Friday, November 26, 2010

Too-early Black Friday video work actually a real hoot

Arising early is part of the game if you are a hunter or angler.

But this morning's rise-and-shine call was not so that I could hustle to be archery deer-hunting blind. Nope.

Neither was it required so that I could thread my way in the dark to a pond where Canada geese frequently reside. Not there, either.

My task was to set a course to Gander Mountain's Mentor store and check in with its staff as well as customers. Fueled with a cup of regular coffee I was ready to do the Flipcam video interviews.

While most of the customers wanted to hurry in and hurry out of the store, I did find several shoppers who were relishing the opportunity to share their Black Friday experiences; for which I am grateful.

All in all the process was a blast with some really great comments coming from the store's manager and (especially) two shop-till-they-drop patrons.

Take a look at The News-Herald's web site and the "news video" portal.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. I took advantage of Gander Mountain's Thanksgiving Day-only set of sales items, on Thursday dropping what would have been nearly $90 but by using a $10 Gander-Buck card I was able to shave that figure a little bit.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Career Day: It’s all about passion

Career Day — never thought I would have to make a presentation to a group of students on what I do.
Yet, on Thursday, that’s exactly what I had to do: describe my burgeoning career as a journalist.

Chardon High School’s Career Day was a unique opportunity to tell students why they should consider journalism. Honestly, before I started the presentations, I was worried that most of the students would be turned off by writing for a newspaper.

After looking at the list of speakers, I saw physicians, teachers, police officers, firefighters, engineers, biologists. Never in my career have I saved a life, battled a fire, taught a child how to read nor designed a bridge. Not quite sure I belonged alongside that kind of company.

Despite my esteemed company, I was determined to make my job sound interesting.

So I started off with how I work like a police detective, piecing together bits and pieces of a story and then describing the thrill of a good quote and finally, seeing the finished product splashed across the front page.

After a few blank stares and drooping eyes, I realized my mistake. I assumed my audience was a group of writers — students who might understand and appreciate the craft.

Needless to say, I think the first five minutes of my presentation would have bored me if I was in their seats.

But as I got rolling, I described to them how my time as a reporter has been one adventure after another. Three years ago, I covered a plane crash, where a 7-year-old survived. Two months ago, I covered the sentencing of a child rapist.

But more than just the excitement of an interesting story, I tried to convey to them why I love journalism.

To me, my job is a different experience every day. It’s the chance to write someone’s story. It’s the chance to reach the public and keep them informed. It’s a chance to make a difference in one person’s life.

Though my articles are simply words on paper (or on a website), I believe what I do is important and that’s where my passion comes from.

Amid the group of students, I noticed a few were seniors. While a handful wanted to pursue journalism or writing, the vast majority had no interest in journalism.

And I was OK with that.

Passion — that is the key to any job.

If you wake up in the morning and love what you do, then your job will not feel like a job. That’s something I hope the students took with them.

Career Day is not about finding a job in life, but finding what you love in life and doing it.
Jacob Lammers

Monday, November 8, 2010

Corn toss tournament for the United Way

Want to see some News-Herald employees play some good but mostly bad corn toss? Of course you do!

Highlights from the night shift's tournament:

The News-Herald raised more than $800 for the United Way through the night-shift and day-shift corn toss tournaments.

-- Cheryl Sadler


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Refreshing mood at the polls

I won’t say my voting experience today was markedly different than the last time around, but I can’t ignore the vibe I picked up within my polling location.

There was a palpable, genuine enthusiasm for the political process in the area. Turnout statistics might soon prove that there wasn’t enough of that energy going around, but the smiles of fellow voters and those who volunteered at stations told me enough. Participants didn’t voice nearly as much, but they seemed outwardly congratulatory and relieved that another citizen decided to exercise the right to vote.

That emotion is bipartisan and, unlike other elements of campaign season, has nothing to do with alleged scandals or out-of-context quotes. Even if it was  temporary, the mood around the booths tempered my fear that we comprise a country that is more concerned about the dirty laundry of celebrities than selecting the individuals whose decisions will impact most facets of our lives.

-- Brandon C. Baker
    Business Editor

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No campaign literature but lots of voters

I went to the polls at about 11:15 this morning and was a little surprised there weren't volunteers from any campaigns handing out literature. Usually there's at least five or six smiling people standing right next to the sign saying "No campaigning past this point" but not this time.

However, inside it was pretty busy considering it wasn't quite lunch time. There weren't any lines yet but I had to grab the last open voting booth; all the others looked to be filled with retirees.I was voter No. 75 in my precinct.

I vote in Parma, which often is characterized as being blue-collared Democrat, but signs expressing support for the Tea Party have matched Kucinich ones this year. So, it's tough to tell which party could benefit from such a decent voter turnout.

John Bertosa
City Editor

A sweet Election Day? Only if you partake

I just got to work to start the most exciting night of the year for those of us who work in media -- Election Day.

One of my professors at Kent State said that if you don't get into the thrills of Election Night, you shouldn't work in journalism. I agree completely.

My own rituals on this important day involve voting just before I head off to work. My polling place in Euclid is in a church that sits across the street from my house. It's almost a shame that I drive over there, but I figure I am heading to work right after, so I need my car.

I know, I'm lazy. You don't need to tell me.

When most people think of voting, they imagine little old ladies sitting there waiting to scowl at you as you tell them your name. Oh, how times have changed. My polling place had a couple of women who appeared to be in the twenties taking the information and handing out the ballots. They moved me through the process quickly and sent me over to mark my ballots with the pen attached to the portable table.

Yes, Cuyahoga voters still use pen and paper ballots. I imagine one day we'll get into the future.

But once you feed your ballot through the scanner and head out with your sticker, you meet the evil presence at the polling place: the bake sale.

Not sure if you have the same experience, but each year there's a bake sale going on and the smell of sugar is intoxicating. This year, though, it was more annoying than alluring, because I'm still working off the sugar high that had me buzzing after Halloween. I didn't need to see cupcakes, brownies and cookies.

When the staffer motioned for me to hit the sweets table, I politely declined and mumbled under my breath that it's only been two days -- I don't need sweets.

Hope you all enjoyed as quick a visit to your polling place as I did. Experiences like this make me want to keep heading to vote in person and not by mail.

-- Laura Kessel

Everything should be this easy

I'm not entirely sure why, but I always think voting will be, if not an ordeal, a minor pain -- that it will take more time than I'd like. Again, this year, I was reminded of just how easy participating in democracy can be.

I have a flexible schedule at work, so I'm able to pick a time to vote that shouldn't be all that busy. I typically vote around 4 p.m., but today I decided to gamble a bit and vote dangerously close to lunch hour -- about 11:40 a.m. And when I showed up at the Willoughby church where I was to cast my ballot, the small parking lot was just about full.

"Great," I thought. "I hope my country realizes that I'm willing to stand in a line to shape it."

(Please read that last bit in the sarcastic tone with which it is intended.)

When I got into the voting room, the church's basement, there were few voters. In fact, there may not have been any, but I didn't pay close attention. Instead, there were lots of helpful volunteers who got me behind an electronic ballot in what felt like about 60 seconds.

It took only slightly longer than that to vote, I think. Check mark here, check mark there. Republican here, democrat there. Before I knew it, I was done.

I got my "Thank you for voting" from one of the volunteers and the obligatory sticker, and I was on my way to the office.

If helping shape the course of Willoughby, Ohio and the United States is the toughest thing I do today, today will have been one easy day.

-- Mark Meszoros