Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Watermelon, Delayed.


Good evening on this fine Wednesday and I hope this finds you well. Just wanted to dash off a couple quick notes on membership, good work and collaboration, then I've got a watermelon that needs attacking in my kitchen.

First off, please join me in welcoming our newest member, Peter Fuertes of the Sports department. Pete works the often-thankless night shift, putting out that section that for so many readers defines the Daily News. He's an incredibly nice dude, a hard worker and shows genuine concern for his colleagues, morale and the paper-- in short, just what we need in a member. Thanks for your support, sir, and welcome to the club.

Secondly, I've been remiss in pointing out some of the good work y'all are doing as of late. I rarely catch it all, so if anyone notices anything cool that I've missed, please let me know so we can shine the light on those who deserve it... but off the top of my head, let's give some much-earned props to Darlene Alilain, who's been putting out some rockin' Sunday biz cover designs. Also, Dana Bartholomew (http://dailynews.com/search/ci_4228610) had a nice feature on a busted pipe and the havoc it's wreaked in a community last week (I never thought I'd want to keep reading in a story about a leaking pipe, but his signature style of narrative kept me oddly captivated-- I aspire to have the flair and snap he puts into everything). Mike Baker had an eye-catching shot of a traffic snarl, where a lady's "it was this big" gesture conveys the frustration of a stranded motorist quite nicely. Brad Greenberg dipped into his religion writing background and turned out a feature on St. Joseph and real estate.

And, today, Fred Shuster had a remarkable little piece on the Kingston Trio in U (http://dailynews.com/search/ci_4251036). It's just a short little Q-and-A, about a band that hasn't been exciting since... well... ever (sorry, Mom). But with his unique combination of wit and detail, he made it into a great read. Fred, you're a true artist.

The thing I love about all this stuff is that these are seemingly mundane things-- a CD reissue, some DWP snafu, etc. and yet due to the talents of our staff, they become interesting and worth checking out. Y'all are what make this a fun, and rewarding, place to work. I'm proud to share the pages with people like you.

And finally, I wanted to point a little background spotlight on a story that I wrote recently to show something we all oughtta work on. I got a lot of nice feedback on my piece about Officer Kristina Ripatti's attempts to adjust to a her new life after being shot, and while I'm thankful, a huge amount of the credit for that story goes to Hans Gutknecht, who took the photos and was the real driver behind it.

Hans wanted to shoot this and knew it had potential, so he did all the groundwork in arranging the proper clearances and establishing the relationships before he even told me he wanted to do the story. With that set-up, it was easy for me to walk in, then on top of all that work, he shot some amazing photos. He then took it to Brian Harr, who did a bang-up job of clearing out space to support the images and text and laying it out. As a reporter, I couldn't have asked for better support.

This hasn't always been a place that welcomed collaboration and still has plenty of backwards, confusing dysfunctional ways. But when we start talking early in a story and bring in the various collaborators quickly, something like this results. We all got something to be proud of and none of that would have happened without Hans' vision and dedication. The more we collaborate, instead of just bringing in the other creative elements after the fact, the stronger all of our work becomes.

But before I start singing "Kumbaya" and my watermelon gets mushy, I'll shut up for one night. I know I get a little wound up in these missives sometimes, but dammit, I mean what I say. You guys are an absolutely amazing bunch of people to work with and I'll never be able to say enough about all the hard work you do.

Thanks for listening,


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