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A look at The Daily Record’s foray into video via @Storify

This originally appeared as a piece on Storify. I reproduce it here, adding this photo below of Dan Starcher.


Dan Starcher, a photographer for The Daily Record, has helped the Wooster, Ohio-based newspaper raise the level of its video production.

The (Wooster) Daily Record’s YouTube channel continues to log thousands of views each month, and it is surprising to this reporter.

Boston Politicos: Up Close and Personal

I had the good fortunes of traveling to Boston twice in 2013. Once for business, the other for pleasure. Ironically, on both trips, I had the chance to meet two Massachusetts governors.

Michael Dukakis

In the photo above, my wife, Wendi, and I are with former Gov. Michael Dukakis. Wendi and I were visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Boston near Northeastern University in December 2013. We were traveling all over town and were hungry. We were heading for a burrito joint near the university, but opted to pop into University House of Pizza.

When we sat down, I looked to the group of three in the table across from us (the restaurant is small, but very good), and I thought I recognized the governor. I told my wife, “I am going to talk to the man over there before we leave.” She wanted to know why. “You’ll find out.”

When I went to pick up our order at the counter, one of the men at the table was settling the bill. I knew I had to act, and act fast. Seizing the opportunity, I stood up, walked to the table and said, “Excuse me, are you Gov. Dukakis?”

He said he was.

When Dukakis ran for president, I liked him. After all, we were both from Massachusetts. I grew up in Revere, Mass. We talked about the presidential campaign, and he apologized, saying if he had done better there would have been “no Bush 1,” and without a George H.W. Bush presidency, there would be “no Bush 2.”

Dukakis was gracious and engaging, asking about where we were living and what we were doing. He told us for the past 22 years, he has been a professor at Northeastern University.

It was a pleasure running into Dukakis and spending some time with him. Incidentally, one of the guys at his table looked like former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. He said he was not.

I was also in Boston earlier in the year. I was honored to receive a fellowship from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to attend the Association of Health Care Journalists convention.

Deval Patrick

On that trip, Gov. Deval Patrick welcomed us to town. After he spoke, I left the room where he was speaking to follow him. I was with a reporter from California, and she was assigned by the AHCJ to cover it for the organization’s blog. When I looked to my right, she was gone.

Thinking the reporter was going to chase down the governor and ask some additional questions, I wanted to get a photo of her interviewing Patrick. When I caught up with Gov. Patrick and his entourage, he was surrounded by local media wanting to press him about potential improprieties by a state worker.

After his run-in with the local TV crews, I was able to introduce myself.

With my job at The Daily Record, I get to meet a lot of elected officials, which is nice for a political junkie.

Folsom Prison Blues like you’ve never heard it before: @JoshKrajcik style

One of the things I have been fortunate to do at The Daily Record is to shoot video at Josh Krajcik’s concerts. These concerts have become events with Lydia Gehring handling the interviews and stories, Dan Starcher shooting photos and me capturing video.

The first Krajcik concert I went to was at House of Blues Cleveland in which he and his band, Mitch Pinkston (bass), Corey Gillen (drums) and Eric French (guitar). I was blown away when they performed their version of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.

I have had the opportunity, thanks to Lydia, to shoot video of Krajcik’s concerts in Wooster (at McGaw Chapel twice and once at the Wayne County fairgrounds), in Canton when he did a promotional concert at the Best Buy there and in Orrville at the Rib & Music Fest.

Whenever Krajcik performs with the band, they always seem to play Folsom Prison Blues. I have wanted to take video from four of the concerts and make a single video by editing different portions of the song together. The songs come from the House of Blues concert, McGaw Chapel 2012, the Orrville Rib & Music Fest and his latest concert at McGaw Chapel in December 2013.

This has taken me longer than I expected, but I hope you enjoy it.

A Glimpse into a Worship Service (via @Storify)

Beantown Braces for The Z Section

I sat listening to Boston’s debut album this morning as I prepare to head to the home of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots (if you consider Foxborough Boston) to attend the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual conference.

