Archive for May, 2008

Great LA Times story here on McCain’s “YouTube gap.”


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We all get those “phishing” e-mails that look so authentic. The most popular ones seem to originate from Bank of America or EBay.

It’s a simple scam; the e-mail says your account has been compromised or inactive but if you click on the link and update your account information everythng will be just fine.

Of course savvy computer users aren’t fooled by the links that lead to some bogus website in China that’s been set up to look like a real Bank of America site.

Most people just hit delete. Especially when the e-mail seems to be from Bank of America and you have a Wachovia account.

But there are always some who are unsophisticated enough to fall for the scam.

And now the “phishers” are trying something different.

They’re sending instant “phishing” messages to cell phones.

I shot a photo of my first “phishing” message received yesterday.

A vist to the EPPI Card website shows that they are aware of the problem.And now you’ve been warned!!!

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Fear factor

UPDATE: It just occurred to me that perhaps the Sun-Sentinel hired someone from Channel 7 to run their website!

I’m old enough to remember when newspapers provided information not hype! What’s the point of this?

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I wrote the story below (and shot photos) about Miami Herald photographer Tim Chapman over a year ago. It was posted on the now defunct blog category305.com.

I’ve been looking for an excuse to re-post here on my own blog.

Today Tim gave me an excuse by taking another great newsphoto!

There are still a few living legends right here in Miami. Tim is one of them!


New York City-1935–A lone freelance news photographer prowls the streets at night looking for news photos for the city’s scrappy tabloids.

The 36 year-old Ukrainian immigrant and former darkroom helper hits the streets each night listening to a police radio in his battered Chevy coupe, searching for random acts of mayhem that will make a good news picture; a mob hit, a tenement fire, a spectacular car crash.

This is the golden-age of newspapers. Everyone gets their news from a newspaper and competition among the city’s papers is fierce.

The photographer wears a rumpled suit that he, more often than not, sleeps in when he has time to catch a few minutes of rest before the next story.

He’s always seen with a cheap cigar clenched between his teeth.

He works out of the trunk of his car which is crammed with the tools of his trade: a typewriter, old cigar boxes filled with film holders for his two bulky Speed Graphic cameras, boxes and boxes of flashbulbs and something a news photographer shouldn’t be without–a pair of rubber boots for covering fires.

For 11 years–between 1935 and 1946–Arthur Fellig (aka Weegee) roamed the streets in search of news photos, and in the process became a legend.

Today his gritty news photographs are considered art and are exhibited in museums and galleries and sell for thousands of dollars.

Fellig died in 1968 at the age of 69.
Miami–March, 2007-A lone news photographer eases his silver Toyota SUV out of the Miami Herald’s parking garage.

He wants to hit the streets before the sun rises. For the next eight hours, the former Herald darkroom tech, will roam the streets of Miami in search of a news picture.

A hand rolled cigar is clenched between his teeth, fired up and filling the interior of his car with a cloudy haze. “It’s my breakfast cigar,” he explains.
He wears a utilitarian khaki shirt and cargo pants.

The front seat of his still-new SUV is crammed with several portable police scanners, two Nikon digital cameras, a reporter’s notebook and a silver thermos filled with steaming coffee. A laptop computer is stowed in the back seat.

The similarities between Weegee and the Miami Herald’s veteran news shooter Tim Chapman are uncanny. Although more than half a century separates them, Weegee practiced and Chapman practices what one reporter calls “old school journalism.”

Five days a week Chapman, 56, travels hundreds of miles of Miami-Dade County streets chasing spot news; fires, shootings, car crashes. And there’s plenty to cover; “Miami is a newsman’s dream,” says Chapman.

When he hears a call on one of his scanners he races to the scene and shoots photos and then files them to the dayside news editor who posts them on the Miami Herald’s website often within minutes of his arrival. Chapman also dictates bare-bones accounts of what he shoots that are re-written and posted with Chapman’s byline by the editor, 25 year veteran Casey Frank.

Chapman’s mandate is clear: get the news first, get it fast and get it right. Or as he puts it: “The deadline for the internet is now!” Chapman continues: “My goal is to get there when the bullet leaves the gun. If the PIO (public information officer) is there when I get there then I’ve missed the picture.”

Chapman says he recently had photos a West Miami-Dade warehouse fire on the net before firefighters had the blaze under control.

It’s no secret, even to the most casual observer, that the economics of print journalism are changing.

