Photography, Challenge, Focus, and Fun

Still photography is one of my passions. I recently purchased a DSLR for my work on The Public Record, getting back into news photography after a six year hiatus. I love the challenge of trying to capture a moment, especially the effort that goes into framing, the focus that must go into controlling my breathing to minimize my movement upon compressing the shutter, and the fun of putting that all together. Sometimes, I just take a photo for fun. This one of the City Hall forecourt was purely for fun: It was very popular on Instagram. Looking forward to capturing similar night photos with fresh snow reflecting the light....

The Simple Pleasure of Waving While Cycling

"Ding, Ding" and a wave, it's amazing how such a seemingly small thing can have a big impact on brightening the day. This evening involved a bike trip from my office downtown to the McMaster campus around 5pm. Along the way, every few blocks, a "Ding, Ding" and wave as I passed someone I knew riding a Sobi (bike share) the other direction. The side streets of West Hamilton and Westdale are nice rides, with few vehicle crossover points, making waving a more common practice as I have time to identify the cyclist approaching. The Cannon Cycle Track has plenty of vehicle points, and I'm always significantly more focused on checking my 5-o-clock going westbound than...

Dave Hanley, Great Hamiltonian, Gone Too Soon

Devastating news tonight, as we learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Dave Hanley, who is widely known for his work organizing the great PopUp Hamilton events. When someone dies, especially someone as amazing has Dave, it is my practice to try and capture the person in words. Instead, I encourage you to take a few minutes and read the growing stream of tributes on his Facebook page. Dave was one of my favourite Hamiltonians. There are days, more than this Hamilton-born writer cares to admit, that this city drains everything from you. Dave's energy and passion for our Hamilton served to reinvigorate me and reminded me of the positive change happening in our community. Dave made me a...

Women as Honourary Colonels in the Canadian Forces

Colonel Dan Stephaniuk is the new Brigade Commander of the 32 Canadian Bridge Group, the army reserve brigade for the Greater Toronto Area. In a series of emails, "obtained" by Postmedia, Col. Stepaniuk orders the unit commanders of his 14 units to appoint women as Honourary Colonels of their regiments: "Honorary appointees are nominated by the CO (unit commanding officer) to me, not by the senate or regimental committee,” he said in his email. “If your association/regimental committee/senate are helping you to choose a suitable nominee and they are not using an appropriate diversity lens, it is your responsibility to ignore their recommendations and proceed to find a suitable candidate. “If this is not absolutely...

Don't Open that Email! Journalism and Click-Tracking

The US Government's Environmental Protection Agency is fighting an Associated Press journalist, and its getting ugly. One of the EPA's attacks on the journalist is his email opening history: "The Environmental Protection Agency is all over Michael Biesecker, a reporter for the Associated Press. His reading habits, for instance. 'We are able to see who opens our emails,' says an EPA official, referring to press-release blasts sent out by the agency. 'Michael very rarely opens a positive story about [EPA Administrator] Scott Pruitt. He only opens stories where he tries to create problems.'" A good reminder for journalists that we're being tracked. Each time we click a press release to read more, a good example being...

Thoughts on Building Better Scholarships

As a Crown Ward at age 19, I didn't go to university because the supports I needed weren't there. The generous scholarship in my recruitment wasn't packaged to support me properly. Some thoughts......

Journalism and Big Tech Control - Why I Self-Host and Believe Journalists Should Too

A few weeks ago, a firestorm erupted in US journalism circles as news came out that an influential intellectual was terminated by the New America foundation under pressure from Google - a major funder of the foundation. It's just the latest story of how Big Tech is increasingly using its power and influence in concerning ways. Josh Marshall, editor and founder of Talking Points Memo, writes a good summary of how intertwined Google now is with journalism, entitled "A Serf on Google's Farm": But how Google affects and dominates the publishing industry is something I know very, very well because I’ve lived with it for more than a decade. To say I’ve “lived with it” makes...

The Art of Headline: Mutually Assured Madness

A brilliant title for this week's episode of Radio Open Source Mutually Assured Madness on the increasing tensions between North Korea and the United States. This is, of course, a play on Mutually Assured Destruction the Cold War Doctrine that neither the USSR nor the United States would attack each other because the other side would be able to deliver a civilization-ending second strike. I haven't yet listened to this week's show, and recommend it anyway because ROS is insightful and thought-provoking every week....

Just Sitting on Concession: The Sidewalk Sounds Blogpost

I write this posting sitting on the street parking space patio of Relay Coffee. In front of me, I have a large pour-over coffee, and 10 metres away - in front of the store - a classical guitarist providing the background ambience for a very relaxing evening. Hundreds of people are walking by. We see this time and time again, all summer, people want to enjoy the nice weather in our public spaces....