Two wildfires hit Kern county (view this story)

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Rep: 38
Kevin Wellenius July 28, 2010, 5:56 p.m. permalink

The photography is good, though I must confess I don't see how putting them into an audio slideshow format adds anything over a gallery of images with some explanatory text. The audio is voiceover with "spacers" of crackling flames, and the narration isn't tied to specific photographs.

I'm curious whether newsrooms have a preference for video presentations over conventional photo galleries, and why.

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans July 28, 2010, 6:25 p.m. permalink

We have found that our traffic to the galleries has diminished and the push to sell photos makes hard "news" galleries harder to display because the primary vehicle for showing images is myCapture.

I also wanted to display our guy's work better than the way images run with stories, ie. small.

The video player at least gets us home page posting and we can attach the video to the stories. This says more about our content management system than display. Working on getting a better display area, but we all know how that goes.

It is a quickie, more polished, individual fire projects to come. Colin had asked to see some breaking news and this is our biggest to date.

Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany July 28, 2010, 6:48 p.m. permalink

Hi Michael, 

You guys have had your hands full with these fires this week. Great work by your visual staff. 

I agree with Kevin here.  There is disconnect with the audio and photos. The voiceover sounds like a newspaper upside-down pyramid print story being read by the narrator. The nat sound of the cracklin' flames is a distraction and doesn't connect to the many of the photos be shown.

I understand the pressure to get something up quick. Without great nat sound, I think just using the still photos in a  killer photo gallery would work best. Not everything needs to be in a multimedia format, especially when you have strong fire photos like these. 

One of the changes we made at our newspaper website is to use a big picture slideshow format like It looks great and showcases photojournalism the way they should be viewed online. 

Rep: 87
Michael Fagans July 28, 2010, 6:51 p.m. permalink

I don't disagree, and I hear you guys on the VO.

Been trying to get better photo play since I got here, still talking with the gate keepers on the issue.

Ideally I would have done a click through gallery, but I can't get it displayed on the front page.

The print stuff looks great, just getting it translated to digital hurts.

Probably going to go with quotes and images for the next round.

Thanks for the feedback.

Rep: 141
Colin Mulvany July 28, 2010, 7:21 p.m. permalink

I understand the frustration with content management systems Michael. We recently replaced our old one that was held together with baling wire and twine. 

Even though we now have one of the most modern CMS's in the industry, we have struggled with not having enough developers to build cool stuff that showcases our best visual work. When our big picture gallery went live, I did a celebration dance through the newsroom. It went a long way in addressing the need to showcase our photojournalism better. I also felt less pressure to produce time-consuming multimedia when I didn't  need to. 

Keep fighting the good fight Michael by continuing to advocate for better visual display online. I find it frustrating, this late in the game, that so many newpaper online sites are still visually unfriendly . 

Rep: 3
Chris Pietsch Aug. 1, 2010, 9:22 a.m. permalink

Hey Colin,

Anybody have a video camera trained on your happy dance? I for one would give that a look. ;-)

To Michael,

Not sure if it helps, but the Register-Guard faced the same problem handling slideshows awhile back. We started out using audio-less SoundSlides, but they were time consuming to create given that in many cases we weren't even using the audio feature. We also had the issue of where to archive the assets.

When we launched our MultiMedia site, we secured an account through SlideShowPro.

My involvement in the implementation was limited, but as a user the system has a lot to like. The graphic interface is simple, uploading and managing the gallery is all browser based, SSP handles the asset storage and it even interfaces with Lightroom for batch processing and uploading of the images.

The system we have set up really simplifies publishing a slideshow to our site and greatly increases the chances that a photographer will have the time to create one. During big events, say your fires, multiple photographers can upload to a gallery remotely as events unfold, while an editor would still have the ability to log in and edit the content.

We combined the SSP player with our blog software for easy posting and the whole staff seems happy with the results. Unfortunately, I think that somebody would still need to upload to MyCapture separately, but hey maybe there is even a hack for that.

Might be worth a look.


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