The first thing I’m drawn to in The Long Haul by Lucian Read is the essay portion rather than the pictures that I have deemed too intense for 10 o’ clock in the morning. He talks about his son, not yet born, and his morning breakfast habits of fresh pomegranate juice and weak tea while he is away. I love this view from the inside of Afghanistan from an evident outsider. He is armed with camera as the others around him are incessantly ready to aim and fire bullets.

Looking at the three pictures available in The Long Haul Gallery, I don’t get as transparent a picture as the one he provides of Kabul in his introductory essay. Of the three pictures, I only connect with this one.  Probably because the man baring a nameplate of “Stafford” on his camouflage uniform is staring right into the camera. I would have loved to see pictures of pomegranate plants, or pictures of the people of Afghanistan sweating or shriveling because of the extreme change of temperatures Read has described previously in his essay.

Another Digital Journalist feature called Sides of the Wire: America in Afghanistan by David Bathgate features more personal documents of life in Kabul.

The photo of the completely covered Shiite Muslim woman, turned away from the camera is the one I connect with the most. It might be the ghastly green color of the doors she is trying to feel her way back in through. These photos capture the little details that convey important things about life in Afghanistan. In this picture I noticed the little photos he has glued to the little step stool or seat the baker has next to him. As you can see, the photo is very grainy even though it’s apparently very bright when Bathgate took this photo. I wonder how come. Maybe it was a lack of access to high-quality photo equipment that was easy to lug around.

Dslrnewsshooter.com offers another look into the Afghanistan War with photos taken by PBS Frontline photojournalist Danfung Dennis. This feature offered a limited behind-the-scenes look at how Dennis has managed to capture the story of the U.S. Marines on a mission against the Taliban.

The photojournalist who is sent to this war ridden plane is the most objective eye to capture what’s going on. I feel photojournalists are more looking for artful or emotional scenes rather than hard news. Reading an interview with Dennis linked on the DSLR feature, it seems as though he has only a rough idea of why he is there.

“I didn’t personally see any Taliban. The Marines say it is very much like fighting a ghost. They’re very difficult to see, and even if they did actually kill or injure one of the Taliban, there were never any bodies.”
–Danfung Dennis

The Long Haul [The Digital Journalist]
Sides of War [The Digital Journalist]
How I Cover the Afghanistan War with the 5dmkII [DSLR News Shooter]

From the West Coast to the East Coast, new and old employees are struggling to find and keep jobs in troubled economic times. The unemployment rate has remained unwavering over the heads of Americans who watch it like a heavy boulder ready to fall. In the time after October 2009’s unemployment rate hit the double digits at 10.10 percent, there has only been a slight improvement in numbers. The current statistic at 9.7 percent accounts for 14.9 million people without work, which has remained unchanged from January 2010. The number has been a sort of litmus test that people have dip to test the waters of the U.S. job market. It has historically coincided with the gross domestic product as well as the overall economic growth of the nation.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2010 9.70 9.70
2009 7.70 8.20 8.60 8.90 9.40 9.50 9.40 9.70 9.80 10.10 10.00 10.00
2008 5.00 4.80 5.10 5.00 5.40 5.50 5.80 6.10 6.20 6.60 6.90 7.40
2007 4.60 4.50 4.40 4.50 4.40 4.60 4.60 4.60 4.70 4.70 4.70 5.00
Source: http://www.tradingeconomics.com[with statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics]

This year’s graduating class of colleges and universities across the nation will be the second group to tackle the job market on the offensive since 2008 when the consequences of risky deals and surge of subprime mortgages on Wall Street came to fruition. In order, like a stack of falling dominoes, the plunge of the hedge funds of Bear Sterns caused its Wall Street lenders such as Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs to tumble with the effects of lost assets. This was the first stack to fall. Then came the bank failures with IndyMac leading the way for the U.S. government to swoop down to save mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, American International Group (A.I.G.), and approve of mergers of banking giants.

That was only the beginning. In October 2008, the stock market crumbled, dropping 40.3 percent, becoming the worst week for the stock market over 75 years. When stock markets suffer, the national employment rate is in the same boat. As companies and employers lose money in investment, downsizing is necessary, costing people jobs.

