzfeed, but even more calculated — drive on the highway of journalism without getting into the lane of journalistic responsibility. Marantz gave an absolutely brutal assessment of the landscape of the Web.

The piece, to be sure, started the year on a low note.

So let’s take it back to a higher one.

Let’s use this space to talk about what excites us for the new year — and the future of journalism and storytelling.

Here are five things that give me hope: (more…)

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Atkins, custard, & Stuart Scott

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Getting back with carbs (1/9/15, The Atlantic): Sometimes it all comes down to tone.

Strike the wrong tone for a story, and it will stick out like a cactus spine.

Strike the right tone, and it will flow like a waterfall.

In this case, The Atlantic strikes it right.

James Hamblin authors this piece about the redesigned Atkins diet — It limits protein! It allows for carbs! — and treats it with all the skepticism of a Daily Show correspondent. The wariness is warranted, as Hamblin chronicles the history of the diet and its several mutations.

The article is informative and entertaining, and it is accompanied by cartoon graphics and a musing sub-headline, all the underscore the curiosity of its subject:

“The reinvented Atkins diet flirts with reason.”

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#GoodMorningAtlanta: Photos from 1/5-1/9

In October 2014 I began posting a photo every weekday morning with the hashtag #GoodMorningAtlanta. The goal? To inspire, enlighten, or just plain help others start their day with a smile. See each week’s photos by clicking on the #GoodMorningAtlanta category, and view the daily photo by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Winter has set in.

And even though winter in Atlanta pales in comparison to the winters of most American cities, it can provide some pretty gloomy days.

Here are a few examples, I hope, of poignant photography during the dog days of January; enjoy!

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