Boston the Band

The trip was made possible by a generous Rural Fellowship awarded to me by the organization and funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The agenda is impressive; you can see for yourself here (be sure to click on the events for Friday and Saturday, too).

I am looking forward to this incredible opportunity. I regret that, at times, there will be more than one presentation, and I will only be able to attend one. I am looking forward to learning about using social media and other technologies to aid my reporting; learning more about the challenges of coordinating senior care; how to analyze financial and other documents related to hospitals; how to take complex issues and turn them in to compelling stories; as well as networking with health care journalists.

Gov. Deval Patrick

I will also get a few hours with my family, though not much. The conference organizers have packed a lot into the four days (it runs Thursday-Sunday), including a welcoming reception by Gov. Deval Patrick. However, despite the ambitious schedule, I truly am looking forward to this opportunity to learn more about health care reporting.

I have access to many top health care professionals, not only because of the Cleveland Clinic’s presence in Wooster, Ohio, where I write for The Daily Record, but because of Wooster Community Hospital, which garners a lot of recognition for the work it does; plus Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital, which I also cover for the newspaper.

Because of the trip and conference, I am unsure of what will happen with this blog over the next few days. It might just sit, or it might be full of good information I learn at the conference.

Which will it be? The only way to find out is to check back regularly. Thanks for reading The Z Section blog.

Oh, and while I have your attention, is there any subject you would like to read more about here? I would appreciate hearing from you.

Follow This Twitter Strategy and Get 250,000 Followers*

In the early days of Twitter, I got a kick out of those who dubbed themselves social media experts and purported to have a strategy to gain followers.

Seth Godin Twitter Strategy

I have come to learn that even though someone says he is a social media expert it does not him one. However, tell me what social media expert, pundit, purveyor or fill in the blank ____________ would embrace a strategy of following absolutely no one; never engaging anyone in any real way; and only tweeting links directing you to his blog?

It wouldn’t work for me. Not today, anyway. Maybe after a decade of building a platform and creating engaging content and attracting followers to the blog and subscribers to my RSS feed and email notifications. By that point, maybe I could do it, but I would have been so engaged with my audience that I would not dream of turning off the spigot.

However, today, the strategy works quite well for Seth Godin. Do what he did, and you should get 250,202 followers, too. Perhaps.

I think what this demonstrates is that there are some pretty broad guidelines that might work for most of the people most of the time, but you might have a better alternative. If you break away from the pack, express yourself in a way that is authentic to you, then perhaps you will become a star on Twitter and have your very own 250,202 followers, or, then again, maybe you won’t.

Seth Godin’s clothes don’t fit you, and your clothes don’t fit him. Don’t try to be the next Seth Godin. We have him already. We need you to be you. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just you. That’s good enough for me.

*This blog sold by weight, not volume. Some settling might have occurred during shipping. If you think you can follow Seth Godin’s path to 250k followers, then give it a try, but results are not typical.

From “Oh, My,” to “Happily Ever After,” a Brief Tale About a Fairy Tale

Soon, and very soon, my wife, Wendi, will have her Christian-themed fairy tale available worldwide through Amazon’s Kindle store. We have been working toward a Valentine’s Day release date. Here is an early version of the cover art:


Wendi originally wrote it in 2008, and after hiring an illustrator to bring some of the scenes to life, she began rewriting her work. Part of it was to incorporate elements of the universal storyline, and part of it was expand on what she wrote.

I think the story conveys a wonderful Christian message about God’s nature, his love, his wisdom and his desire for all of us to come home to be with him.

The fairy tale has all of the elements you would expect: A handsome king and prince, a beautiful princess, a castle, a forest, a wicked man, a desolate village and hope.

I understand people will see my comments as biased, and that is fine, but let me tell you, as I was editing Wendi’s rewrite, my heart was racing toward the end. It is a good read, and it is a quick read.

