A Day on the Trail

by Greg on April 4, 2014

It felt nice to be behind the camera again. For a picture story class (and for the Missourian), I spent a day hanging around with Bill Easley, a candidate for the first ward seat on the Columbia city council. Gaining access was a bit of an issue as he was pretty reluctant to let me into his personal life, but I was fairly pleased with the set of images I was able to make in those conditions.

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When I think about Thursday, one word comes to mind: teamwork.

One thing I’ve been trying to stress to our photographers and staffers this semester is that we’re all cogs in a big newsroom machine. We all have a role to play, people to report to, work to produce…we depend on the efforts of others to help us do our best work, and others are depending on us so they can do what they need to do. When we all play our parts, we can do some quality journalism that really serves our community well.

Thursday had a lot going on. There was a memorial and procession for a firefighter who died in the line of duty last week. There was the start of a huge international documentary film festival, and a late-night basketball game.

Our usual staff on a Thursday is three photographers, two photo editors, the Director of Photography and an assistant DP. That’s 7 people on a normal day. But Thursday we had probably twice that number, all working in unison to produce some quality work.

Photo editors and staff photographers not on duty came in to help out. Our team produced live photo galleries of the procession and memorial. Our team of photographers helped cover the procession route so we could gamble by putting a photographer on a fire truck (reminiscent of Paul Fusco’s 1968 photos from RFK’s Funeral Train). Without that team, we would’t have been able to attempt that sort of coverage. Our team worked together to collect audio, video and stills throughout the day, then a team spent a few hours editing a video, which was touching and powerful and really resonated with the community we try to serve (a normal Missourian video might get 100 views. This one from the memorial has been viewed more than 11,000 times, and counting…)

Our teamwork in the morning helped those of us on the nightside do our work. When the morning folks left in the afternoon, they didn’t leave any tasks undone for us to finish. That kind of teamwork meant we could focus on putting out the print edition, and covering the nighttime events. It may sound small, but having things buttoned up on the day side was big. It was one less thing to have to manage throughout the evening. Any night in the newsroom is an exercise in hitting a handful of moving targets, and it was because of our team that we had fewer balls to juggle (to mix metaphors) at night.

On the nightside, our team worked really smoothly. Having colleagues you can trust to do their work is so huge. I knew I could trust Alex, the photo editor, to handle the incoming photos from the film festival and the basketball games. I knew I could trust Peter to deliver on a multimedia piece from the film fest. That freed me up to work with our design team to produce a print edition that would be meaningful for our community. The bad thing about having such talented teammates working on the multimedia from the memorial in the afternoon, and knocking it out of the park, was that they set the bar…our executive editor challenged us to try to produce something as effective as the video, but in print. No pressure there…

All in all, looking back at what our team accomplished on Thursday, I’m very grateful. We set out to do the best journalism we could, to serve our community who was mourning a fallen firefighter. Based on the feedback we’ve received, we did so in a tasteful, respectful, touching, professional manner, and that’s a good feeling.

It’s amazing what a team can accomplish when we all work together.

And what’s more, it’s amazing what knowing you have a competent, professional, knowledgeable, hardworking team allows you to attempt, and execute.

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Day-turn: A Tribute to Seeger

January 29, 2014

Last night was a busy night in the Columbia Missourian photo department. We had a few late assignments, and only one photographer to cover them all. But then that one photographer got a call about a big story we’ve been working on, which meant she had to drop what she was doing and respond to […]

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2014 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic

January 5, 2014

Work isn’t supposed to be this much fun, is it? I’m very grateful to Brian Kratzer, the director of photography at the Columbia Missourian, for giving Amy Stroth and me the opportunity to travel to Arlington, Texas last week to shoot the Missouri Tigers in the 78th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Amy and I were […]

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Wrestling in a theater

December 28, 2013

A few weeks ago we got pretty busy at the Missourian, and we had more assignments than we had photographers. So, I picked up a camera, and after checking to make sure I remembered how to use it, I headed out to shoot something that sounded interesting. Because of volleyball being played in the Hearnes […]

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Taking a Bite out of Florida

October 22, 2013

Another home football game. Another ranked SEC opponent. Another win for the Missouri Tigers. This weekend our football coverage staff was back up to full speed. I was based in the Missourian “photo bubble,” and fellow sports photo editor Amy Stroth was in the press box at Faurot Field. We had three photographers on the […]

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FearFest

October 22, 2013

Shot for a class project. Fun times, nice people. Don’t go if you pee your pants easily.

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A Beautiful Thing

October 13, 2013

On Saturday, the No. 25 Missouri Tigers upset No. 7 Georgia on the road in Athens, Ga. And it was one of my favorite days in the newsroom. Ever. Several things conspired to make it so: a great game, great pictures, and a great staff. Editing sports photos this semester has been challenging at times, […]

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The other side of the desk

September 4, 2013

After my grueling summer research class, I took about a month off to relax, visit friends, eat some great Texas food (and gain about 10 pounds) and get ready for the upcoming semester. In the spring, I was a staff photographer for the Columbia Missourian. I entered the graduate program at Mizzou with my mind […]

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Shooting an Engagement…at half-court

July 28, 2013

In the spring, I took a lot of photos of MU basketball forward Laurence Bowers. I shot a lot of them at Mizzou Arena. And normally, a photo of Laurence Bowers on a knee at half-court would be a bad thing. But late last week I got a call from Laurence asking if I could […]

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