The stock market and financial situation has begun to heal, according to financial analysts–including Chicago Tribune’s Gail MarksJarvis. The columnist cites Standard & Poor’s 500 index–gauges the U.S. equities market with reports from 500 of the country’s leading companies–at a current rise. As of March 15, the index is at a healthy 1,150.51. Look at the five-year span of performance and the huge dip in 2008: <http://money.cnn.com/data/markets/sandp/

-This is the starting lay out of my story on the current job market

London Bound

March 6, 2010

London bound
London bound by perspectiveblog featuring Lulu Guinness bags

Items in this set:
PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND, 2.230 EUR
Christopher kane dresses, 1,500 GBP
Check sleeveless dress, $105
Burberry Tumbled leather brogues, $375
BEATRIX ONG BRANDY NUDE/CHAMPAGNE/GOLD LEATHER –, 225 GBP

featuring prim pieces from Brit designers.

BFF: Fashion Meets Film

March 4, 2010

The Harvest. Film trailer. from LOVER® on Vimeo.

Links:

Y-3 short film for SS10 Campaign: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/fashionnews/4944611/Y-3-releases-short-film-for-its-new-springsummer-campaign.html

Behind the scenes at Dree Hemingway V Magazine Shoot: http://vmagazine.com/blog.php?n=14101

-interviews with students went well
-have a couple more lined up
-tried getting interviews who represented many diverse majors
-i plan on speaking with professors and career service professionals at ub about the job market as well
-have interviews with a couple ub alumni lined up

Gold Rush

March 3, 2010

Gold Rush
Gold Rush by perspectiveblog featuring 3.1 Phillip Lim

Items in this set:
Sunrise lamé dress, $1,495
Wiviana sequined mini dress, $610
John Rocha Gold Dress, 420 GBP
Cropped silk sequined top, $625
Silk sequined shorts, $595

Interviewing

February 28, 2010

“Everything you do while in the collection situation signals the informants: the expressions on your face, the questions you ask, the attention you pay to your recording machine. You’re constantly curing them about what mater to you and what doesn’t.”

The author of the chapter “Interviewing” in Bruce Jackson’s Fieldwork started off with an example of a bad interview–where a student emails his brother to ask their police detective father questions for a class project. Though it’s a bad example, because it’s blatantly bad, it gets the point across.

DON’T DOS FOR INTERVIEWS:
1. You should always be prepared with the right amount of background information.. so you don’t ask questions in a set amount of time you are interviewing your person.
2. Don’t let someone else ask the questions for you.
3. Shouldn’t be a stagnant Q&A–allow conversation to flow freely, so people can.

Bruce Jackson in the chapter “Fieldwork,” suggests that the interviewer should:
1. Act natural to allow for the best kind of interview: informative and casual. Allow what linguists calls “code-switching” …adaption of vocabulary and postures deemed appropriate for the setting of the interview.

2. The interviewer should work to speak less.

“So your problem is to keep information flowing as freely as possible, to remain deeply eough involved in the discussion to let your informants inform you, but distant enough so they’ll deliver more than what you came there thinking you’d find.”

3. Bring a recorder.. or not.

“Lean back and forget it. Have a good time. Tell yourself to remember as much as you can and be sure to make notes later.”

I have conducted many interviews with people who wanted to be interviewed and people who don’t–having a recorder eases my mind and my nerves because then I can focus on taking notes about the setting… take note of what the person is wearing or what his mannerisms now. I like working these small details that make up typical magazine features into current news stories.

And I believe recorders ensure accuracy and gives you back up when you needed–one people I interviewed regarding the incidence of sexual assault on campus said I quoted her wrong.. and with the recorder I was able to double check, and play back the exact portion of the interview that was disputed.

The recorder, I feel, is the most important tool in interviewing, transcribing and writing.

4. Keep your interest.

I greatly agree with this sentiment because nothing will guarantee the person will want to end the interviewer or stop disclosing information if you seem bored. During the interview, I take notes and nod fairly often to indicate I am listening. I also put stars next to things that I want them to divulge in later and tweak my questions according to what they are most interested in talking about.

