Friday, October 31, 2008

KobreGuide Welcomes Bombay Flying Club

Two KobreGuide entries this week from the Bombay Flying Club:

The Ardoyne Suicides
Despite the official end to violence in Northern Ireland, one small community was hit by a plague of suicides by young men.

Bucharest Below Ground
Close-up look at how and why hundreds of homeless live in abandoned sewage pipes beneath the streets of Romania's bustling capital.

Who is the Bombay Flying Club?

According to their blog:

Bombay Flying Club was established in 2005 by two students at the Danish School of Journalism. Photojournalist Poul Madsen and journalist Frederik Hoelge decided to spend 6 months as interns with the Indian Express in Bombay. During the following months they regularly found themselves reporting local news stories from the airstrip at the original Bombay Flying Club. A few months later they won a national short-documentary film award and the Bombay Flying Club Production House was born. In 2006 photojournalists Henrik Kastenskov and Poul Madsen produced “The Ardoyne Suicides.” It was their first web documentary and won a second place in Best of Photojournalism that year. They decided to join forces. The group then quit filming to concentrate on developing flash journalism for the web. Their mission? "To produce mind blowing and innovative interactive narratives. BFC wants to challenge the established media and to take photojournalism a huge step further."

We wish them continued success!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Should Newspapers Get Out of the News Business?

Everyone presumes that newspapers will soon get out of the print business... and somehow make a go of it with online journalism. But maybe everyone's looking at the problem the wrong way.

Newspapers don't make money on news. They make money printing and distributing ads. News is what they LOSE money on -- even online. So, logically, newspaper companies should get out of the news business, and find something less expensive to fill that "editorial" space.

Besides, newspaper reporters, photographers and editors possess many invaluable skill sets, but shooting and editing video and telling multimedia stories, with audio and moving images, are not likely to be among them.

Which prompts some good questions: In your vision of the future, WHO will produce high-quality online journalism, WHAT will it look like, and HOW will it be commercially viable? We're all ears.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New on

Recommended viewing on KobreGuide:

Kings of Arthur
In rural America, in a town of 145 people, in a high school with only 19 boys, far from the world of the NFL, six-man football rules. (Sports Illustrated)

Bucharest Below Ground
Close-up look at how and why hundreds of homeless live in abandoned sewage pipes beneath the streets of Romania's bustling capital. (Bombay Flying Club)

Intended Consequences
After 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis were massacred, thousands of surviving women contracted HIV and bore children as a result of being raped. They tell their story. (MediaStorm)

Mobile home park neighbors fight to save their homes, but are forced to relocate after developers take over the property. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Sky is Falling: Who's Left to Cover It?

This week's media news:

  • The Christian Science Monitor is ceasing publication of its weekday paper.

  • Time Inc. is cutting 600 jobs.

  • Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper publisher, is laying off 3,000 (ten percent of its work force).

  • The Los Angeles Times newsroom is slashing yet another 75.

  • The Newark Star-Ledger is reducing its editorial staff by 40 percent to prevent closing.

  • TV Guide, which Rupert Murdoch unloaded in '99 for $9.2 billion, was sold for one dollar -- one-third the cost of a single issue.
Tragically, print media is in big trouble -- and the companies that own publications were too shortsighted to invest in multimedia production that could have bolstered and monetized their online presence. Consequently, their Websites simply do not have the value of their print equivalents, and as the print product shrinks and disappears, it's questionable as to what will happen with the Websites. There won't be anybody left to provide content for them -- and despite conventional wisdom, that content doesn't create itself. In short, they're doomed. Unless they start getting smart and investing immediately in high-quality multimedia and video journalism.

In Mourning Old Media's Decline , the New York Times' David Carr explains the economics of why, in terms of revenue, a Website can't replace a print product. As you read this, ask yourself if things might have been a lot different if publishers had sufficient vision to build their multimedia capabilities, and produce more online packages of the quality that you see regularly showcased on ?