Newspapers are struggling to adapt to a fast changing journalism landscape. News consumers can now pick and choose where, how and when they get their news. Competing with newspapers are Internet, cable news, magazines, radio and satellite radio.
In 1963 when the Herald moved into the building they now occupy, newspapers were king. The world moved at a slower pace. If you were a real news junkie, besides your morning paper you could subscribe to LIFE magazine, or watch local and network newscasts which usually ran about 15 minutes each. And if you wanted more news you could watch a newsreel at your local movie theatre.

In 1963 Dade County had a population of about 1,050,000. The Herald’s daily circulation was about 330,000 according to a special section the Herald printed to coincide with the opening of their new building. Miami-Dade County now has a population of over two and a quarter million. However, according to the paper’s website, Herald circulation is about 314,000.

“For newspapers the watchword is hyperlocalism,”

Tom Rosenstiel director of the Washington DC-based Project for Excellence in Journalism said recently on NPR.

Chapman is more direct: “I want to shoot good news photos and stories of local events.”

So in addition to putting out a daily paper the Herald has assembled what Frank calls “a small, quick moving team of folks” whose job it is to “beat everyone to the news” and get it on the web.

Not everyone likes what they see however. Jim Mullin, former editor of Miami New Times and owner of the monthly Biscayne Times says “the Herald’s first obligation is to produce a website that’s easy to navigate and useful. The Herald’s is neither. It’s a mess.”

Chapman eases his SUV onto I-95 and heads north. The road ahead is clear. Morning rush hour and all the traffic right now is southbound.

“My enemy is the traffic,” Chapman says as he explains his first call of the morning. “I got a motorman down at Northwest one-one-nine and one-seven,” he says in police- speak. Translation: A motorcycle cop has been involved in an accident at NW 119th Street and 17th Avenue.

Chapman drives and explains his journalism philosophy. “I’m a hunter/news gatherer.” Chapman says that he shoots news for the guy who doesn’t have time to read the paper before he leaves for work but will probably hit the Herald website at work. “If you’re not looking on the web then you’re the you’re getting your news.”

Chapman reaches the scene of the “accident” but it turns out to be a minor mishap involving a Miami Beach motorcycle officer on the way to work. There are about five cops on the scene and it seems that every one of them is filling out forms but Chapman takes time to chat with one who’s not busy. “They’ll remember me next time,” he says before getting in his vehicle and heading back south.

The scanner traffic heats up as the morning wears on: Fire rescue dispatched to a 3-41, an elderly person who has chest pains, assorted minor 17’s (traffic accidents), and cops calling in to run checks on people they’ve stopped for traffic violations.

All minor and not newsworthy.

Chapman has time to talk and and reminisce.

We pass Bubba’s Supermarket and Chapman points and laughs. The market is where woman sought refuge in after leading police on a two county chase a couple of weeks before in a stolen the U-Haul truck. He got a picture of her at the wheel while she was being chased by cops.

After a few more blocks Chapman says “I can drive 10 blocks and for the last 30 years I can tell you what body was laying there.”

Chapman remembers alot and there’s a lot to remember. He’s been a Herald photographer for 35 years and estimates that he’s covered 17,000 assignments.
Chapman moved to Hialeah from his birthplace in Ohio when he was eight.
He attended Hialeah High, Miami Dade College and UM.

Got a job right out of UM at the Herald as a lab tech processing film and making prints.

Shot spot news in his spare time and was promoted to staff photographer after a few months. First published photo in the paper was an Everglades fire.

Over the years the stocky, barrel-chested Chapman has covered eight wars, including conflicts in Nicaragua,Masaya Nicaragua / Miami Herald photo by Tim Chapman

El Salvador, Beirut, (“I was the first photographer to transmit color photos out of Beirut in ’83.”) Cuba a dozen times, Haiti and on and on. Back in Miami he covered the Mariel boatlift and cocaine cowboy wars of the 80’s.Mariel refugees /Miami Herald photo by Tim Chapman

But he says his biggest story was the mass suicide at Jonestown in Guyana in November 1979.

He remembers details like it was yesterday.

He was working at the Herald early in the morning when the story crossed the wires. He grabbed $2,000 he kept in his locker for emergencies and his passport and jumped a plane for Trinidad and then another for Guyana.

While other journalists were attending official press conferences in Georgetown Chapman made his way to a dusty airstrip where a Guyanese military chopper was waiting to ferry approved journalists to the scene of the massacre.

