Football, with a Twist

My good friend Scott Bryant at the Statesboro (Ga.) Herald sent along a link to an audio slide show he did on the first Georgia Southern game of the season. He said he’d been asked to get more fans into the paper and didn’t want to do just another gallery of cheering people.

But what do you think? Does it move the needle a bit on how these can be done? And, if so, which way?

Mark E. Johnson

2 Responses

  1. I like the way this was done, but I will say I’m starting to see a shift in our field that scares me. Instead of telling compelling stories visually, some people think it is more important to just shoot a lot of people, tell them where your from, and hope they will go to your website in search of there photo. This is the equivelant of being a cheezy event photographer who shoots strangers and sells them the photos through photoshelter or something like that. I worry that photos sales will start to be more important than good quality photos that tell a story. I guess we’ll see.

  2. I here ya. An awful lot of publishers are starting to see photographs as an additional “revenue stream” rather than news content. It’s a dangerous line to straddle. It’s a poor revenue stream, too. Independent photographers would go broke selling prints for the prices most newspapers peddle them off for. If you tally the time it takes to upload them alone, you’re probably losing money, not to mention time that could be spent finding stories and news pics. It’s probably a good thing, because if print sales became extremely profitable, who knows how far some publishers might push things. Staff photojournalists might end up being mobile versions of Olan Mills in the community. I’m shuddering …

    That’s one of the reasons I tried approaching game slideshows in this fashion. Football games in this town are a big deal. There’s an entire culture to represent in addition to what happens on the field. The publisher was pushing for straight forward fan galleries. I gagged, so instead, I try to tell the story of game day through pictures, sound, and music.

    Fan shots are all completely candid. When they start posing for me, I walk away. I can’t physically obtain IDs for all of the shots of fans in the stands. I’m not totally comfortable with this as it’s opposed to my training as a journalist, but I think the rules are a little different when it comes to multimedia.

    I realize a lot of colleagues will quibble about the music aspect. When I first did them, we didn’t have an audio recorder, so my only soundtrack had to be music. Personally, I think music is a valid story-telling device when used by someone knowledgeable and judicious. I have some knowledge of sound engineering, so that helps. I carefully approach music selection, taking into consideration the mood and tone it sets and make sure it is appropriate for the subject matter. I respect copyright law, using only music with a creative commons license and a link-back, or I create my own music using loops in GarageBand. Background music is not for all stories, perhaps not for most, but I think it’s a valid approach sometimes.

    As of now, I do post the pictures used in the slideshows in a separate gallery for purchase. Ultimately, though, I feel like I can experiment with these slideshows and have some fun finding new ways to tell stories.

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