Skip navigation
Help

John

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/sayforward.com/subdomains/recorder/httpdocs/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

<< Previous | Next >>HERALD

  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD
  • HERALD

Jessie Hoagland, 14, of Duff, Indiana, practices goat tying. The photo is from a story about Hoagland as the reigning Indiana Junior Rodeo Association Cowgirl of the Year.

Photo: Krista Hall

<< Previous | Next >>View all

“Where the hell is Dubois County and what the hell is The Herald?” you might ask, flipping through the 2012 newspaper picture editing winners from the prestigious Picture of the Year International awards.

Located in the town of Jasper in rural southern Indiana, among rolling hills and Amish communities, The Herald pops out in a list of papers you might actually expect to see — The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, etc. Shirking expectations of both its size and location, the paper has produced some of the country’s best documentary photography and most thoughtful presentations since the late ’70s.

“We’ve farmed dozens and dozens of great stories out of the community,” says Justin Rumbach, the current managing editor and the fourth generation of Rumbachs to run and own the paper. “And it proves that if a photographer can do it in Dubois county, you can do it anywhere.”

The paper, a tabloid instead of a broadsheet, has created a following mostly because of its now-famous Saturday photo stories, which combine thoughtful reporting and powerful photography. They’re run ad-free and take up the entire front page plus five additional pages inside, sometimes more.

“It all started in 1978 when my dad John went to a Flying Short [photography] Course in Bloomington,” says Rumbach.

Since 1946, The Herald has been a six-day-a-week afternoon paper — there is no Sunday edition. While the afternoon schedule facilitated a unique style of news gathering, it also meant that because of weekend schedules readers oftentimes weren’t getting to the Saturday paper until Sunday morning. By then, the front page was old news. The Saturday features came about, Rumbach says, because his dad John, the paper’s editor at the time, was looking for a solution to that problem.

“They wanted something with a longer shelf-life,” Rumbach says.

At the Flying Short Course, John came across a twice-weekly paper in California that kept its front page fresh by using a more magazine-like cover story that relied heavily on photos.

A writer by trade who also shot photos, John immediately liked the idea and brought it back to The Herald. In the process, he ended up creating not only a new way of laying out the Saturday paper but also a new way of thinking about photography.

“At many other newspapers the photography department is treated like a service department. The word side comes up with an idea and then it gets handed to the photo department,” Rumbach says.

But not at The Herald.

Because the new Saturday cover features were driven by photography, it was often the photographers who were out finding the stories instead of the other way around. This earned them a newfound respect that has since trickled down.

Today, photographers not only have a real voice in the Saturday features but also in the entire news cycle, bucking a trend of second-class citizenship that still plagues other photojournalists across the country.

“We now expect our reporters, when they are coming up with their ideas, to pitch them to a photo editor,” Rumbach says. “We are not going to put a photographer on an assignment that won’t produce a good picture.”

A tradition of smart, efficient, and thoughtful photo editing has also taken hold.

“We spend a lot of time editing the picture and picking pictures that make a point,” says Rumbach. “Every picture we run we want to run it with a purpose. Just because we have a lot of space doesn’t mean we run a ton of photos.”

The rise of photography and the Saturday features have also had an effect on the rest of The Herald. Unlike other small papers that only have time to react to that day’s news, The Herald has implemented a much more structured planning system.

Rumbach says they ideally try to work about four months out on the Saturday features. Sometimes it takes even longer than that.

“We don’t want to put a deadline on [the features],” Justin says. “We let [the photographers and reporters] tell the story until it’s done.”

Over the course of 30-plus years, the photographers who’ve passed through The Herald have taken all this freedom and responsibility seriously, telling stories about love, tragedy, family and everything in between with an intimacy that’s unheard of at papers with an 11,300 circulation.

“Our readers have a history with us and there is that built-in trust, we don’t have to sell people on letting us photograph them,” Rumbach says. “They know what we want to do and they are open to it.”

It’s not all rosy. The paper has felt the financial crunch effecting the rest of the journalism industry and revenues are down. But a strong local readership and the family structure of the paper have prevented a precipitous decline. Rumbach says the paper has had no layoffs and has given the staff a raise each year.

Like the rest of the media world, the paper is still trying to figure out how to fully harness the power of the internet. With an emphasis of visuals, The Herald is perfectly positioned to join the world of multimedia, but Rumbach says they’ve intentionally stayed away.

“I’m a fan of multimedia and if they gave me a full-time position to just work on just that it would be great,” he says. “But I don’t want to saddle our photographers with multimedia because making pictures and doing it correctly is hard enough.”

Ultimately, Rumbach says the paper’s plan for the future is still pretty simple.

“We want to continue our history of storytelling and continue to print it on newspaper for as long as possible,” he says.

