A Father’s Pride

Today’s front page of the Winnipeg Free Press (WFP) showed retired officer Stan Smyth embracing his son, Winnipeg’s new police chief, Danny Smyth.

When I think about a newsworthy story, I think about the ‘elements of newsworthiness’ we’ve learned in PR: proximity, prominence, impact, human interest, consequence, currency, conflict, etc.

It seems as though the WFP ran a few front page articles this week of Danny Smyth. After all, he is the newly chosen police chief of Winnipeg. Now, that is impact. It’s impact because of proximity. The story is an easy front page piece in the WFP because of its relevance to the area.

The currency of this story is also a major factor in it being front page. It is current. He was chosen only days ago, and he’ll be featured in many more stories up until his official swearing-in on Nov. 8.

The more we learn about Danny Smyth, the more his prominence goes up as well. He is days away from being appointed the top police position, therefore he now embodies prominence for a story. He has become instantly well-known (in Winnipeg) because of his new-found position. He is the new face of our police service.

This man’s decisions and actions will affect the hundreds of thousands of citizens in our city. This story has consequence! Is he to be trusted with the burden of making critical decisions regarding our police force? His appointment will lead to definite consequences for crime in our city.

Let’s see if this article tells us more about him. 

*I read the article*

Why is his father embracing him in the article photo? The story is an interview with Stan Smyth, Danny’s father, talking about the life of his son (who followed in his footsteps). Stan was also a Winnipeg police officer. This has human interest written all over it. Or the attempt of it anyway. It is trying to strike an emotional chord with the reader. Danny’s a family man. The article talks about the whole family, Stan as a loving husband and father, Danny as a boy, and about both of their career decisions. Another picture in the article is of Stan holding a photo of himself as an officer back in the day and a more recent photo of Danny as one. Oh, the humanity! It delves into every emotional family aspect they have to offer.

Anyway, my verdict: the story’s very newsworthy!

Read the story here: Like Father, Like Son (beware the WFP pay-wall, or just register and pay).


(Blog Challenge #6: Choose a story from the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press and discuss what makes it newsworthy. What about this story made the editorial staff decide to give it front-page attention?)


Journalistic Duty

Journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! crossed the picket lines at Standing Rock, North Dakota, and reported on the Dakota Access Pipeline protest on September 3, 2016.

As the protest escalated, the pipeline security pepper sprayed and unleashed its dogs on the protesters.

There was a warrant issued for Goodman’s arrest a few days after the event. The charge was criminal trespass, a misdemeanour offence. Nothing came of it however, and the charge was dismissed this week on October 17, 2016.

It is seriously concerning that Goodman was charged and faced jail time and a fine. It was a gross intimidation tactic to discourage journalists from reporting on an issue of significant public interest.

Unlike any of the major American broadcast networks, Goodman was in the middle of the protest at Standing Rock. The protest involved many locals and activists standing up for their land and water, and against the pipeline’s bulldozing. It teetered on the edge of violence.

Without Goodman’s reporting, the story would have not been heard nor seen. The Democracy Now! video and Goodman’s report instantly spread internationally.

The video went viral in the following days, and was viewed more than 14 million times according to The Nation online. This caused the big network stations like CNN, CBS, NBC, and NPR to finally cover the protests.

The Dakota Access Pipeline security should be held accountable for its unethical use of pepper spray and dogs against the protesters. If Goodman hadn’t crossed the Standing Rock picket lines on September 3, she wouldn’t have fulfilled her role as a journalist.

It is a journalist’s duty to report the facts, and Goodman was well within her rights of the First Amendment and freedom of the press to do so. It would’ve been practically impossible for her to report the truth from the sidelines.



(Blog Challenge #5: Write a reasoned and professional 275-word argumentative analysis, taking a side on the following question: “Amy Goodman of ‘Democracy Now!’ should or should not have been arrested for covering the Dakota Pipeline story.”)

Killer Photo Tips



I’ve realized a few things about myself since starting Creative Communications: I don’t read enough books, I fall victim to the dreaded passive voice too easily, and I hold a DSLR camera like it’s a ticking time bomb.

As a DSLR newbie, I set out to find a photography resource online to learn some key fundamentals for using my camera. After a quick search, I found Photography Life—the all-in-one website/blog for photographers of any skill level. It has tips for beginners, but also covers any photography category you may be interested in learning more about.

With tips on different types of shots and how to shoot them, camera reviews, articles from many contributors, and a massive lens index, Photography Life is quite a helpful resource.

No matter what kind of camera you use or type of photography you’re into, this site has you covered. It even has a ‘Photo-Essays and Advice‘ section with links to great photo-essays, interviews, and useful photography business advice (if you’re a pro). If you ever need inspiration for a photo-essay make-up assignment, this section is gold. Check out these two by Spencer Cox: IcelandDrone Photography in Iceland. Um, Iceland? YES, please.

We had to shoot photos at different Culture Days events last weekend, and I’ll admit I was lost a lot of the time figuring out my camera. We’ve started discussing these photos in class, deconstructing each inexperienced shot.

One piece of advice from our first discussion was: direct the shot verbally and use yourself as an essential photographic tool.

It’s as simple as telling your subject what to do, and for candid photos, getting yourself in the right position for the best possible shot. This takes some thought and obviously a ton of practice for us beginners.

But once we start directing and positioning ourselves better, what should we think of next? … I have no clue. I bet there are many answers, but below in the embedded tweet is an interesting article from Photography Life on the various ways we can improve our photography.

^ Now, there’s a stellar portrait our photojournalist friend, James Turner would love… maybe.

I’ll be visiting Photography Life regularly as I begin to go out and shoot more. Hopefully it’ll help you too!

If you know of any more super useful photography blogs or social media accounts, please send them my way!

Follow Photography Life on Twitter—@KillerPhotoTips.

Cheers to learning a new skill.


(Blog Challenge #4 – Recommend a blog or Twitter account your CreComm classmates might find helpful as they pursue the program. Providing specific examples, explain why and how you feel this resource might help CreComms be successful)