For readers, the drastic diminishment of print raises an obvious question: if more people are reading newspapers and magazines, why should we care whether they are printed on paper? The answer is that paper is not just how news is delivered; it is how it is paid for. More than 90 percent of the newspaper industry’s revenue still derives from the print product, a legacy technology that attracts fewer consumers and advertisers every single day. A single newspaper ad might cost many thousands of dollars while an online ad might only bring in $20 for each 1,000 customers who see it.

The difference between print dollars and digital dimes — or sometimes pennies — is being taken out of the newsrooms that supply both. And while it is indeed tough all over in this economy, consider the consequences.

New Jersey, a petri dish of corruption, will have to make do with 40 percent fewer reporters at The Star-Ledger, one of the few remaining cops on the beat. The Los Angeles Times, which toils under Hollywood’s nose, has one movie reviewer left on staff. And dozens of communities served by Gannett will have fewer reporters and editors overseeing the deeds and misdeeds of local government and businesses.

At the recent American Magazine Conference, one of the speakers worried that if the great brands of journalism — the trusted news sources readers have relied on — were to vanish, then the Web itself would quickly become a “cesspool” of useless information. That kind of hand-wringing is a staple of industry gatherings.

But in this case, it wasn’t an old journalism hack lamenting his industry. It was Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google.

Reporters Getting Burned Out With New Technology

According to the National Press Club, news organizations are burning out reporters by demanding that they use more and more different types of technology to tell their stories.

Leading journalists said at a National Press Club forum at the University of Missouri that there is scant evidence that this new technology is bringing in enough revenue to save journalism jobs and support the news business, they said.

"I have been blogging for years," said Tony Messenger, a state capital bureau correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I have yet to have a discussion in my newsroom about why we're blogging and to tie that somehow into the newspaper's business model." He said he Twittered during a gubernatorial election debate, taking time from blogging and writing the next day's newspaper story. Yet just 13 people were following his Twitter posts. "I should be sitting down with editors and other reporters who are using this technology and discussing whether it worked for this situation or that situation," he said. "And how can we save jobs in the newsroom if we do this?"

Elaine Sciolino, the Paris correspondent for the New York Times, said she now is expected to post to the Web by noon, produce video for the Web, write for the Times-owned International Herald-Tribune, and still write a flawless story for the next day's Times. "You don't have a choice," she said. "If you want to be a journalist today, you just have to work harder and more efficiently. You aim for perfection until your deadline, and then you aim for doneness. You just gut it out."

Clearly, media outlets need to allocate appropriate resources for producing high-quality multimedia stories, and not simply throw extra tasks at, and require extra skill sets from, already overburdened print reporters, who are already taking up the slack for their laid-off colleagues. The greatest print reporter in the world is not necessarily a great videographer, on-camera interviewer, video editor, and most importantly is not equipped to tell narrative stories visually. That's a separate art form, and news organizations need to hire and train the right people to do that -- in conjunction with text writers/reporter/editors.

Read more here.

Everybody's Watching Online Video

According to Ad Age's Web Video Report by Daisy Whitney:

The popularity of online video is moving beyond the early adopters and growing significantly among women and older consumers, reports a study from Ipsos Media. The study found that about 54% of female Internet users ages 12 and up have streamed a video online in the past 30 days, up from 45% a year ago. That's an all time high and nearly equal to the 58% of men who have streamed online video in the past month. Ipsos also reported that 60% of adults 35 to 54 have recently streamed online video, up from 49% in late 2007.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Paper to Abandon Print

After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, starting in April 2009. The cost-cutting measure makes The Monitor the first nationally circulated newspaper to essentially give up on print.

There is no mention in its own story about the transition, nor in the New York Times coverage, as to whether the paper plans to bolster its multimedia content.

