Community newspaper design: Southwest Florida Gems
Rule number 1: If it takes your breath away, it is yours.
Rule number 2: Accept gifts gracefully.
Rule number 3: Value is in the eye of the beholder.
Rule number 4: If you really like it, others may, too.
Rule number 5: Liars lose.
Rule number 6: A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
As an editor for 23 years at the Sun Coast Media Group in Southwest Florida I have witnessed my highest ideals collide with my basest emotions. Job One has always been to get the story right, to the people, every day.
I have learned from other editors around the country through their products, opinions, seminars … questioning, listening and watching.
After a few years of using my Mizzou journalism degree at the Sun I was amazed to recognize I had my own opinion. Objectivity … well that is a different post. Derek Dunn-Rankin, chairman and CEO of the Sun Newspapers has truly been my best teacher, mentor and leader by example. I call him the wizard. He is a rock.
So, back to my rules above, with all my training and eye for details it still boils down to my top six rules. And this is the fun part of my job. Currently I am designing a weekly community-rich long tab called the Punta Gorda Herald. It is name-and-photo centric and sorting through hundreds of photos each week, looking for the jewels … the ones that take my breath away, is my treat.
So for my first column as a community newspaper designer I thought I would share a little of the joy that comes my way. Let me know what you think of our stringers’ work.
Tom O’Neill worked full time for the Sun, went on to be photo editor at the Bradenton Herald and has come back to the Sun as a stringer. He also has a nonprofit, “Give a Kid a Camera,” described on his Web site http://www.tomoneillphotography.com.
Tom sent me several photos he took in Haiti and one of Carlos Pena at Spring Training at the Charlotte Sports Park Feb. 24, 2010. The Tampa Bay Rays returned for their second Spring Training in Port Charlotte.
Tom can always be counted on to get the “shot.” When he photographed Pope John Paul during the Pope’s visit to Cuba he managed to bring home the finest portrait I have ever seen of the Pope.
“I started as a photographer in 1956 at 10 years old working in my Dad’s darkroom. He was a legal and police photographer. I’ve been a professional photographer myself since 1978 and besides 15 years of it in legal photography I’m experienced in aerial, free fall, travel, underwater and sports photography. I’ve also been a studio photographer and have 10 years in photojournalism working at the Charlotte Sun. I am now semi-retired and shoot baseball tournaments in and work for several magazines.”
“When I think of hometown journalism, I think in terms of those things that impact us at a local scale, so I submit to you this, my favorite football photo of all time. It happened in Nov., 2008 and appeared in the
DeSoto Sun. In the longest and most fierce high school football rivalry in the state of Florida, a Hardee Wildcat sinks to celebrate when they take the game.” — Sharie Derrickson
“It’s amazing how white papers filled with black lines and notes can come alive when played by 49 instruments at the same time. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra did just that during their holiday concert ‘Swinging Holiday Celebration’ mid December 2009.
“I love taking photos and I see them in everything around me. I guess that’s the artist in me coming out. I love to shoot anything that involves action as well as macro, wildlife, flowers, you name it I’ll shoot it. I have been taking photographs for the last 25 years but just recently got serious with it.”
“I grew up in New York and moved to Florida in 1997. I am self taught in photography, and have always had a love for it. Florida certainly provides an amazing backdrop for any picture I take, but I would love to travel and photograph all around the world. I am thankful for having been given the opportunity to freelance for the newspaper and to take snapshots in a variety of moments and events in peoples lives. I consider myself to be one of the lucky people who loves what they do.
“Each day in freelance photojournalism is a new opportunity for an adventure you might not have otherwise had.”
“Photographer of local community events, various school activities, sporting events and concerts. Main ‘stringer’or ‘freelance’ photographer for the North Port Sun, currently. I have also written articles, which have been published in the North Port Sun daily newspaper, and Wednesday Herald section, been an advertising photographer for Venice Gondolier, as well as a photojournalist, which include the above duties.”
Photography and Memory Books
No matter the weather, if something is happening in Charlotte County Betsy Williams can be seen snapping away, catching moments of celebrations.
Work: 941- 697-8008
Donna Davidson is features editor at the Charlotte Sun and writes periodically about community newspaper design at a small newspaper. Follow her on Twitter: @path_ology