Looking back at 2015

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*this post was written in January, but an error while upgrading WordPress corrupted my blog. after much trial and error, I was finally able to resurrect the blog and hope to keep it going now thats its back.

I returned to The News Journal at the beginning of 2015, after a brief hiatus while working as a multimedia specialist at Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, New Jersey. In my five years at The News Journal, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised with the passion with which our executive editor pursues stories that matter, and 2015 was no different.

In April, a 7.8M earthquake struck Nepal 50 miles northwest of the capital Kathmandu. Two weeks later, myself and a reporter were on a plane headed to Kathmandu with a group of doctors and nurses to help assist with medical aid efforts.

Workers salvage a desk from a collapsed building in Kathmandu, Nepal Monday, May 11, 2015.

The year also saw the vice president’s son, Beau Biden, die of cancer, the Pope visit Philadelphia, local football player turned cancer advocate Devon Still and his daughter Leah use their story to inspire people across the country and the usual assortment of local flavor, high school sports and quick and dirty portraits.

The Biden family arrive for the funeral service for Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington Saturday.

Priests travel down the parkway to give communion to the faithful lining the streets to witness Pope Francis' mass Sunday.

Year two at The News Journal

It feels like only yesterday that I was writing about my first year here at The News Journal. My second year here has definitely been a year of change. Our website switched to a metered paywall model, we lost two photographers to buyouts/retirement (and are soon to have a third out for an extended period do to medical leave) and, whereas I was adjusting to shooting video in my first year, my second year had me shooting stills on a regular basis along with my usual video work.

Anything Once: Delaware Mud Run from Daniel Sato on Vimeo.

I had the fortune to work on a number of projects, including ones on climate change, prescription drug abuse and repeat offenders, and earned my second Best in Show award from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association, this time for a series with Mike Chalmers and Esteban Parra on crime in Wilmington, Del. I also learned how to play with some new tools, the iPhone and the GoPro.

Outside of work, I made it a point to learn more about building custom WordPress themes, and have created two photo themes to date.

No doubt, a redesign of this blog is next on tap.

iPhones almost a reality

Rumor on the street is, early next week reporters, photographers and videographers will all be giving the much talked about iPhone 4S. A few weeks ago, the photographers had a staff meeting to discuss the impending changes. I was unable to attend, but this is how I imagine it went for some …

It is interesting who jumps on board with the latest gadget and who remains skeptical. Some staffers that you would never expect to be on board couldn’t be happier, while others who seemingly pride themselves on how hard they work want nothing to do with it. Hopefully, they will all find some use for it, be it for video, as a scanner, or even if it is just as a mobile hotspot.

Managing your online identity

One of the things I have learned since I began this blog in 2005 is the importance of maintaining and managing my online identity. It is easy enough to throw up a landing page with a few jquery galleries and a contact section and call it a day. The problem is, stopping there means not knowing what others are saying about you and, more importantly, who might be pretending to be you.

Granted, this all sounds silly and somewhat vain. I mean, who can’t take some criticism? But I am talking about more serious issues. Back in 2006, after I came back from a trip to Nepal, a thread was started on the Lightstalkers forums that insinuated that a friend and I were abusing children during our stay in the country. Worse yet, some people on the forum were willing to believe these posts. It was not until my friend responded to these allegations with detailed accounts of our travels in Nepal, as well as links to our ongoing struggles with the person we believed responsible for the thread, that it was put to rest. Around the same time, a few blogs popped up featuring my image that spoke highly of the same person who created the false forum posts.

The problem is that with the anonymity that the Web provides, it is easy for one man to pose as many, creating false profiles and then providing those profiles with affirmation through comments and replies from other false profiles.

Four years, one fake Facebook page and a few fake blogs later, and I stumble across this gem:

Finding an old post about my time in Nepal as well as a profile picture and my Chips Quinn photo was easy enough, but why would he create the page using a post in which I did not speak highly of his Nepali program? He also changed any reference to my friend Rene and calls her my girlfriend.

To discredit me of course! Who is going to believe the word of a man who is now shooting adult movies and documentaries with my now (fake) girlfriend Rene Edde (the link goes to a porn site)? I literally laughed at loud at this point.

And of course, the icing on the cake, the post label:

Label: My girlfriend Rene Edde. Because who doesn’t categorize their posts based on their fake girlfriends?