As you can see from one of the stories featured on KobreGuide, the paper has made positive steps in that direction over the past few years. Its video package on "Africa's AIDS Orphans," a profile of two South African couples who opened their hearts and stretched their resources to give AIDS orphans a family, is still compelling viewing. In fact, recently produced videos update the situation -- a rarity in multimedia projects, which hardly ever follow up on their subjects. All the more reason it merits your attention now.

We wish the Monitor well in its new online-only configuration, and hope that it will accelerate its production of high-quality multimedia and video journalism in the process.

One question, though. As more newspapers make that inevitable transition to online-only presences, do we still call them newspapers?

Monday, October 27, 2008

"An Apollo Legend" -- Just For Fun

People ask us why a vast majority of the best mini-documentaries we feature on have that unmistakeable aura of doom-and-gloom -- war, poverty, disease, injustice. The reason is simple: That's what media outlets are mostly producing. But why is that? We have our possible explanations, but of course would love to hear yours. For one, we suspect that those are the kinds of stories that get the attention of prize-awarding committees -- they're serious, and therefore meritorious. But perhaps that's too cynical a view. Maybe it's just because that's been the traditional role of journalism -- to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

But journalism is also supposed to reflect real life in all its hues and emotions, including joy and uplift and, yes, humor! And we don't mean the silly "America's Home Video"-style YouTube offerings -- they're fun, but not journalism. The problem is, real humor is far more difficult to capture, and humorous narratives are far more difficult to structure, than stories of sadness and tragedy.

So we call your attention to "An Apollo Legend," the product of a professional multimedia workshop conducted by Brian Storm and his team of MediaStorm magicians. It's a great true story AND it's pure lighthearted entertainment, through and through. It's about two contestants at Amateur Night at the Apollo nightclub in Harlem (a tradition so old that Ella Fitzgerald was a teenage winner). One hopeful is an ultra-confident man, the other a diffident woman. We follow them as they prepare for, and ultimately audition for, their big shot at the brass ring. We won't spoil the ending for you, but suffice to say that one gets booed off the stage, and the other is declared the first-place winner. They make movies out of characters like these.

So treat yourself to a break from death, destruction and despair, and spend a night at the Apollo. Can't wait to hear what you think!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hard Times: On the Road with Travis Fox

No sooner do we discourse on the improbability of finding a newspaper staffer who single-handedly possesses all the necessary skills for creating superb multimedia stories -- reporting, interviewing, writing, shooting, editing -- than we feature a noteworthy travel video blog, Hard Times, updated daily by the Washington Post's Travis Fox, the one-man-band of videojournalism. 

Sure, plenty of newspaper photographers have picked up a videocam,  fiddled with editing  software, and produced
competent pieces on their own. But Fox is that rara avis who excels in all arenas, and consistently produces sparkling award-winning packages.  He won the first national Emmy ever awarded for 'non-television' (i.e. Web) News & Documentary programming. As you can see from some of his stellar work showcased on KobreGuide, Fox has circled the globe in pursuit of great stories, from Coney Island to Darfur

As we speak, Fox is on the road again. He's driving from L.A. to D.C. to create a series of text and video grassroots snapshots of the U.S. economy and how it's impacting the imminent election. While many political journalists are rewriting press handouts and gathering quotes at staged events, Fox is wending his way through small towns and big cities, talking to real Americans of all stripes, for a ground-level appraisal of the state of our nation. 

He's augmenting his video reports with original contemporary still photographs that he juxtaposes with classic images by Depression-era masters, and the parallel stories they tell: 
Blythe is on the California and Arizona border, an oasis in the middle of the desert. In 1936 Dorothea Lange found a family stuck here during their travels from Oklahoma to more fertile lands in California (top photo). Today Blythe is a pit stop on I-10 halfway between Los Angeles and Phoenix. But people still get stuck here. Edward "Bubba" McCouskey has been stranded for eight days. Broke and sleeping on the streets, he's trying to get a lift back to his native Texas after a hitchhiking trip to California (bottom photo).
Plus ça change...

