Backpack Journalism

Journo2Go is a blog focusing on multimedia reporting - specifically backpack journalism. Steve Johnson, the blog's creator, is a freelance journalist and adjunct lecturer at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications.

When in doubt... Less is more

Each spring every major college football program hails their spring scrimmage as a pre-season-like game for fans to get a taste of the upcoming season.

At the University of Florida the Gators have their "Orange and Blue Debut" to showcase their football talent to fans who are jonesing for some gridiron.

Normally, a sports photographer would bring at least four cameras and a slew of lenses to cover the scale of a football game.

Instead, I chose to bring two camera bodies and two lenses. No gear bag, no utility belt to hold extra lenses. 

Many times at a game you can get weighed down by your own gear. I often shoot with five bodies, 400mm and 600mm lenses and find myself juggling while shooting.

My gear for this shoot included:

  • Nikon D4
  • Nikon D800
  • Nikkor 400mm f/2.8
  • Nikkor 35mm f/1.4
  • Sunscreen

This limited gear set actually worked!

I didn't miss any major action because I was fumbling for a different camera or lens and I certainly enjoyed being 40 pounds lighter than a typical game.

Primes are quickly taking over my camera bag that used to be dominated by a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 14-24mm f/1.4.

So far, it is paying off.

A few thoughts on Google Glass

For those of you who are still a bit unfamiliar with Google Glass we have recorded a video at the UF College of Journalism and Communications to discuss some of the possibilities of this wearable technology.

Dr. Andy Selepak, Director of our MAMC Social Media program, is working on a series of videos exploring newer technology and how it applies to the communications field.

Make sure to give Dr. Selepak a follow on Twitter and the UFJSchool on YouTube.

Journalism is still fun despite what you read

Running off at the typewriter (as my friend Mike Bianchi would say)...

Journalism is fun.

A career in storytelling is amazing.

You can make good money doing it.

There. I said it.

Let the negative comments start flowing, but it is ironic that a field that has the easiest way to spread a message is spreading a negative one to try and "save" their industry.

We have the best desk jobs in the world. Yes, even our editors who are at desks have exciting roles in storytelling.

Take a look at the incredibly talented group from The Verge.

They just posted a video that summarized what they accomplished at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas.

Yes, it was an assignment in Vegas. Yes, The Verge covers a lot of fun topics.

But look past that.

This video doesn't just show off cool technology and how their journalists get to play with the cool toys first.

It shows how even the most internet-driven, laptop/mobile, Skpye conference reporters can come together and do amazing work - and like each other.

Even more important, The Verge is defining what great storytelling can do in the 21st century.

This is not an outlet that just publishes puff pieces on the next iThis product.

This is an outlet that takes on stories like the NSA, holiday credit card fraud, troubles, financial details of U.S. Congressmen and many other great works of journalism.

So the next time you are reading about another angry reporter venting about how another website rated their job as the most stressful, how the next round of layoffs will kill the industry for good or how uneducated bloggers are replacing talented storytellers, I challenge you to find more outlets like The Verge and send a link to their job openings page to those who think storytelling is dead.

It's time to embrace entrepreneurial storytelling. This can be in the form of a startup blog looking for funding, community-funded projects or many of the other non-traditional forms of storytelling that we are scuffing off because it is not "real journalism."

P.S. - Take a look at their ethics statement if you don't believe me that they are credible journalists.