Now that the illustrations are done, there still needs to be some more editing, some final work on the lettering for the cover, formatting the book for Kindle (which includes making sure the illustrations come out properly and not pixelated) and getting it uploaded to Amazon in the best category and in the Kindle store for sale and distribution.

There is a lot to do between now and Valentine’s Day, but we are hopeful.

There were times when the project hit some snags, but it fell together beautifully.

You might say, Wendi’s project went from “Oh, my, what are we getting ourselves into” to “happily ever after.”

I hope so, because it sure feels like it.

Are You Running at Cross Purposes

The cross is the central figure in Christianity, and I am always on the lookout to find cross-like images in life, like I did on this street in Wooster (see photo below).

At the Cross

When I took the photo (which I processed with PicSay Pro), I immediately thought of the hymn “At the Cross.” Here is the refrain:

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,

And the burden of my heart rolled away,

It was there by faith I received my sight,

And now I am happy all the day!

The cross is a somewhat complicated symbol in which to come to grips. On the one hand, it represents the tragic end of Jesus’ earthly life. On the other hand, it marks the vehicle through which we are saved.

The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18, NIV).

As we journey through this life, we will have to make a decision about the man who hung on that cross. In a sense, we come to a crossroads. One way leads to life, and the other leads to death.

If you do not know the way, let’s talk. You can start by leaving a question or comment when you click here.

Can You See the Link Between ‘The Z Section’ and Seinfeld?

I admit, The Z Section conveys nothing when people hear it. Still, I like it. Am I just being stubborn? Consider this tweet from a friend:

First, I think the Rev. Jim has Bill O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” on his mind when he asks, “but why ‘Z Factor’?” It is actually, The Z Section. But, he asked a question raised more than once.

When launching this blog on Dec. 19, 2012, I talked about the reasons behind the name. For the full story, you can click here, but here it is in a nutshell. I eat, breathe, live and sleep journalism. It is in my veins. I love my job as a reporter at The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio (you can read some of my stories here). Newspapers are generally divided into sections, A, B, C, etc. I just Z to signify it as a “catch all” section.

Herein lies the connection with the popular sitcom “Seinfeld.” Many people characterized the show as being about nothing. In the episode in which George was pitching the show “Jerry,” he said it was about nothing, just like life. When Jerry Seinfeld was asked one time about the show being about nothing, he responded by saying he thought it was a show that could be about anything.

That’s what I want for The Z Section, for it to be a blog that can be about anything. Serious stuff, light stuff, spiritual stuff, goofy stuff, tech stuff, innovative stuff. Just stuff. Any stuff. This stuff.

Winners and Losers at The Z Section

Last week was a very surprising week on The Z Section, and what a treat it was.

Baby Thomas

Mr. Thomas came to us as a rescue cat. He was a sickly little cat, but is strong and healthy more than two years later.

First, I was included in Michael Hyatt’s blog, and he was kind enough to provide a link back to The Z Section. That link generated a lot of traffic here.

The blog had two strong days after the mention, and then my wife’s blog post, “Once Upon a Time: The Story Behind the Story,” was the lead post for the next couple of days and did just as well. Despite her post only being live for two days, it was the most read post on the site for the entire week. Well done.

Here were last week’s most popular blog entries:

1. Once Upon a Time: The Story Behind the Story, my wife’s guest blog, as noted above.
2. The First Amendment, Right On, a new eatery in Wooster, Ohio.
3. What Do You Say, When You Don’t Know What to Say?, my reaction to being included in Hyatt’s blog and podcast.
4. About Bobby Warren, a page about, what else, me. I have been tweaking this. It has changed a couple of times. It remains a work in progress. It is not where it needs to be, but it will be one day.
5. Want to Succeed: Find the Singular Focus of Mr. Thomas, a story about a very driven cat whose only goal every day and every night is to get outside, to get beyond the doors.

As for losers, well the ones that did not get very many hits were older posts. Losers? Nah, not really. Oldies but goodies.

Do you have a favorite that is not listed here? Would love to know your favorite, click here.

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