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Girl in the Window

As we hunt for stories worthy of appearing on KobreGuide, we're struck by how many are beautifully shot and edited, but lacking in basic journalistic principles. Or, conversely, they are well reported but visually unremarkable. There's a simple reason for this.

As newspapers migrate from print to online, reporters are having to learn a whole new set of visual skill sets -- technically and aesthetically -- while photographers, normally accustomed to taking a picture to accompany a text story, are now having to learn how to conduct meaningful interviews on their own. All those talents -- reporting, writing, text editing, shooting, collecting audio, video editing, and producing (i.e. pulling all those elements together into a cohesive multimedia package) -- are unlikely to be found in any single individual. And yet, with modern budget constraints, that is becoming the expectation of publishers.

The formula for success here seems to involve a creative pairing of a reporter who has a good visual sense (and/or training), with a videographer who has good journalistic instincts (and/or training).

Three years ago in Florida, police found a skeletal, diaper-clad, roach-bitten girl, who had suffered a lifetime of neglect. Nearly 7, she couldn't even talk. She was miraculously adopted by a family that provided her professional health care ... and the love that she had obviously not received from her own birth mother.

How could anyone treat their own child so badly? What motivates someone to treat somebody else's child so well? And will the love and care that little girl receives now ever be able to compensate for so many years of abuse?

Those were the questions that inspired St. Petersburg Times ( reporter Lane DeGregory and photographer Melissa Lyttle to tell the story of Danielle, "The Girl in the Window," using a potent combination of video and audio-slideshow. Working in tandem, these journalists captured the sights and sounds of Danielle's evolving reality. Because they caught up with the story after Danielle's adoption, they had to reconstruct her prior life the old-fashioned way -- by interviewing neighbors, police, her care manager, psychiatrist, teacher, legal guardian, and the judge on her case; and by scouring hundreds of pages of police reports, medical records and court documents. Then they had to translate all that into words, pictures, audio and video that pack an emotional wallop.

It's the kind of investment of time and resources that few media outlets are willing to make these days -- but, as you can see here, the payoff is gargantuan. Most newspapers would have been content to simply send a videographer out for a half-hour to get some B-roll and ambient audio of Danielle's adoptive parents playing with her -- and then get the print reporter to record a narrative voiceover to slam together a 2-minute piece. Look at how much further this package goes, and judge for yourself the advantage of hearing Danielle's story from so many other voices and perspectives.

You, too, will need to make an investment. You'll need to set aside some time to absorb and appreciate DeGregory and Lyttle's handiwork. Because no matter how long it takes you to watch and listen to this engrossing tale, be forewarned: It will stay with you for a long, long time afterward.

David Weintraub's 'Eye on Image Making'

David Weintraub is a talented writer, editor, photographer ... and an old friend and colleague who has contributed to my Photojournalism textbook.  He teaches photography at the University of South Carolina, where I visited him last April and initially shared my plans to launch KobreGuide

David also writes an information-packed photography column  for Black Star Rising. Today he devoted his installment of Eye on Image Making to an insightful exploration of KobreGuide, and we are appreciative for his kind words of support: 
With all the video and multimedia on the Web these days, how is a person to choose? Although there are many worthwhile videos, knowing which sites to visit and what to watch presents a challenge —- especially if you don't have hours to spend drifting through cyberspace. Wouldn't it be great if there were a single Web site you could visit that had a selection of the best journalistic videos and multimedia projects? 
Go read the rest here!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Book & Video Recommendations

Highly recommended: Erik Barnouw's classic Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film. As in all endeavours, you can't fully appreciate the present or anticipate the future without understanding what's come before. This delightful survey of the past 100-plus years of blending art with reality puts documentary filmmaking in political and social perspective, and should be required reading for all practitioners AND consumers of Web multimedia journalism. It will inform your thinking about the way the depiction of real life on film can inspire our own ideas, attitudes and behaviors.

