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Worth a read: Interview with photographers, writer about controversial New York Post subway photo

It’s a situation that most news photographers find themselves in at some point in their careers: Do I step in when I see a tragedy unfolding or do I document it?

A fascinating question for journalists and photographers, especially in light of the recent controversial New York Post front-page photo of a man on the subway tracks moments before being killed by a train.

Toronto Star reporter Curtis Rush asked a couple photographers, a writer, and an expert about this last week. It’s worth a read.

One of those things, I think, we all hope we’d do the right thing and help if someone’s life was on the line. But some people’s first response can be different, like taking a photo instead.

What would you do?

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Journalist is 288 out of 300 for job satisfaction

Anyone else surprised by this?

See the whole list.

I mean, I get the occasional stress and frustration of the job. People not calling you back… asking difficult questions of someone who doesn’t want to answer… covering a emotional, heart-wrenching topic. But I must say that when I was a reporter, I absolutely loved my job.

(I guess now, technically, I’d be classified as an “editor,” according to this survey. #183.)

But am I a minority here, or are auditors (#280) and concierges (#245) and “internists – general” (#115) — what’s an internist? an intern? — really more satisfied with their jobs than journalists?


Although, I guess the data isn’t from an overly scientific survey:

The following career ratings represent averages taken from the responses of 13,871 MyPlan.com users during registration.

Users were asked to rate how happy they were in their current occupation by indicating that they were either “Very Happy,” “Happy,” “Mixed / Neutral,” “Not Happy,” or “Miserable.”

The scores below are normalized on a 100-point scale with 0 being “Miserable” and 100 being “Very Happy”.

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The Toronto Star is killing it on Facebook: BuzzFeed

So this is pretty cool. A couple weeks back, Newswhip compiled a list of “social monster” websites — or, as BuzzFeed put it, the “sites that are killing it on Facebook.

One way to measure how well a website is doing is by the number of pageviews it’s gotten. Another still — and the au courant metric of a website’s success — is unique visitors, because it reveals how many people are actually going there. But what if you looked at what visitors were doing with stories after reading them?

That’s where the list (of the Top 40) comes in. And I’m proud to say that thestar.com is on the list. Not only that, but it’s the only Canadian news site on the list. Awesome!

It’s been an interesting ride this past year helping shape social media at the Toronto Star, and the journey continues! It’s a great job and I work with some fantastic people. It’s satisfying to see us on this list.

What you’re looking at is a chart showing the publishers with the greatest number of stories that have over 100 Facebook interactions in the month of September, as measured on October 1.

Thestar.com is #31 on this list (above Gawker, Jezebel, Wired, Bloomberg, etc). Granted, the data is only for Facebook, but still, engagement is key these days.

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What it’s like being a teen girl

This is a great blog post by Emma M. Woolley, who shares her experience with boys and sexual assault and just growing up.

Especially in light of the 15-year-old boy (still can’t get over the age) getting arrested in connection with all the sexual assaults happening in the Bloor and Christie area recently, this is worth a read.

We don’t talk about this stuff. At least I never did with my parents or friends. But that’s not because it doesn’t happen, and that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking or shameful or disgusting or embarrassing. To the moms and dads out there, this is a good conversation to have one day.

via Emma M. Woolley on Tumblr

The violations started small. I was 12, fairly tall with brand new boobs. My mother wouldn’t let me buy “real bras” for a long time. It didn’t occur to me that was weird until boys in my class started advising me to “stop wearing sports bras” because I was looking a little “saggy.”

It was a boy who told me I had to start shaving my legs if I wanted anyone to ever like me. I said that wasn’t true. He laughed in my face and called me a dyke.

That night after shaving, my mother asked me why I was so vain.

They started finding reasons to touch me, pinching my butt, snapping my new “real bras,” (“They look a lot better. Did you stuff?”) or straight-up grabbing my breasts. Dropped pencils with awkward leanovers. Staged run-ins.

One time, a popular boy I knew who lived on my street forced his way into my living room while my parents were still working and fought with me over a remote control so that he could cop a feel. I didn’t say anything. Speaking up was not an option—rather, an easy road to being even more ostracized and labelled “crazy.” Besides, who would believe that he’d wanted to touch me?

They named girls one by one, by the flaws of our bodies. What they considered theirs. They would write them on chalkboards to taunt us. Draw crude pictures.

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VIDEO: A retired OPP officer talks about what led to his PTSD

I’m so glad this story was written. I feel like it’s assumed that police officers or soldiers in the army would have PTSD or similar issues after spending years in the type of work they do, but I haven’t read that much on it in the media.

Personally, I’ve had major issues with anxiety. Seeing dead bodies while covering a news story is difficult to deal with, and unfortunately I’ve seen more than one. After I was hit by a drunk driver, I had major anxiety attacks. It wasn’t quite PTSD, but it was more than just your average freak-out. I still struggle with it in some ways.

