Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Suprising facts about the business of NEWSPAPERS

Our journalism class took a tour of the Albany Democrat Herald this Wednesday to see how the news room and paper operate. The production of a newspaper can be very stressful but rewarding. The demands placed on reporters to get the story and finish it can at times be unnerving as deadlines draw near.

In the newsroom at the Democrat Herald this didn't seem the case now that the paper has switch to a morning edition. Reporters and editor where still busy at work to write and edit stories but the demand to finish before going to press was more relaxed.

The Democrat Herald has two editions of the paper, one being of course the printed copy and the other is online. With the exception of breaking news, the online edition takes more of a back seat. Stories are posted online after the printed edition has been edited and gone to press.

"The last thing I want to do at the end of the day is post the online edition," said Steve Lundeberg, one of the editors at the paper and our tour guide.

It suprised me to hear that the online edition was not taken more serious as the business of reporting news has made a shift to more electronic copy. "I feel that there will always be a need for local papers," said Lundeberg.

The Democrat Herald also prints sales circulars for inserts and mail and the paper also prints the Gazette Times which corvers the news in Corvallis. The D.H. and the G.T. are owned by Lee Enterprises out of Davenport, IA.

In today's economic standing, the main costs for newspaper are the newsprint and employees. A roll of paper can weight 900 lbs and the printing press can go through a lot of paper each day. Advertisements is the main resource to offset the costs of production. What used to be the biggest ads where car sales, real estate and career, have now dwindled with the start of web sites such as Craigslist.

The Democrat Herald has on a staff of approximately 100 employees which includes reporters, photographers, editors, printers, marketing, and other production staff. Some of the staff members are also responsible for covering events for the Gazette Times. What surprised me was that there are only two photographers at the paper and some times they have to cover for both papers. This makes for a very busy schedule.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Albany Honors Veterans on Veterans Day

Members of the National Guard marching band lead the parade

The streets of downtown Albany were lined on both sides by people numbering over 40,000 braving the cold morning in anticipation of the annual Veterans Day Parade on Thursday. 

The parade started at the police station on Jackson St SE and followed a route that took it over the overpass on Pacific Highway, then right on Lyons, left on 2nd to Ferry St., left to 4th, ending at the Linn County courthouse at 300 3rd Ave. SW.

The parade was lead by a very large group of motorcyclists and was followed by the Army Band. Many thanks and cheers went out by the crowd to the men and women of the armed forces as each group marched by.

A large group of motorcycles lead the parade
Some of the high lights of this years parade were fly-by's from the Coast Guard with one of their HH-65C Dolphin helicopters and a fly-by of a F-15 Eagle from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland.

"I didn't see that one coming", one of the spectators said as the F-15 screamed overhead.

Local high school and middle school bands marched in the parade playing up-beat  patriotic music. Each marching band as well as groups from military ROTC, The Boy and Girl Scouts of America, Civil War reenactment groups and other clubs and auxiliaries, were competing for ribbons and trophies that were presented after the parade's conclusion.
F-15 from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland flew over Albany during the Veterans Day Parade
Winners of the marching bands were the West Albany High School and the North Albany Middle School bands.

"The is the second year in a row that we have won first place", stated Nicolas Anderson, a band member from North Albany Middle School.

West Albany High School band march down Ferry Street
North Albany Middle School Varsity Band marches
The city of Albany states a claim that Albany hosts the largest Veterans Day parade West of the Mississippi. Not a bad claim make given the parade is done completely by volunteers.

We must never forget that our freedom comes at a price and the service men and women of Albany has helped to insure that freedom.

Thank you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Road Show Plays Showcase Talent of Youth

One night, four hours, 20 performances by ten youth groups at two locations. You think this sounds like an undertaking for the brave to take on? You're absolutely correct. This was the challenge that the youth groups from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Albany and Lebanon area had to face in performing a road show on Oct. 23.

A road show is a fifteen minute performance that has movable backgrounds, props and must be performed in two or more locations. These shows are written, produced and directed by local youth and their leaders and performed by kids from 12 to 18 years of age. Each performance has a theme that is moral based and each group chooses their own theme without the knowledge of the other groups.

"Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices". This is quoted from the pamphlet, "For the Strength of the Youth" written by The First Presidency of the LDS church.

The LDS church has activities and functions for the youth members which give the youth a chance to grow their talents and to share them with the community. Each year the church has a major function for the youth. This year's function was the road show.

You might think that with 10 groups, someone might choose the same theme or story but that wasn't the case. Each group created their own costumes and backgrounds and scripts. Each performance shared a message that was uplifting, funny and thought provoking. The performances were judged for creativity, showmanship and how their story played out.

The Springhill youth group performs during the dress rehearsal.
 The opening act was based on a theme the Cookie Monster eating too many cookies and needing to add more fruits and vegetables in his diet. The act included music from the 80's and choreographed dancing. The children in the audience gave loud cheers and laughter when Elmo, Big Bird, The Count and Oscar the Grouch came on stage.

A cast party was held on Nov. 10 in Lebanon where all the youth and leaders gathered to watch a video of all the acts and to receive their awards. The grand prize winners are the Springhill youth. Their act was titled "Hercules and the Quest" which was loosely based sketches from Monty Pythons "The Holy Grail" and Greek mythology. A boy named Hercules was mistaken for the demigod and sent on a quest to take a package to the king. His journey was met with danger and adventure while avoiding the town bully and his group of minions. The story was well put together and the climatic ending was entertaining and surprising.

Other acts portrayed characters from nursery rhythms like "Little Bo Peep" and popular musicals such as "The Wizard of Oz".

"Everyone did a remarkable job and all the kids performed great considering some had little help and had to over come a lot of obstacles", stated Diane Allen who was one of the coordinators of the road show. Allen also had children performing in the Springhill group and she did a lot of behind the scene work for them.

The groups have a warm up act called an oleo that gives them just a few minutes to set there stage and prepare for their act. The act opens, the curtain is drawn and the timer starts. Fifteen minutes and the act is over, the curtain closes and the stage is broke down and moved off so that the next group can set the stage for their act. One set of performances in LDS church Albany on Grand Prairie and Waverly and the other set of performances where at the LDS church in Lebanon on South 5th st.

"Our performance was much better in Lebanon then Albany", stated Beth Young, one of the creative team of the Sweet Home group.

There is a short break between acts which gives the actors a chance to watch some of the other acts before a one-hour dinner break and travel time to the next location. Then the process starts over again.

These kids and leaders put on a fantastic show for the audience and judges and their parents have a lot to proud of. It just goes to show that hard work and lots of practice really pays off.