Thursday, April 24, 2008

Grant Park photos

I am no great photographer and have no training at all, but I enjoy taking photos and am trying to get some more practice in. My friend Joe Proudman invited me to go with him to Joseph D. Grant Park last Saturday to take some photos (he even let me use one of his nice cameras). It was a lot of fun and a nice little hike. I realized how much I need to improve, but there were a few good photos. I am especially inexperienced at nature and landscape photos, but it was fun to try. Here is my favorite:

I also finally uploaded some photos to my Flickr account. I will add more soon. So far, they are all from Grant Park and two groups of engagement photos, the most recent being my sister Kelsey (congrats!) (and Sam, too). I will keep updating my Flickr page at:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Daily Election Guide

We have been really busy at the Spartan Daily, and especially at Last week we had another press conference with President Kassing. We wanted to do a live video like last time and also do a live blog. However, at the last minute I had to borrow a camera from the university to do the video because our camera for the paper was being used by a reporter working on another project for me. For some reason, I could not get ustream to recognize the camera on my computer. I am still not sure what happened. Next time I will make sure to test the camera first and hopefully will just use our camera. Luckily, the live blog worked perfectly, so we still had coverage online.

But the really big project last week was our election guide. The Associated Students election is this week, so we wanted to have it done before then. SJSU has a serious problem with apathy when it comes to student government. This year there are only two positions that are contested and six positions that no one is running for at all. Voter turnout is always extremely low. But we realize that it is still important for us to tell students what are going on and make sure everyone know who represents them.

I had two of our reporters, Jesse Kimbrel and Tommy Wright, in charge of getting in touch of all of the candidates, getting information from them and then getting a brief video statement from each. They then edited all of the videos and did a highlight video with each of the candidates from the contested positions. Our A.S. beat writer, John Hornberg, wrote a short summary about the election and then wrote the profiles for each candidate. A few candidates were not willing or able to come in and talk to us, but we made sure we had all of the contested positions covered and got as many of the other people as possible.

One other reporter, Chris Bausinger, helped me in setting up all of the custom pages for each candidate within out College Publisher site. Chris had very little html knowledge, but caught on really fast and was a big help to me.

We also included the guide in our print edition. The same logo at the top of each page on the site was in the skybox on the front page to tell people to look inside and online:

And then the banner was across the page inside as well:

I think the simple banner was an effective way of helping to tie the site and paper version together. The logo is also across the home page and a smaller version is on every page on the site. The only thing I am not really happy about is the double logo on the pages of the guide. I wanted the large banner at the top of every page that is part of the guide to help tie it together. But to make the small logo appear on every page of the rest of the site meant that I also had to include it on the election pages. Oh well. We are also running the small logo at the bottom of the front page for the paper this week until the election is over.

Because the election results are going to be announced on Thursday at noon and we do not print a paper on Friday, we are going to make sure and cover it really well online.

I am really happy with the way it turned out and I hope that it helps to inspire more students to get out and vote.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On being a "Mormon"...

The opinion editor at the Daily has been encouraging me to write a column for the paper about my religion, and I finally did. It is here. It is actually one of the longest things I have written, and it has been getting a lot of traffic online.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Live Blogging at the Daily

Today the Spartan Daily did its first ever live blog. It worked really well, although not very many people were online reading it live.

Ever since I first saw Cover It Live on the Innovation in College Media blog, I knew that we needed to try it. For last month's media conference with President Kassing, we decided to try live video using Ustream. So today's forum on California's budget crisis and how it will impact the CSUs, we decided to try the live blog.

Cover it Live worked really well. Reporter Jesse Kimbrel was at the event blogging, and I was keeping an eye on things back at the newsroom. It was really easy to use and I love that people can see the updates without having to refresh the page. We will definitely do it again.