It’s really hard to express to people how difficult it is to deal with these things and try to live a normal life, and all my issues seem like a walk in the park compared to this man’s experience. So I’m glad he was brave enough to step up and share his story. It’s a great article and definitely worth a read.

BRACEBRIDGE, ONT.— Bruce Kruger insists on having the perfect seat.

He’s fled airplanes, cried in restaurants and rearranged furniture at friends’ homes — all for the perfect seat.

That seat is backed against a wall.

So no one can attack from behind.

Most of the time, the retired Ontario Provincial Police officer appears to be enjoying an idyllic retirement.

He has four grown children and 11 grandchildren with Lynn, his wife of 43 years. He has a charming home/bed and breakfast on the banks of the Muskoka River.

Kruger runs two joint Swiss Chalet/Harvey’s franchises, one each in Bracebridge and Huntsville. He’s the official town crier of Bracebridge.

He seems successful and “normal” in most every way.

But “it’s a mask,” says Kruger, 63, who calls himself “the great pretender.”

Kruger has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder connected with his 29-year OPP career. He suffers from anxiety, depression, guilt and periods of rage.

He contends the OPP has failed to deal adequately with his PTSD and that of many other officers. Kruger is so passionate in that belief, he has complained to Ontario Ombudsman André Marin and urged other past and current officers to do so.

Later this month, Marin is set to release a landmark, 150-page report on how the OPP handles “operational stress injuries” within its ranks. He says it will “shake up” the police community.

Police culture today treats mental illness as a weakness, Marin told the Star. Officers who suffer from workplace stress are told to “suck it up” or are ostracized.

The Star spoke to about a dozen officers in total, eight of them retired and active OPP officers. Most of them are among the 78 OPP members and 29 municipal police who contacted the ombudsman about their PTSD (the Star also interviewed three municipal officers).

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A bike stuck in a TTC turnstile & the power of photos

I’m aliiiiiive! I’ve taken a break from blogging lately, apologies.

I thought I’d start with a fun assignment I gave myself at work today. The Toronto Star is doing an article on the following for tomorrow, so be sure to check that out, but I couldn’t not do something with this photo!

The photo in question:

(Credit: Laurie Brown/CBC)

It goes with a story you can read on thestar.com!

I asked readers on the Star’s Facebook page to write a caption for the above photo. Man, did that take off. Before I left for the day, just a few hours after I had posted the photo, there were 100 caption suggestions in the comment field! A quick check just this minute shows 154 captions!

Read the captions

My personal favourite was the simple “Pivot!!!”

But the one “liked” the most by readers was, “A notorious fare skipper, the invisible man is finally caught in action!”

According to this recent social media analysis, photos get far more likes and shares than any other type of post you can make on Facebook.

That doesn’t surprise me. A powerful image can speak to people all around the world. Like this one I saw passed around on Facebook a bunch recently:

(A construction worker in China survived after being impaled by steel bars.)

Or this gallery of photos BuzzFeed recently posted: 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity.

This one is my favourite. It’s a man giving his shoes to a homeless girl in Rio de Janeiro:


We all connect with these types of photos, whether they make us smile or laugh or cry or feel warmth in our hearts.

So I had a lot of fun today posting that bike photo, chuckling to myself over it, and reading people’s caption suggestions. I love engaging with people and seeing what creative things they come up with, just with a little nudge.

It’s doing things like this that make me feel glad to have the job that I do. Social media is fun!

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Forget That Survey. Here’s Why Journalism Is The Best Job Ever.

via Jeff Bercovici
Forbes Staff

A survey ranking journalist as the fifth-worst job to have in 2012 has been getting a lot of attention for the last few days, in case you haven’t noticed.

The report, by CareerCast, says being a reporter at a newspaper, magazine or TV show is worse than waiting tables and only a tiny bit less lousy than working on an oil rig. Blame the combination of high stress and scarce career opportunities.

You know that old joke referenced in “Annie Hall” about the restaurant with the terrible food and the tiny portions? This study makes me think of that. Working as a reporter is just awful — and it’s so hard to find a place to do it!

Inadvertently, all this survey does is highlight the truth: Being a journalist is the best. That’s all there is to it.

Yes, there are too few really good jobs and too many people fighting for them.

Yes, salaries start out quite low.

Yes, the hours can be long and irregular.

Yes, the industry is in a period of extreme disruption, with lots of old jobs being destroyed, and the new ones typically offer less security and require different skills.

None of that changes the core fact here. For those who are cut out for it — and that’s definitely not everyone — journalism is a uniquely rewarding, wonderful career. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

-You’re always learning. Remember how great college was? Every semester brought new topics, new professors, new ideas. Your brain got a workout. You could feel yourself getting smarter. Journalism is like that. You’re always building new mental muscles. You start out on a new beat or a new story as ignorant as a child, and within a few weeks or months you’re an expert. Wait, you didn’t like college? Don’t be a journalist. Problem solved.

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