A career move

I’m happy to announce that on Monday I’ll be showing up for my first day of work at Gatehouse Media in Fairport, New York.

Gatehouse map

I’ll be working with Howard Owens, Bill Blevins, an awesome team of developers and designers, and many more talented folks. (Yes, I will try to pull that remembering-all-your-names on the first try trick again, but O’Hare-induced sleep deprivation may have played a role on my last trip out to Fairport.) My role will be helping many of Gatehouse’s smallest papers give their readers the best online local news experience possible.

For those of you keeping score, yes, this means that I’m leaving my post at the Santa Cruz Sentinel. I can’t thank everyone I’ve worked with at the Sentinel enough, so I won’t try to here. I’m proud of what we put into place in the past year, all difficult circumstances aside. This is a hard business to be in right now in many towns, and the people I’ve been working with know it firsthand, not as some abstract link in an industry blog.

To answer a few questions that keep coming up:

  • No, we’re not moving to Rochester this weekend. We’ll skip this winter, move in the spring, and I’ll have the pleasure of seeing a lot more of my wife and daughter for the next few months.
  • No, I wasn’t exactly looking for a new job, but it found me. To be more precise, Howard sent me a video message on Facebook. If you’re thinking “Hey, I told Ryan to call me when he was looking for work!” all I can say is thank you.
  • Yes, I am excited to be moving to Yankee country. I’m looking forward to living in a town where a coffee shop barista starts a conversation about last night’s game, and no one cares what Barry Bonds says or does.
  • Yes, I’ll still be blogging. All the usual disclaimers apply: This is my space for my thoughts and my opinions. No place of business or educational institution is responsible for what I write here.
  • Speaking of education, yes, I’m still working on my thesis.
  • A note to j-school students: Blogging about what you’re passionate about gets you work that you’re passionate about. Mr. Lebowski asked me to repeat that. Blogging about what you’re passionate about gets you work that you’re passionate about.

Conveniently enough, I’ll be in New York for a couple weeks, so I’ll be at the Networked Journalism Summit in NYC on October 10th. See you there, or in Fairport, or around town in Santa Cruz.

Notes on migrating three quarters of a mile

So we moved. And by “moved,” I mean we loaded our stuff into a truck and drove less than a mile to an apartment with more space, less drunk people throwing up next to our bedroom window (so far), and far more sanity all around us.

The state of our new living room as of a night or two ago:

A portion of our possessions

Yes, we did this with a seven-week-old in our arms the whole time, for those of you taking notes.

Many thanks to all the friends who lent a hand or a back over the weekend.

And thanks to my bosses who resisted the urge to insist that I work today. (We sent an intern to the illegal fireworks at the beach with a video camera – I’m banking on greatness.) I can hear all the action from our dining room table, now that we live on a block that’s actually above sea level.

One of the fun parts about all this packing and piling has been reading Grapes of Wrath in the middle of it all. The Joads just got to California, and they’re hanging out by the river near Needles waiting for the sun to go down so they can cross the desert.

Our short trip wasn’t quite so dramatic, but it was worth it.

Happy Independence Day.

Shifting priorities

If posting gets a little light around here, it’s because a few projects are working their way toward completion. One is nearly finished (more on that within the next few weeks) and another I just made a big change to get started on in earnest. There’s a third that’s on hold for a few minutes, but I’m sure I’ll be picking it back up shortly.

Anyway, I’m sending you away so you come back for more, later, when things have settled down a little bit here on my overcrowded desk/desktop/brain/life:

  • The Fresno State Collegian online edition covered an off-campus shooting this week with breaking news updates, slideshows and video. Powered by WordPress.
  • I’m about halfway through News, Improved. If you’re any sort of edito, manager or publisher with any level of seriousness in you about training your employees for the future present, you really need to pick up this quick read. Look for the examples at your circulation level, and have at it.
  • The relaunched-on-the-fly Kiowa County Signal in tornado-ravaged Greenburg, Kansas has a map up where readers can “flag” the places they knew until last weekend.
  • On the mapping note, my colleagues at work have brewed up the beginning of something really cool for local search: Santa Cruz Spots. Maps+Reviews+Ratings = a really handy database. It’s still in beta, so feel free to kick it around and let me know what you think.

That’s it for now. Go away. Come back later.

What I’ve been working on all week

I’ve been working with a reporter for the last couple months to help him put together a set of multimedia projects to run with his centerpiece in today’s paper.

Here’s the proverbial fruits of our labor: two audio slideshows, a video, and a podcast, all complementing his print stories by taking us behind the numbers (standardized test scores in this case) and into classrooms and homes to find out what a local school (and a community) is doing to deal with the consequences of falling behind under No Child Left Behind.

No, there’s no big Flash interface with a green chalkboard background and a cool navigation scheme. Maybe next time. For now, I’ve been focusing on producing and editing the pieces, rather than wrapping them up in pretty trappings. That will come later…

I’m aware there are things you would have done differently, and I can guess what most of those are, and yet, I still would love some feedback on the project.

A progress report on the patient

The laptop, that is.

It’s back from the repair shop, taking a charge like it should, and as a bonus, the touchpad is fixed, which means I won’t get scolded on airplanes anymore for using my wireless mouse.

Audio and video still randomly decide when to stop working, but I didn’t ask anyone to fix that. When dealing with this sort of machine, you learn to choose your battles wisely. The bottom line, the beast is back, for better or worse.

Thanks Dave*.

One more thing — my previous post about the perils of purchasing a refurbished laptop is drawing some decent search engine traffic. I hope my warning isn’t going unheeded.

*My local computer repair shop of choice appears to do business without a website of its own, but I’ve never walked in and seen the place anything but bustling, replete with work in progress piled on the shelves. I guess there’s still something to be said for a sign on the street and word-of-mouth advertising.