Eyeball hunter

March 29, 2013 

It's been a struggle at times to decide between shooting a video or producing a photo gallery. Aside from crime and breaking news videos, readers seem pretty lukewarm to most of our multimedia offerings, with some of my recent videos, like ones from a Health and Wellness Fair and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden's visit to Hanford only getting 30-some views.

It's a pitiful reach, especially when you consider one of those clicks was probably mine as I checked to make sure everything uploaded correctly, and a few more were probably from the newsroom.

The few times I've tried to juggle both have been time consuming, though I was able to put together a decent video from the Cable Bridge Run last year in addition to a 13-frame gallery. The video was a hit by our standards, getting 648 views, but any time spent shooting video is time you're not spending shooting photos. You find yourself taking fewer chances because of the time crunch, as well.

As I entered last Saturday's shift, the decision was easy. A crazy Friday in which I covered an apartment fire and fatal shooting in Finley,

left me with hours to make up. Budget cuts at the paper have reduced us to 37.5 hours per week and we are heavily discouraged from racking up overtime except in extenuating circumstances. Barring other breaking news, this wasn't one of those weekends, so I decided right away that I'd shoot galleries from both the Pooch and Pal Run & Walk and the March for Respect on Saturday.

While part of me was lamenting not being able to strap a GoPro onto a couple pups for what would have been a pretty fun video, it was nice to concentrate on only still photos. Just the simple act of working a scene for a few minutes was a joy, and while photographers should replace the phrase "like shooting fish in a barrel" with "like shooting a dog parade," I was pretty happy with some of my photos:

As usual, I have a little re-editing to do, and I'm now liking this moment

better than the one that ran in the paper:

I was originally won over with the tongue, but the heavy dribble is pretty good too and the runner's foot just fits the frame so much better. Feel free to offer your opinion in the comments.

Time was even tighter at the March for Respect since I had a soccer game starting soon after. I didn't even get to stay for the march, though the rally was probably more interesting to photograph anyway:

People have a way of surprising you, though, and after rushing over to Mary Munekiyo's 104th birthday party, I knew I had to get some video of her. I've covered my share of 100-year-olds' birthday parties, and Munekiyo was incredibly spry, walking herself across the room and waving "thanks" to her guests,

before her friend and fellow Hawthorne Court resident Martha Allen gave her a warm greeting and a fun moment:

I should have realized sooner and gotten some video of her walk and other activities, but the main point of the video was to get her voice and her thoughts:

Sadly, this video followed our viewer's trends, getting only 118 views compared to the 304 from Friday's crime scene clip that was devoid of any real information. In case you're wondering, the gallery traffic dominated, with the dogs getting 15,318 views from 708 visitors and the March for Respect getting 2,446 views from 146. No surprise there on which gallery garnered the most eyeballs.

As we move forward from this fervent demand for video content, I'd like to see these numbers influence our expectations. Even a crappy video that nobody watches takes time to shoot and produce, and that's time that could be better spent telling the stories of our community. Still, page views aren't the only measure, and as I've said before, sometimes a story just screams for video, even if our readers aren't exactly clamoring for it.

For some truly well-done multimedia...

Check out this powerful piece by Sara Naomi Lewkowicz about domestic violence over at Time's Lightbox. It's an update from a previously published photo story.

Also scary is this video of Omaha police apparently chasing a man into a house to take his cell phone after he shot video of his brother's arrest.

You've probably seen it, but these shots by a trio of intrepid Russian photographers who snuck atop a pyramid at night are worth sharing anyway.

And freelancers take note, with this annotated pricing negotiation at A Photo Editor.


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