Take a look at our other book and video recommendations at KobreGuide's Amazon store. You'll find more Documentary titles, in addition to Multimedia and Photojournalism selections.

And best of all, you can actually download feature-length Documentary Videos on Demand -- rentals for instant online viewing, for just a couple bucks each. (So you can see, for instance, The Weather Underground, if you want to find out more about that terrorist who Obama is said to be palling around with.)

There's even a Michael Moore documentary which he is making available for free! It's called Slacker Uprising, and it's a video diary from Moore's cross country tour in 2004, aimed at getting the slackers of the nation to get up off the couch and coerce their neighbors into going to the polls to vote. Which, like all good documentaries, makes it especially timely right now!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dear Facebook Friends...

To all our Facebook friends:

Please join the KobreGuide Facebook Group, and become a fan of the Facebook Page. Thanks!

3 New York Times Videos

Three terrific new videos on KobreGuide by The New York Times:

Two concern women battling for rights in other countries:

Turkey's Headscarf Debate:
Muslim women are fighting for the right to wear head scarves in secular Turkey.

Empowering Women in Afghanistan
A quiet revolution is gaining pace far from the Taliban insurgency: Women are taking the wheel in leadership positions.

And another story from Afghanistan, this one also about improving conditions for a disadvantaged minority group:

Afghanistan's Disability Crisis
After experiencing U.S. care, a disabled Afghan refugee returns to his home country to advocate for its disabled population.

Please COMMENT on and SHARE these stories -- you'll find the SHARE THIS button right there near the top of each story's Web page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Caring for the Elderly

On KobreGuide, we previously showcased an intensely personal story about a couple -- filmmaker Julie Winokur and photojournalist Ed Kashi -- who uprooted themselves and their two kids to move across the country to care for her octogenarian father. Winokur and Kashi used their storytelling gifts to craft a first-person video chronicle of universal appeal, as they find themselves among the 20 million Americans who are caught between having to simultaneously take care of young children and aging parents. It was produced by MediaStorm, appeared on MSNBC, and is called "The Sandwich Generation."

We've just added some more chapters to the ongoing saga of how America is coping with a booming population of seniors who are afflicted with dementia, and our frustratingly limited resources for caring for them. The Roanoke Times embarked on an ambitious multi-faceted online project that examines how well their region is taking care of its elderly. (Roanoke's senior population is one of the largest per capita in the nation.)

Their series, Age of Uncertainty, includes a four-part video story of a woman caring for her husband who suffers from dementia, and eight additional videos covering topics such as doctors who make house calls, Meals on Wheels, a home care aid, and the profile of a geriatrician. The package is the result of a successful collaboration of writer Beth Macy and videojournalist Josh Meltzer. This enterprising project looks at a range of care options for the elderly, and repeatedly asks the important question: How will we as a society take care of our increasingly aging population?

Please take a look at both of these packages -- one from a first-person perspective, the other a more traditional third-person perspective. They're both heart-wrenching, and we think you'll appreciate the merits of each. Please let us know what you think, by using the Comments box on their respective pages. Then click the "Share This" icon at the top of each story's page, so that you can email it to friends, or post it to your favorite social-network Website. Hard-hitting stories like these are too good, and too valuable, to keep secret.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Naked Cowboy's Girlfriend

We've seen video stories before about The Naked Cowboy, the brash country singer who found fame by serenading otherwise unshockable New Yorkers in the heart of Times Square, adorning his buff physique with nothing more than his Texan hat, boots, and briefs that are obscured by his strategically positioned customized guitar. This story's different. It's told by his girlfriend.

The musical Wicked cleverly spins The Wizard of Oz from the Wicked Witch's perspective. Playwright Tom Stoppard won early fame from his crafty retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet from the perspective of two minor players, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And now the same "alternate perspective" principle is applied to this gleeful Reuters piece, One Man Brand. Never mind what it's like to be famous for singing in your underwear. What's it like to be the gal who's romantically involved with him? Surprises, and humor, abound.

