Monday, December 17, 2007

Time for the next adventure


It came up way to fast, but my time at WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive is over and I am now on my way back to California. At the moment, Suzanne, Koko and I are driving into Iowa (and I have already heard ads on the radio for wanna be presidents) on Interstate 80. We are going to detour and visit some family and friends in Idaho then spend Christmas with Suzanne's family in Salt Lake City before going back to Fremont.

My last few weeks in Washington were great. I am sorry for not posting more.

Today some of my photos are up today with a story about people cutting their own Christmas trees. I think they are some of my best photos yet.

Last week I had a story and photos about Santa Cop - where local police take kids shopping for things they need for Christmas but that their families might not otherwise be able to afford. The story and some of the photos also were printed in last Thursday's Extra. (That means the story and the photos are also on WashingtonPost.com) I really have hit the big time, with a story and two sets of photos printed in the Washington Post! (The other photos were printed not long after I got there.) I am still a devoted web guy, but it is pretty exciting to be a journalism student and be published in an amazing paper like the Post.

I was also able to meet Post owner Don Graham last week and photographer Bill Snead. I also was finally able to go visit the Post newsroom (they are in a separate building across the river) and saw Bob Woodward's office (of course he was not there).

I loved the time I was able to spend in DC. I learned a ton and had a ton of fun, but I will admit that I am excited to be home and see my friends and family. But I also miss some of the people I worked with already. But it is time to move on (we are driving over the Mississippi River right now). I am really excited about the next semester (my last) and am especially looking forward to working as the online editor for the Spartan Daily.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Snow!


So, I am from California, what can I say? The snow is still exciting, even though I have lived in it before and am not a big fan. We did get a couple of inches of snow earlier this week. Luckily it has started to warm up again since then. I happened to be out in Loudoun on Wednesday when we got most of the snow, so I took some photos. You can see the photos here and read the article that goes with them here.

One of the photos was taken with my cell phone and sent in so that it could go online right away and then the other photos were uploaded later. Can you tell which one is the cell photo photo? It's amazing that I could get a photo that good (not fantastic, but good for a phone) and send it to someone miles away who then put it online for the whole world to see.

I am down to one more week here. I can't believe how fast it has gone by. There is still a lot I want to see and do, but there is just not enough time. Suzanne and I did go to the National Archives on Friday and saw the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. It was inspiring to see these original documents that have literally changed the world.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holidays in Loudoun


Last Saturday I went to the annual Holiday Parade in Leesburg to write a story for Loudoun Extra. It was great, but a little cold.

Speaking of cold, the forecast says we could get snow tomorrow! I am not sure if this California boy is ready for that!

Shel Israel on social media in government

I was very lucky this morning to meet social media expert Shel Israel. He was in town to speak at the ALI Social Media in Government conference. I attended his keynote talk and then got to sit and chat with him and local blogger Justin Thorp for a few minutes. I blogged before about Naked Conversations (by Shel and Robert Scoble) and he blogged about me.

Shel pointed out that the businesses (and government organizations) that are reluctant to use social media will eventually be irrelevant as the younger generation comes up and takes over management positions. That is true for most industries, but the question for journalists is: Will newspapers last that long?

We talked about a wide range of issues and topics. One of my favorite of Shel's points in his speech was that social media is a way to have conversations, out in the open, which should be the essence of democracy. Shel is from New England, and pointed to the tradition in some small towns there to have town hall meetings. Social media allow us, today, to have virtual town hall meetings any time, any where and on any topic. I love the openness and of social media; unfortunately, that is exactly what most organizations are afraid of, but when used properly, it can be a huge benefit to everyone.