Thursday, April 13, 2006

Picture Perfect II

Hot on the heels of the New York Times article, the Squidoo team was photographed today for the Journal News, a daily serving the Lower Hudson. (You can read the article online.)

I learned several things today, and I think they're worth sharing.

  • Don't just show up; dress up. I didn't know about the New Tork Times shoot beforehand, so I went to work in my usual mode: a day-plus unshaven, T-shirt and favorite green cardigan. (We're a laid-back crew, or at least everyone I work with can handle my lack of suit and tie, much less collared shirt.) With some forewarning about this shoot, I worked harder. I shaved. And I wore a rare sportcoat, the first time I wore one of two new sport coats actually. (To prove that it's an uncharacteristic fashion statement for me, I popped off one of the buttons on the walk to the subway this morning. We'll see if the sportcoat grows on me, or I on it.) Making that little bit of extra effort made all the difference. I felt better all day, and the shoot felt better. Color me professorial.
  • Don't just document; participate. The Journal News photographer really got into the shoot. I don't mean that she made us pose oddly or do anything particularly over the top. I mean that she did whatever she needed to do to get the shot she wanted -- from her angle. She kneeled on the concrete floor; she lay down flat, splayed out on the floor; and she climbed up on a flimsy single-post stool to get a higher angle. ("We're all going to look concerned!" I said.) That made us like her more. She got into the shoot. She put in the extra effort needed to do what needed to be done.
  • Suburban dailies follow the news in the urban dailies, not vice versa. This isn't a dig against the Journal News. But it is an interesting aspect of newsies. Not only is the Journal News not afraid to follow the Times, it's not afraid to follow the Times in short order. That means that it's either an assumption the Times is going to scoop its regional counterparts. Or that the Journal News knows its readership well enough to know that they won't think twice if they see a piece in the suburban paper that just ran in the big-city daily. Or they don't care because of that assumption. I see a lot of Journal News in the recycling bins at Grand Central, so I think people who commute in from the north read the Journal News -- but who knows?

When I was a writer and editor for a national business magazine, I read a host of regional business journals and alternative for stories that might not have hit the national press yet. Perhaps New York is a special case, but I'd always assumed that stories grew, from smaller media outlets to larger media outlets.

Sometimes, maybe they trickle down.

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