Detroit Free Press


2015 may be the year journalists actually get to use drones

logoFAAThe Federal Aviation Administration got both friendly and tough with journalists who want to use drones to capture video.

The FAA signed an agreement to work with CNN in a test project to come up with ways that journalists can safely use drones. CNN’s official release included these two passages:

 “Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem where operators of various types and sizes can safely operate in the US airspace,” said CNN Senior Vice President David Vigilante.

“Unmanned aircraft offer news organizations significant opportunities,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We hope this agreement with CNN and the work we are doing with other news organizations and associations will help safely integrate unmanned newsgathering technology and operating procedures into the National Airspace System.”

Here are some questions, and issues, we still face.

Will 2015 be the year journalists fly?
2015 will almost certainly be the year that American journalists will get some Federal Aviation Administration guidance on how they can use drones to capture video and still photos. Read more


The story behind The NYT’s feature photography Pulitzer win

When it came time to nominate feature photography projects for the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes, editors at The New York Times had four worthy entries but could only submit three for consideration.

That left Josh Haner, a staff photographer at The Times, with one chance to enter the contest: He had to nominate himself.

He did, and eventually won for his photo series chronicling the gradual recovery of a Boston Marathon bombing victim. And Wednesday night, he shared the stage at the Poynter Institute with his editor and three other Pulitzer winners who each discussed the stories behind their award-winning work. Just take a look Read more


Free Press designer ‘cared about every single word, every comma, every period’ on 1A

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Free Press designer dies: 25-year veteran Steve Anderson was 59. Remembers Amy Huschka, assistant editor/social media: “He was so proud of his Twitter account and loved sharing historic images and daily 1A’s with his followers.” From Jason Karas, a designer and colleague: “He cared about every single word, every comma, every period that he placed on a 1A.” (Detroit Free Press) | A collection of memorable front pages designed by Anderson. (Detroit Free Press) | A Storify of Anderson’s tweets that anyone who loves newspaper design should check out. (Storify)
  2. Freelance cameraman contracts Ebola: The unidentified man was working for NBC News on a team in Liberia with medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The production team has been ordered by NBC News “to return to the United States and enter quarantine for 21 days,” Bill Carter reports.
Read more

Detroit newspapers’ building sold

Detroit Free Press

A real estate services company has bought the building that houses the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, John Gallagher reports in the Free Press.

Bedrock Real Estate Services “is the real estate arm of Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert’s family of companies,” Gallagher writes.

The building at 615 W. Lafayette Street was designed by Albert Kahn and built in 1917. The papers plan to move to another building owned by Bedrock. Read more


Detroit Guild condemns police for photographer’s arrest, urges Free Press publisher ‘to take further action’ | Detroit Free Press | Fox 2 News

The Detroit Guild on Thursday sent a letter to Police Chief James Craig denouncing Free Press photographer Mandi Wright’s arrest last week after filming an arrest with an iPhone.

“The Guild demands that you issue a formal apology to Wright and that you take disciplinary action against the officers responsible for this illegal conduct against a photo journalist, who was just doing her job while witnessing a police arrest on a public street,” guild president Lou Mleczko wrote. He also sent a letter to Free Press publisher Paul Anger urging the organization “to take further action directed at the Detroit Police Department.”

The letters come the same week the National Press Photographer’s Association sent a letter to Detroit police this week saying  Wright’s First Amendment rights were violated.

“In any free country the balance between actual vigilance and over-zealous enforcement is delicate,” NPPA lawyer Mickey Osterreicher wrote in the letter to Detroit Police Chief James Craig, the Freep’s Gina Damron reports. Read more


M.L. Elrick leaves Detroit Free Press to join WJBK-TV

Crain’s Detroit Business Poynter

Veteran reporter M.L. Elrick is leaving the Detroit Free Press to become an investigative reporter at WJBK-TV2, the city’s Fox affiliate. Elrick, 44, told Crain’s Detroit Business that he’s ready for a new challenge and that the station has agreed to let him take time off in the future to work on a book about the Kwame Kilpatrick saga, which won him and Jim Schaefer the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 .

Elrick told Crain’s that he still considers the Free Press to be “a great paper doing the lord’s work,” but that in the end, the newspaper’s work “wasn’t avante-garde enough” for him. This isn’t Elrick’s first TV job; he worked for a year at WDIV-TV and then returned to the Free Press in 2007. Read more


Guild official worries today’s Free Press will look like ‘gold standard’ after buyouts

M.L. Elrick, vice chairman of the Free Press unit of the Detroit Newspaper Guild, says he’s worried about the talent the paper will lose after its next round of buyouts. On Monday, management offered buyouts to 155 people at the Free Press, the Detroit News and the Detroit Media Partnership, which oversees their joint business operations.

In an email interview, Elrick said:

While I applaud the company for finding a humane, even generous, plan to reduce costs, I dread thinking of the experience and institutional knowledge that we will lose. I am also concerned that those who remember what the Free Press once was — a dynamic newspaper with a landmark building, bureaus all over the world, scintillating columnists and page after page stuffed with fun and fascinating stories and features — are disappearing. We’re still doing great work, despite the challenges, but I shudder to think that for every new employee, the diminished Free Press of today will be considered the gold standard against which they measure the newspaper in the future.

Read more

Detroit Free Press, News offer buyouts to staffers

Crain’s Detroit Business
Buyouts were offered to 155 people at the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News and the Detroit Media Partnership, which oversees their joint business operations.

Alan Lenhoff, director of project management and corporate communications with the Detroit Media Partnership, told Poynter that employees age 56 and up who have worked at the papers for 20 or more years will be eligible. The offer includes two weeks pay for each year at the paper (capped at 52 weeks) and health insurance. Some people who are eligible may not be allowed to accept the buyout, Lenhoff said, depending on how many people want to take it from each department.

Lenhoff told Poynter he expects less than half of eligible employees to accept the buyout. “It’s a total win-win because we would like to reduce some expenses, and it’s an excellent opportunity for people who are close to retirement to make that possible for themselves,” he said by phone. Read more


How the Detroit Free Press used Facebook to involve readers in a controversial publishing decision

It’s not uncommon for readers to object after a newspaper decides to publish or withhold sensitive information — public employee salaries, sexual abuse allegations or an underage victim’s name.

But an exchange on the Detroit Free Press’ Facebook page shows how those decisions now can be shaped in advance by a public dialogue between the paper and its readers.

On Tuesday, the Free Press told its Facebook fans it would soon be posting audio of a grim 911 call in which a 17-year-old girl reports that her ex-boyfriend killed her current boyfriend with an ax, then shot himself in the head. At the time, she did not know her mother had also been killed.

There are several journalistic questions: Was the 911 audio sensationalistic, or valuable reporting? Does a teenage caller deserve more sensitive treatment? Was it right to embed the audio on the news website’s homepage, rather than deeper in the site, so readers would not be confronted by it? Read more


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