Reuters senior staff photographer Lucy Nicholson, Reuters head of visual projects Jassim Ahmad, and MediaStorm producer Bob Sacha are to be applauded for their "alternate perspective" approach. The project emanated from the first multimedia workshop conducted by MediaStorm, Brian Storm's fabled multimedia production company. Naturally you can watch a behind-the-scenes video about the making of their Naked Cowboy video, right here.

It should inspire multimedia journalists to ask, "What other voices and perspectives can help tell my story in a fresh light?"

Beyond Bootcamp Multimedia Workshops

The Beyond Bootcamp Workshops for journalists and journalism educators will premier in January at the School of Communication at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, cohosted by the Knight Center for International Media.

They are an extension of the Multimedia Bootcamp Workshops at the University of North Carolina, founded and directed by Prof. Rich Beckman for nearly a decade there, before his move this year to UMiami.

Rather than a single workshop that introduces participants to different areas of multimedia storytelling, the Beyond Bootcamp Workshops will each last three days and cover a specific skill set. The first six workshops will be offered beginning January 3-6 and 7-10, 2009.

The curriculum includes Creating Audio Narratives, Multimedia Production, Teaching Multimedia, Creating Video Narratives, and Multimedia Programming for Journalists. Tuition for one three-day workshop is $750; tuition for two consecutive three-day workshops is $1,400. Register here:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coney Island x 2

It's illuminating to watch how two eminent videojournalists tell the same story -- in this case, the battle to preserve a funky but iconic all-American amusement park in the face of redevelopment plans. Rick Gershon's "Coney Island: An Uncertain Future" was an Emmy finalist this year. His eight-minute Getty Images video also incorporates stills by Mario Tama. The Washington Post's star videojournalist Travis Fox, no stranger to Emmys himself, weighs in with his three-minute "A Portrait of Coney Island."

Both projects were clearly inspired not only by the ideological clash over the waterfront real estate (tradition vs. progress), but also by the institution's garishly colorful imagery. One key difference between them is that Gershon extensively interviewed people potentially affected by the sale of the land, whereas Fox relies strictly on the ambient carnival sounds to tell the tale. Both are powerful, both have memorably dramatic endings. Please let us know what you think of their relative merits.

We were struck by the fact that both spotlighted the same oddly engaging fellow -- a throwback to a bygone era of carny sideshows -- popularly called a "human blockhead" because of his ability to cheerfully withstand a spike hammered
into his nostril. Or, in this case, a large screwdriver.

If you like that sort of thing, you'll also love the New York Times' video ode to "The Last Sideshow," with its self-proclaimed King of the Midway lamenting that -- given today's overabundance of grotesquely fat people and tattooed ladies -- traveling freak shows ain't what they used to be!

Multimedia Workshops at Berkeley

The Knight Digital Media Center is currently accepting applications for the 2008-2009 technology and multimedia training workshops -- hands-on, newsroom-focused computer training for mid-career journalists. The workshops — delivered to accepted fellows at no charge — are held at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

This year the KDMC will deliver five multimedia and two technology training workshops. Each workshop accepts 20 applicants. All lodging, meals, training and materials are provided without fee. Accepted fellows must pay their own travel expenses.

Participants in the intense, six-day Multimedia Workshops produce publication-ready multimedia stories using proven journalistic story-telling techniques and the latest hardware and software.

Topics covered include using digital video cameras, photo cameras and audio recorders; doing storyboards, stand-ups, voiceovers and other broadcast techniques; digital video, audio and photo editing using Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro and Photoshop; creating photo slide shows with Flash; Web page creation using Dreamweaver, and multimedia Web site design. Also included are presentations by experts on the most pressing issues in online publishing.