When the pilot told him that he wasn’t on the list Chapman protested that there must be some mistake and if he didn’t get in he’d be fired.

He tells the pilot that he’ll take a picture of him next to his chopper and send it to him when he gets home. After a few minutes the pilot relents and lets Chapman fly in with just a few other journalists and photographers.

Chapman remembers more details. Flying 300 feet over the settlement he says he could smell the stench of rotting bodies. “It looked like a carnival; they were all wearing colorful clothes.” Once on the ground the journalists were on the own. The Guyanese military refused to go into the camp with them. Early reports said that about half the settlers had vanished into the jungle and some of the journalists worried that they might come back to the camp and start shooting.Miami Herald photo by Tim Chapman

His most vivid recollection while walking through the hellish scene and the hundreds of bloated bodies was that it was “like something out of a Dali painting.” Chapman recalls that among the death the only other living creatures were the settlers’ colorful pet parrots that just sat silently on fences.

After spending an hour or two in the camp Chapman flew back to the airstrip where he was confronted by a journalist from Germany’s Stern magazine who offered him $10,000 for his film. Chapman refused and returned to Miami with the pictures the world was waiting to see.
At 8:30 Chapman pulls into a parking space in front of a Nicaraguan diner on Calle Ocho. Once inside he quickly orders a traditional Nicaraguan breakfast of fried eggs, gallo pinto and maduros. Minutes later he’s back in the car and lighting up his fourth cigar of the morning…or is it his fifth? And then he’s back in traffic and closely listening to the scanners.

An editor calls and asks him to check out a Miami police sweep in the Grove.

Minutes later he pulls into a shopping center parking lot at 27th Avenue and US 1 where police have set up a command post complete with marked parking spots for Chief John Timoney and a brand spanking new mobile command unit that has obviously been purchased with Homeland Security funds. Chapman’s out his element here; he doesn’t like “dog and pony shows.” After chatting with some of the bored cops he quickly pulls back into traffic.


Chapman pops a Jimi Hendrix CD into the CD player and turns up the volume and floors the gas pedal. He’s on his way to the first real call of the day. An assault at 55 N.E. 55th Street. Homicide detectives get on the frequency and order responding units to preserve the scene when they arrive. But we can hardly hear because Chapman has turned up the volume on the CD player and Hendrix bellows:

“There must be some kind of way out of here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion
I can’t get no relief….”

On the way the first arriving police units advise the dispatcher that it’s not a stabbing but a shooting.

The CD player blares louder:

“No reason to get excited
The thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke but uh…”

Minutes later Chapman arrives after a very hairy ride up NE 2nd Avenue.

The Toyota has barely stopped and Chapman is out and on the run shooting photos of a guy being loaded into a Miami Fire Rescue unit. Chapman jumps back in the Toyota and pulls around the corner where cops are already threading the parking lot of a tired looking apartment complex with yellow crime scene tape; something they never seem to run out of.

Chapman starts to shoot more photos of the scene from a discreet distance.
He then walks over to a knot of spectators where, miraculously he finds the woman who found the victim. After getting her name and a quote about gunfire a policewoman appears and takes the witness behind the tape.

The normally gregarious Miami police commander David Magnusson has taken charge of the scene. He’s got the cops stringing even more tape and Chapman senses he’s not in a talkative mood.

But it doesn’t matter; Chapman has enough pictures and a few quotes and five minutes after he arrived he’s excitedly dictating the witnesses’ account to his editor and in another few minutes he’s scanning the photos in his laptop and sending them to the paper.

Chapman takes the time to chat with a few of the cops who’ve recognized him and a few minutes later he’s back in the Toyota firing up another cigar. As he puffs on the cigar the police crime scene technician slowly pulls up and a minute or two later the homicide detectives arrive and cautiously saunter towards the active crime scene. Chapman barely notices; his work is done.

Chapman pulls slowly away from the curb and heads back to Herald building. He’s tired and wants to get home and take a nap before doing some yard work.

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Rupert Murdoch: love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him.

Some fascinating insights here on his thinking about the state of newspapers and also what he thinks of Obama:(“rock star”) and McCain:(“unpredictable”). Read the story and watch the videos.

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Saw this on The Daily Pulp today. Thought I’d share. It’s too good not to.

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Looks like the Herald website is going a little “tabloid” on us today with exclamation points in the headline and the aggressive invitation for a “throwndown” to all the right-wing readers who will surely show up to “confront” Andres.

Should make for interesting reading ….and of course drive up those page views!

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