TIPS I WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE ABOUT TO CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW:

1. Smile & be friendly. The more personable you are, the easier it will be for them to open up to you.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things that might seem simple… better to get it right in the article than but ask at all.
3. Plan out tentative questions that you want to ask, but don’t stick with it. Definitely go with the flow of conversation. Ask about things that are relevant to what the person is naturally talking about.
4. Keep in touch with your contacts… you never know when you’ll need to talk to them again. Always be courteous and say thank you no matter what.
5. It is natural to be nervous to question someone about something they might not want to talk about. But if you’re well-prepared and fully armed with facts, nerves will be eased.

Weekend Comfort

February 26, 2010

Weekend Comfort
Weekend Comfort by perspectiveblog featuring Calvin Klein tops

Items in this set:
Calvin Klein Shiny wool-blend cardigan, $1,095
Alexander McQueen Marilyn cotton skull T-shirt, $160
A.P.C. Checked cotton shirt, $140
Scoop Neck Tee, $115
HYPE MEANS NOTHING, 75 EUR

The Morning’s Health Summit

February 25, 2010

President Barack Obama’s foremost task this morning was to be the host of a little friendly get together to discuss the future of national health care. Republicans, democrats, doctors, and staff gathered to discuss American health care from all sides of the issue. The president has been pushing legislation that will put aside $634 billion for a health-care reserve fund since he was elected into presidency. If the legislation is not passed, the Council of Economic Advisors predicts by 2019, 54 million Americans will be uninsured if our nation’s health care is not reformed. Obama calls attention to backward standards we hold doctors to that calls for quantity rather than quality–too many times state and local money has been put aside for health care with no avail.

The official White House Web site reports that we currently spend more than $2 trillion a year on health care and would need to invest an additional $100 billion a year to support those who are struggling to afford health care. According to the U.S. government, burden of medical bills forces families into bankruptcy, businesses to failure, which in turn harms our country’s infrastructure. The new plan would not harm our currently national deficit, but rather secure it. “Health insurance reform would be fully paid for over 10 years, and it would not add one penny to the deficit,” the WH Web site states.

What are people saying?

Fox News reports that the conversation was very heated concerning the expected costs of the proposed plan. During the meeting, republicans had the chance to “tell the president to his face that he should start from scratch” even when republicans only had 24 minutes to talk, compared to the 56 minutes democrats got to speak.

The news source stuck in a statistic amidst reports from the summit that states health care is no longer the top priority of most Americans: “Forty-six percent of Americans say creating jobs should be the government’s top priority, according to a Zogby International-University of Texas Science Center poll. Only 18 percent said health care reform was the top issue on their list.”

Republicans want to focus on:
1. funding high-risk insurance pools those who have been denied health care because of existing medical issues
2. expand health savings accounts
3. allowing people to get out-of-state coverage, if cheaper
4. capping malpractice judgments to reduce the practice of defensive medicine
5. helping small businesses afford coverage
6. supporting states in trying to control costs

Democrats want to focus on:
1. helping people who are struggling with costs of health care coverage
2. commit federal dollars to provide coverage for all

CNN reports that the six-hour summit was crammed with a lot of back and forth remarks from both parties. Yet both parties agree that “costs have to be contained.”

Republicans suggest:
1. The government should be able by way of disease prevention and management and cutting down on fraud
2. Simplifying all paperwork that comes with each patient = will save time, money, discrepancies in the end
3. Senator McCain said the way democrats have been proposing legislation has been “produced behind closed doors … with unsavory deals.”
4. Wants the bill–27,000 pages–to be thrown away. Restart proposal.

Democrats believe:
1. They have done too much to start over
2. Restrictions on people with Medicare will help situation

NEW IMPROVEMENTS… PDF download, here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/summary-presidents-proposal.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions about Health Insurance Reform [The White House]
Dems, GOP Clash Over Controlling Rising Health Care Costs [Fox News]
Obama calls for overhaul of U.S. health care system [CNN]
Spirited debate unfolds at health care summit [CNN]

Behemoth

February 24, 2010

Thick & High
Thick & High by perspectiveblog featuring Acne shoes

Items in this set:
GIVENCHY – PRINT CAMOUFLAGE JERSEY WEDGES, 1.250 EUR
RICK OWENS – WEDGE SANDALS, 1.005 EUR
Wedge Women, $335
Givenchy Leather platform wedge with studs, 780 GBP
Leopard Wedge, $495