December 12, 2009
Yesterday marked the end of my run as Managing Editor of the Cal Times. In my time there, I think the entire staff changed at least once, I traveled the country, and watched the entire paper get multiple facelifts. I repeatedly drove through places I normally couldn’t have on campus, interviewed living legends, and got a world of photography experience out of it. I covered everything from sports, to homecoming portraits, to plays.
In memorial, I wanted to give a little history to everyone. I mean, I have been there a long time in college years, and most of the people I know now, I did not know then. The very bottom paragraphs are a farewell to those I worked with. I am sorry this is so long.
First, let me explain the photo. That’s my desk at the office, as I left it. That is how it really looks. The light over me burned out, and no one ever cared to get it fixed. The wet floor sign, was because the ceiling was leaking by my, and Jared’s, desk.
My first semester was interesting, and it was full of a lot of great moments, I haven’t thought about in a long time.
I had class with a man named Chuck, and he was always looking for people to do the now defunct “Talkback.” This was during the lead-up to the candidates for the Democratic nomination too. Hillary Clinton came to Penn State a day or two before, and there was an article about it, but no photo. I was still using film, and knew very little about photography at this point. I was talking going the next day, and Chuck talked me into taking the photos up to Chasity, who was then editor to see if she wanted them. She did. My first actual step in getting a career going.
I wasn’t quite in yet though. The next week, there was an English conference where I got paid by the department to photograph for our records. I got photos of this actress they hired to play Emily Dickinson and Chasity saved me front-page, color space. This was amazing to me at the time. I mean, I wrote a title, a short blurb, and took the photo.
The next week, April 18, I really stepped things up. I had a photo on the front page again, and I was now shooting the portraits for “talkback.” The semester was coming to a close, and while I wasn’t on staff yet I got some great opportunities the next week. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., came to speak on campus about Environmentalism. Hillary Clinton also actually came to Cal U for a rally. These were both pretty big deals, and I was there for both. I dominated the front-page that week. I was also using the Canon 40D I now have.
The final week of the semester was also a big deal for me. Frank Warren, famous for this “Post Secret” project came to campus and I got to help Tasha Oskey interview him and take the photos. Again, front page. I liked this photo. Also, an other milestone for me my first photospread. It wasn’t anything amazing, jus a “The Day in the Life” spread of shots I got around campus.
This semester started with me on staff as “Photography Editor.” This issue netted me my first paycheck taking photos for the paper. The issue itself was rather in remarkable.
The Sept. 12, 2008 issue sticks in my mind only because it was my first attempt at using InDeisgn. I made a fact box about squids, and blended it in with the page. When Jeff, my boss, looked over it to send it to the printer, he added a box, and ruined my affect. I still laugh about this.
Nothing happened for a while. I got more and more involved in layout, and tried some creative “Talkback” photos. My favorite part of these days, now that the novelty of being a newspaper photographer was wearing off, was delivering the papers with Jared the managing editor, each week. The place we always got them printed always did a piss-poor job and we always got a good laugh out of it.
Part way through this semester, I started writing classic videogame reviews. This was always fun. Jared and I would mainly talk about some game we used to love like Dr. Mario, and I’d write about it. I covered a lot of well-known classics with a comical spin such as “Oregon Trail” and “Super Mario Bros.” as well as some lesser known games like “Escape From Monkey Island.” I did my second re-invention of “Talkback.” At this point though, there was a lot of political news. It is very important, but not something I can do a lot with.
The semester started with more politics. Due to staff changes, the only person left from when I started was Bill. Jared was still around, but I started before him. We also now have Carol (who I still work with over at reallypapi.blogspot.com) and Lauren. So our staff was improving and growing. I was doing more and more layout and photos. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this semester at the front end. Jared really influenced my design and we came up with some great ideas early on. He made a few good covers, a job that would later fall on me. Every week we just made the paper a little more visually creative.
Somewhere around this time was the Spring CMA conference, in New York City. This was really influential to us. I mean, this trip is what made me really step up my design, and that made me feel great and I learned so much through trial and error.
One of the papers right after that trip was when I made the facebook cover I am still proud of. Incase you’ve never seen it, the entire front page looks like a facebook photo page. I spent an entire day making all the bars and icons, and shooting photos of Melinda Wilson to photoshop together into one photo. It was a lot of work, but will likely always be proud of it. On the back of that same issue was a photospread I did with a belly dancer cut out of the background. I did this entire page, I wrote it, photographed it, designed/layout, and the photoshop job to. I still love this page also, but I can’t help look at it and think how much I’ve progressed since.
I finished the semester out doing a lot of color photospreads on the back pages, it was a better use then weather. Talkback changed again and again, I lost track of how many times total. It did not really make it in to the next semester though. Those are about the only eventful parts of the end.
Anyone reading astutely, or who knows me, knows this is the semester that just ended. My end. This is where I stepped up to Managing Editor. I saw my photo team, Kathryn and Jessica, really step up and start getting into it. It was amazing to see we had three photographers to cover events. Just in general, there was a lot more interest and support in every respect and it was great. People were finally starting to care and get involved. Also, since this is running so long, I am going to cut this down. The one thing I want to reference from this semester though, is I met Steve McCurry, a personal hero of mine. There is an earlier post about that though, so I won't go in to it here.
This semester, I really assumed more layout and managerial duties. I left a lot of the shooting up to Kathryn and Jessica. I just worked more trying to help them with their skill sets. This was a great semester, although it didn’t seem like it to most people, and I did really enjoy it. Overall, I will miss it. I left out a lot of the little adventures and comedies, again, just for the sake of space. Another day, perhaps. To everyone I left behind at the paper, good luck. To everyone that supported my work, thank you. To everyone who isn’t that impressed, you haven’t seen anything from me yet. Okay, that last one was a joke. Anyway, this was an incredible experience for me. I learned a lot about newspapers, photography, design, etc. This was a much better experience for what I am getting in to with this degree then any class I had at Cal.