Friday, July 06, 2007

Moving forward offers chance to look back

Where were you on April 12, 1995?

I couldn't have answered that question until yesterday. Oh sure, I could have told you were I was living and working at the time, but what I was doing on that day? Not a chance. I have trouble remembering what I did last week. But yesterday I got a reminder of just exactly where I was and what I was doing on that date.

I was wearing body armor and a Kevlar helmet and watching the U.S. Army shoot off their big guns in the Mojave Desert.

I got the reminder thanks to a new tool that we will soon be utilizing here at Capital Press. The Capital Press has joined the Associated Press news cooperative and will have access to more AP stories and photographs. We've already started utilizing the story access for updating our website and getting more timely information into our print edition. Today we got the photo service fully operational. And it's that photo service that reminded me of where I was 12 years ago on that April day.

I was playing around with the search tool we will use to access the AP photo database, plugging in different search terms like agriculture and farming and ranching and looking for various types of livestock. That worked pretty well, so I kept playing. The database is also searchable by things like the name of the photographer too. So I did some searches using the names of friends and colleagues I've worked with over the years at various newspapers. I was, once upon a time, even paid to take photographs for newspaper and have had some photos make the AP wires over the years. So I did a search for my own name, not expecting to find anything, but one image did pop up.

The picture was one I took back in my first month as photo editor of a paper called the Daily Press in Victoville, Calif. I went to the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., outside of Barstow in the Mojave Desert. Defense Secretary William J. Perry was Rep. Jerry Lewis flew into the base on Army helicopters to see part of the live fire exercises going on out in the middle of the desert.
I had forgotten all about covering that event. And I had no memory of the photo being picked up by Associated Press. But here, a thousand miles and a dozen years later, seeing that photo brought back vivid memories of the weapons fire, and the helicopters flying in for the dog-and-pony show with the Secretary of Defense, complete with live ammunition.

We will be using Associated Press photos and stories to augment the Capital Press coverage of agriculture news by our staff members and stable of freelance writers around the West. And perhaps, as AP members, some of our stories and photos may get distributed over the AP network to other media outlets on some occasions.

It's a big day for us here at the Capital Press becoming part of the AP network, all with the goal of providing our readers faster and more comprehensive access to agriculture news. A big day in deed. One worth remembering.

Someone should take a picture to remember it by.

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