When we started producing photo galleries a few years ago, I remember having a conversation with fellow photographer Paul T. Erickson. We were discussing how to fairly split up coverage of local teams in a football gallery. I don't remember it word for word, but the gist was whether we should have a precisely equal split of frames featuring each school.
We decided that was silly. Who would be so nit-picky as to complain about that. Of course, we would never blatantly favor one local team over another, but when you're covering two games across the Tri-Cities by yourself on deadline, you shoot as much as you can of what happens and then pick the strongest photos for the gallery.
Five years later and as far as I know, there were no complaints, until...
Never miss a local story.
This little gem popped up as an online comment (spelling and awkward spacing left as-is):
Hello, from Michigan! I'm the grand-daddy of Kamaikin football player, (redacted by me) -- and I'm flying out to the.Tri-City area for next week's game at Lampson Stadium -- my repeat of last year's trip! I have one minor comment to make concerning the game of last Friday. The pictures of the Braves game against Southridge seemed to be a tad one-sided -- lots of blue jerseys and only a shot or two of anything that reflect the Kamaikin victory. Perhaps your photographer should've wandered to the other side of the field during halftime and captured a little of the Kamaikin spirit?
The irony of misspelling Kamiakin aside, this little comment riled me up more than ever before. I'm not thin-skinned and longtime readers know I'm not shy about pointing out my own shortcomings. While this critique was much less venomous than the angry reader letters from a 2009 drowning, it made me much angrier because unlike the drowning comments, this one made zero sense.
Sure, the photos attached to the game story were unfortunately not the two that ran in print, which show Kamiakin sacking Southridge's quarterback and the Braves' Kylle Robertson punching it in at the end of the second half:
This comment didn't appear on the game story, however, but on a brief roundup of area scores, a story that didn't have any photos attached. What really hacked me off was that somebody was complaining about us slighting Kamiakin, of all the area schools we cover.
The Braves have been solid-to-great in a lot of sports since I've been here. Football, cross country, track, basketball, baseball, softball, gymnastics and wrestling have all warranted attention through the years — so much that I often worry that people would complain about us playing favorites to Kamiakin.
And then this happened.
As for my thought process on coverage, the Southridge-Kamiakin game was my second of the evening. After about half a quarter at Edgar Brown covering Chiawana's 45-0 shutout of cross-town rival Pasco High, I high-tailed it to Lampson Stadium. Since Southridge was the "home" team, it handled the halftime entertainment, which may skew the "pro-Southridge" photos a bit more blue and gold. Also, knowing that we likely will cover a lot more Kamiakin games this season, I made sure to spend plenty of time on the Suns' sideline.
Here are my favorites from the evening:
There's plenty of red, for sure. In case you think I've curated the blog offerings to support my argument, you can check out the gallery and decide for yourself.
I can see this reader's perspective, being the grandfather of a player on the team, but it's just the latest example of how people will complain when you least expect it.
Speaking of unexpected....
The Dallas Morning News' Louis DeLuca found some unusual and spectacular light during a recent game between the Rangers and the Angels. Talk about having the photo gods smile upon you...
The fallout and discussion from the Sun-Times photojournalist mass layoff continues. Check out word person Tony Kelly's perspective at Editor & Publisher, and read a thoughtful interview with Rob Hart, who was laid off, and how he's embracing change.
These incredible (albeit posed) photos of animals turned into statues at Lake Natron in Tanzania was a popular link in my Facebook feed this week. They're hauntingly cool, and I'd love to see what's at the bottom of the lake.
And to end on a sad note for a change, Bill Eppridge died on Wednesday. He's best known for photographing Sen. Robert Kennedy's assassination.