To apply:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Demystifying Dying

We're showcasing a bittersweet story on KobreGuide today: Living to the End. On the one hand it's a first-person video chronicle of a woman's death by cancer, documenting her last three months -- inherently a tragic tale. On the other hand, the woman -- Lovelle Svart, a former employee of the newspaper that embarked on this online venture -- offers invaluable insights and humor, straight talk and compassion.

What makes it all especially fascinating is that it takes place in Oregon, the only state that legally allows doctor-assisted suicide in terminal cases. Svart had endorsed the Supreme Court case that eventually blocked an attempt to overturn Oregon’s unique Death with Dignity Act. But she still had to make a personal choice about whether to use the law, and so we get a close-up opportunity to see someone wrestle with that decision. As you can see from the photo above, Svart ultimately opted to drink a lethal cocktail to end her suffering. (But not before dancing a polka one last time.)

In her final months, Svart -- and the community of viewers who generously shared their comments and perspectives about her evolving story on The Oregonian's website ( -- had plenty to say, not only about death and dying, but about life and living. Right up to the end.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Foreign Fare -- Plus Fun

Our top picks on KobreGuide this week have an international flavor, and represent big changes taking place abroad:

Also new: A remarkable video slideshow that presents the causes, emotions and real life experiences of a tragedy of unspeakable pain and extraordinary cost:

  • The Fire Within: A border wildfire killed 7 illegal immigrants and critically burned 16 more. One year later, we experience the aftermath of that tragedy. (Los Angeles Times)

However, not all videojournalism is doom and gloom, as these freshly posted upbeat stories demonstrate, both from the Spokesman Review:

  • Flying Trikes: Take to the skies in a new sport called aerotrekking with pilot Denny Reed.
  • Playing Army Guy: Paintball enthusiasts say their sport is about adrenaline rushes and having fun -- and only hurts for a little while.

Monday, October 6, 2008

National Press Photographers Association

Delighted to see the National Press Photographers Association take note of KobreGuide today. The NPPA is "dedicated to the advancement of photojournalism, its creation, editing and distribution, in all news media," with more than 10,000 professional and student members. Here's an excerpt of their news item:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (October 6, 2008) – Photojournalist, professor, and author Ken Kobre has launched, a new Web site he calls "an online guide to the Web's best video and multimedia journalism – or, as we call it, the Web's most moving stories."

Kobre, an NPPA member since 1977, says the site will focus on "handpicked, high-quality documentary-style journalism" that is being produced primarily by major media outlets "and is frustratingly difficult for consumers to find."

Former NPPA president and Brooks Institute of Photography photojournalism program founder Jim McNay is the site's senior editor.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We're Sharp, Sleek, Sophisticated!

A giga-thanks to The Hollywood Reporter's star TV columnist, Ray Richmond, for his thumbs-up review of KobreGuide, which is so glowing it's making us blush!  We appreciate his perspicacity, and his enthusiasm for sharing our project's attributes with the world. You can find his full endorsement at his column's online home: Past Deadline. Here are some excerpts:

"A just-launched Net pitstop has come closer to seamlessly merging the worlds of online and printed content than anything I've seen before. It's called KobreGuide, and ... it supplies an impressively comprehensive, visually sharp, sleek and sophisticated overview of the creme de la creme of multimedia and video journalism content.

"The brainchild of legendary San Francisco State photojournalism professor Ken Kobre, the site represents a one-stop shop for professional-quality, newsmagazine-style video journalism on the level of a "60 Minutes" or "20/20." Impressively simple to navigate, KobreGuide ... culls the best and most worthwhile content and presents it in a clean, straightforward and appealing package. It kicks the ass of the YouTubes and MetaCafes because it points surfers only to the online content that boasts genuine heft, rather than cluttering things up with anything and everything that can stick to a cyber wall like those other guys do.

"Anyone who still cares about depth in their news consumption -- and being truly informed rather than merely teased and titillated -- owes it to themselves to pay a visit (or several) to KobreGuide. It's the antidote to the mindless babble that so dominates the Web."