"Welcome to Historic Gettysburg," read a signboard as we entered the city in July 10 on a hot and humid afternoon.
The three-hour drive from Pittsburgh to Gettysburg was a fun. Samuel Siringi at The Kansas City Star had come all the way from Kansas City to participate in the Keystone Multimedia Workshop. Melissa Tkach, a multimedia journalist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was kind enough to drive us to the historic city, which was a battleground during the civil war (1861-65).
The workshop, organized by Pennsylvania Newspapers Association, coincided with the biker's week (July 10-13). I come from a city (Kathmandu) where motorbikes outnumber the cars. So, it was great to see several Harley Davidson bikes (not many of them in Nepal, though) swarming Gettysburg with loud sound, stars and stripes fluttering on the bike. Most of the bikers and their lady partners had tattoos, and covered their heads with bandanas.
Somehow the sound of the bikes reverberated to the workshop we were going to attend. It was also about sound and Will Yurman, a photographer with Rochester Democrat and Chronicle aptly showed how sound is important for multimedia journalism. He has been doing sound slides for the New York newspaper. His series on homicide is superb.
After we checked into Country Inn hotel, we were asked to go out and find a story (a challenge indeed). Cosmas Nakuta, a Nigerian American, drove us around the city that eased our difficulty for transport. Sam and I were both worried about the food. I longed for homely food. But at nearby Friday's, we found food that we liked - it was a mix of macroni and chicken sausage. The restaurant's waitress, Chelsea turned out to be pretty good at serving difficult customers like ourselves.
What I learned from the workshop? A lot, I would say. I learned how to edit videos (though, I have yet to master it), had some idea about sound slides. I also learned that with a help of a little knowledge, you can produce wonderful interactive (Seth Gitner of Roanoke Times displayed that skill). There was, however, some confusion on the trainers' part as there were pros and college students and print guys like Sam and I all given the same kind of training. The organizers failed to provide one on one guidance and the presentations at times were boring, the presenter talking about what he did than teaching.
Overall, it was good and apart from the multimedia, it provided a window into the American civil war.