0
Your rating: None

We at EverythingIsTerrible! invite you now to sit back, fix your gaze into the portal of excess and truth, and embark with us, your guides, Yonder Vittles and Defenestrator III: On Broken Glass, as we exit the Old World for a brief 3 minutes and 41 seconds and journey into the distant and harmonious lands of the future.

Please cover your eyes as you cross the post-apocalyptic boobs if you are taking your journey at work.

0
Your rating: None

Remember last week when I said coding was just writing?

I was wrong. As one commenter noted, it's even simpler than that.

[This] reminds me of a true "Dilbert moment" a few years ago, when my (obviously non-technical) boss commented that he never understood why it took months to develop software. "After all", he said, "it's just typing."

Like broken clocks, even pointy-haired managers are right once a day. Coding is just typing.

keyright keyboard

So if you want to become a great programmer, start by becoming a great typist. Just ask Steve Yegge.

I can't understand why professional programmers out there allow themselves to have a career without teaching themselves to type. It doesn't make any sense. It's like being, I dunno, an actor without knowing how to put your clothes on. It's showing up to the game unprepared. It's coming to a meeting without your slides. Going to class without your homework. Swimming in the Olympics wearing a pair of Eddie Bauer Adventurer Shorts.

Let's face it: it's lazy.

There's just no excuse for it. There are no excuses. I have a friend, John, who can only use one of his hands. He types 70 wpm. He invented his own technique for it. He's not making excuses; he's typing circles around people who are making excuses.

I had a brief email exchange with Steve back in March 2007, after I wrote Put Down The Mouse, where he laid that very same Reservoir Dogs quote on me. Steve's followup blog post was a very long time in coming. I hope Steve doesn't mind, but I'd like to pull two choice quotes directly from his email responses:

I was trying to figure out which is the most important computer science course a CS student could ever take, and eventually realized it's Typing 101.

The really great engineers I know, the ones who build great things, they can type.

Strong statements indeed. I concur. We are typists first, and programmers second. It's very difficult for me to take another programmer seriously when I see them using the hunt and peck typing techniques. Like Steve, I've seen this far too often.

First, a bit of honesty is in order. Unlike Steve, I am a completely self-taught typist. I didn't take any typing classes in high school. Before I wrote this blog post, I realized I should check to make sure I'm not a total hypocrite. So I went to the first search result for typing test and gave it a shot.

typing test speed (WPM) results

I am by no means the world's fastest typist, though I do play a mean game of Typing of the Dead. Let me emphasize that this isn't a typing contest. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't full of crap before I posted this. I know, there's a first time for everything. Maybe this'll be the start of a trend. Doubtful, but you never know.

Steve and I believe there is nothing more fundamental in programming than the ability to efficiently express yourself through typing. Note that I said "efficiently" not "perfectly". This is about reasonable competency at a core programming discipline.

Maybe you're not convinced that typing is a core programming discipline. I don't blame you, although I do reserve the right to wonder how you manage to program without using your keyboard.

Instead of answering directly, let me share one of my (many) personal foibles with you. At least four times a day, I walk into a room having no idea why I entered that room. I mean no idea whatsoever. It's as if I have somehow been teleported into that room by an alien civilization. Sadly, the truth is much less thrilling. Here's what happened: in the brief time it took for me to get up and move from point A to point B, I have totally forgetten whatever it was that motivated me to get up at all. Oh sure, I'll rack my brain for a bit, trying to remember what I needed to do in that room. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't. In the end, I usually end up making multiple trips back and forth, remembering something else I should have done while I was in that room after I've already left it.

It's all quite sad. Hopefully your brain has a more efficient task stack than mine. But I don't fault my brain -- I fault my body. It can't keep up. If I had arrived faster, I wouldn't have had time to forget.

What I'm trying to say is this: speed matters. When you're a fast, efficient typist, you spend less time between thinking that thought and expressing it in code. Which means, if you're me at least, that you might actually get some of your ideas committed to screen before you completely lose your train of thought. Again.

Yes, you should think about what you're doing, obviously. Don't just type random gibberish as fast as you can on the screen, unless you're a Perl programmer. But all other things being equal -- and they never are -- the touch typist will have an advantage. The best way to become a touch typist is through typing, and lots of it. A little research and structured practice couldn't hurt either. Here are some links that might be of interest to the aspiring touch typist:

(But this is a meager and incomplete list. What tools do you recommend for becoming a better typist?)

There's precious little a programmer can do without touching the keyboard; it is the primary tool of our trade. I believe in practicing the fundamentals, and typing skills are as fundamental as it gets for programmers.

Hail to the typists!

[advertisement] Lighthouse — taking the suck out of issue tracking. Developer API. Email integration. Github integration. Used by thousands of developers and open source projects including Rails, MooTools, RSpec, and Sproutcore. Free for Open Source projects.

0
Your rating: None