Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tuesday was a happy holiday for those in the know.

Four-twenty, seen in date, time, page number or almost anything else is a significant number to marijuana users. It's embodied in the multitude of 420 motifs scene during Tuesday's all-day marijuana rally on Capitol Hill.

"It's the mother herb," said a woman visiting from Amsterdam. She wore a marijuana-leaf wreath, and her husband wore a matching lei.

Attendance has been estimated to be anywhere between 7,000 and 20,000 people. Robert Corry, marijuana rights lawyer, promised to defend anyone who received a ticket for smoking at the event.

Denver Police observed the event from the sidelines, and refused to comment. Whether or not anyone received a ticket for smoking that day is not known.

Medical marijuana advocate Max Montrose attended to raise awareness about bills being debated that day, and to simply enjoy the holiday. He pointed out a man speaking to a camera crew on the steps of the capitol building. "That's Richard Eisner. He was one of the first medical marijuana patients. I want to talk to him, but he's being assaulted by media."

Montrose carried a healthy marijuana plant in his backpack, and wore '420' in green marker on his cheek.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Ready, set, survive" part two: Colonel Ray

Colonel Ray, originally uploaded by the_tabor.
I met Colonel Ray at Father Woody's Haven of Hope in Denver, Colo. He was there for breakfast, a shower, and some time away from his constant struggle to provide for those he calls his family.

Head over to the set to learn more about his life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Got the shot

Saturday morning I had hoped to run a liveblog from the SPJ Shooting Like a Pro workshop, but I really just got distracted by enjoying the workshop, so it didn't happen.

For those who aren't following so far; I attended a photojournalism workshop led by Barry Gutierrez on Saturday. Gutierrez worked at the Denver Post for ten years as a photojournalist. He won a Pulitzer prize in 2003 for his coverage of the fires in 2002. Since the Post closed it's doors last year, he has been working freelance.

The workshop started with Gutierrez explaining his career and what has affected his development as a photojournalist. Really interesting stuff, if you're a photojournalist. The picture to the left is the result of a photojournalistic pop quiz. We were told that we were going to a press conference, and taken outside the Denver Press Club. After we all filed out and assembled ourselves, Noelle Levitt, Metro State gruaduate, started speaking from a podium set on the sidewalk. She didn't get very far, because she got pie'd by Sara Crocker, SPJ member.

I, happily, managed to get the shot, along with four other participants at the workshop.

I had a lot of fun, and encourage everyone to get to SPJ events when they're happening!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

At 11:30 a.m. Monday morning, Dan Haley was entertaining the questions of students from Metropolitan State College of Denver. A few hours later, he found out that the Denver Post had won its seventh Pulitzer Prize.

"People want to feel that their newspaper gives them something that they only get because they read that newspaper," said Haley to the students. This Pulitzer recognizes the Denver Post's ability to do exactly that.

Craig F. Walker earned the Pulitzer in feature photography "for his intimate portrait of a teenager who joins the Army at the height of insurgent violence in Iraq." It's the Post's first Pulitzer since 2000, when it won a prize for its coverage of the Columbine High School shootings.

The feature follows Ian Fisher from his high school graduation, basic training, and deployment in Iraq to his return.

"Not much I can add to Craig's big honor other than to say: He is an amazing photographer and it's always nice to see the good ones rewarded for all of their hard work," said Haley in an email.

Photo Gallery
Pulitzer Citation

Reporters reported: Pamela White

Pamela White is not afraid of bias. As editor of the Boulder Weekly, she spends much of her time with reporters, carefully excising bias from their stories. But recently, White has had to carefully consider what bias is to her, and how it affects her journalism.

In 2001, White broke a story about a policy that allowed inmates to be shackled to their beds while in labor. Every year since then, an estimated 50 women have given birth chained to their beds. In February, White published a feature covering the same issue. It received five national journalism awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists' 1st Amendment Award, but failed to change the status quo.

"And so I reached a decision: I would push for a bill myself," said White in a recent column in the Boulder Weekly. She repackaged her information, presented it to lawmakers, then eventually convinced Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, to carry the bill.

White now finds herself doing something many journalists feel would directly tarnish their credibility. Not only is she endorsing, writing about, and advocating the bill, but writing it herself.

"It's a completely new experience for me," she said to a class of reporting students at Metropolitan State College of Denver. "I've never been involved at this level."

She has since removed herself from any reporting on the bill, and now only writes about it in her column.

"Full disclosure is the best thing I can do at this point," said White, who has taken steps to ensure that her readers are aware of her involvement in the bill. Though she was "hesitant to take on the advocacy role," White has asked her readers for support in pushing the bill.

White is known for her human-rights centric reporting, and believes that journalism should provide a "voice for the voiceless."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Barry Gutierrez liveblog, pt 1: Doing what I should've done last night

I'm in a coffee shop, clearing my memory cards in preparation for a seminar with Pulitzer-prize winner Barry Gutierrez. A latte and a fresh cinnamon roll from the next-door bakery are my breakfast. I can only pray that the sugar blast only wakes me up. I'd rather not be a shaking, chattering, caffeinated ball of nerves today.

I'm not actually registered for the event, but hopefully a reference to Kenn Bisio, my photojournalism professor, will smooth that over. I don't know that Bisio and Gutierrez ever worked together in the field, but they work together in the photojournalism department at MSCD (Gutierrez worked for the RMN, Bisio has stayed mostly freelance, as far as I know).

My latte is at the sad, just-a-few-lukewarm-sips-left stage, so it's time to slam it back and make tracks. Pt 2, in which I attempt to park cheaply, should be up soon!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Once Upon Another School; A Robert Hastings Reprise

Like many students on the Auraria Campus, I used to go to a different school. I went to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, S.D. SDSM&T carried on proud traditions of heavy, constant, drinking, frat house engineering projects, and having the worst male-to-female ratio of any coed school, ever (13 to one, in my class).

Really, I enjoyed my year at SDSM&T. Living in real dorms was interesting. My roommate was a comp sci major, and my neighbor was a paleontology major. We had our own paleontology musuem. Thanks to the wide variety of interests there, combined with the student's 'proud nerd' spirit, it was a cool place.

Also, it once brought Robert Hastings, UFOlogist, to its lecture hall. I attended, having never heard his name before, but the most productive thing that came of it was a distorted recording which I later integrated into a friend's post rock project. It was a good time.

Anyway, Robert Hastings is one of many people who professionally make themselves look sketchy. With a website that looks straight from 1998 and an email address that just somehow reminds me of biblical apocalypses, he's perpetually halfway there. In fact, to make him seem EVEN MORE legitimate, he has a self-published book, available through his site. He's a retired photographer-lab technician, so I suppose I can afford him some sympathy. Somehow.

And now, fortuitously enough, Robert Hastings has been stalking following hunting getting ready to eat me lecturing in colleges for years, and will be holding a lecture tomorrow in the Tivoli (kudos to anyone who knows exactly where). So, tomorrow afternoon I'll be attending his lecture here on Auraria Campus. We'll see if he's any more interesting the second time around. If we're lucky, I'll get to ask him some questions. Perhaps about ambulatory pasta.