Blogs > Ivan Lajara

Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We IRL

Half of the Half Moon replica, docked in Kingston last year. 

I am responsible for assigning a number of stories for the Freeman, and some of them involve places and events that I end up knowing with great detail. The odd thing is that even though I've become familiar with many of these places and events, I haven't personally attended or visited a bunch.
I'm trying to remedy that.

That's me, in a nutshell.
What are you?
Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Journey to the thoughts and feels

The Bevier House Museum, home of the Ulster County Historical Society, on Route 209 in Accord. I see it all the time, but I've never been inside.
Exercise: Find a simple thing you see or do frequently — like driving past a place or getting a cup of coffee or listening to a song on a loop — and next time you do it, think about the activity or place for a minute, but consciously. Does it make you feel anything? Can it be meaningful?
Why is this thing a thing I do or don't do?

You could also ask yourself why in the world would you do anything a blog asks you to do.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 27, 2015

Destroy the web

The New York Times building in New York.

The takes about Facebook's evolving relationship with news organizations continue at a good clip. I'm pretty sure there are many publishers freaking out about what this all means, because the future is uncertain, once again. And this won't be solved before the future becomes uncertain again.
That is the nature of the web.
Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's all a game

A Ms. Pac-Man arcade at the bus station in Kingston (It also has Galaga)
Let's play.

Read more »

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nothing you can do about this

Route 209 in Kerhonkson.
There is a chimney on the side of Route 209 in Kerhonkson, right before you get to the light if you're coming from Kingston. It's covered with green leaves in the summer, orange ones in the fall and snow in the winter. It's also littered with political signs during election season.

But it alone demands and commands attention, as if it were saying, "I am here, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 23, 2015

This will end in tears


The Hudson River as seen from Falling Waters Preserve in Saugerties. 
There was a winter festival held at Kingston High School over the weekend. There were plenty of happy kids and probably more than one parent getting a pulsing headache from the loud music.
By the time we left, there were faces painted, too much candy and a petrified goldfish in a bag, the latter surely the product of machiavellian machinations from kids aiming to cunningly troll adults.

The fish is still alive, obliviously swimming in a new and decent-size covered home. But trouble is lurking, an undeniable fact accentuated by one orange cat, which hasn't discovered the fish, yet.

In the meantime, everything is as calm and peaceful as a walk along the Hudson, where lurking woes seem to dissipate and wash away in the distance.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lingering ghosts of unanswered questions

The Doll House on Route 28 in the town Kingston. 
The Doll House is a place located where the Hudson Valley is about to meet the Catskills, on Route 28, just outside the city of Kingston.
When seen, and it's impossible not to see it, it fills one with questions about its purpose and history. We did a story about it a while ago trying to get to the bottom of that. Abandoned Hudson Valley also went inside a year ago.
It's still there, worn and sitting still, without a reason to be, a landmark of a peculiar time, in a corner of long-forgotten memories, and perhaps one or two broken dreams.

Or perhaps not. That's what happens when you see things and don't know what to do about them.
Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stop depress

The old Freeman press, unused, in 2014. It's no longer there. 
There used to be an imposing press by one side of the Freeman building, even though we haven't printed here since 2010. By the end of January —  this year —  it was finally gone, no longer a reminder of things that were.
But I still remember stopping the presses a number of times over the years, for different reasons (usually big typos or bad folios, or the very occasional big change in a story). I also remember that the myth of the editor running into the press courageously screaming "STOP THE PRESSES!" was not how things usually worked. It was too loud and nobody could hear you. You had to wave your arms like a maniac, mostly, and all you got when you did get it to stop was justified death stares from the pressmen, who were otherwise very cool guys (and yes, all guys).

I love having those memories. But I don't get depressed about not having the press. I'm not that attached to the equipment, or even the new devices. I took that photo with Google Glass, which was new tech. Now the version of Glass that I have is old tech. What's important is what we do with them, and when they go — analog or digital — we will miss them if they were used for good, while we keep aiming to do good work with the newer tools.

Anyway, that's what I tell myself when my computer crashes.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

We have no empathy

Kingston tillman Mark Carpino drives down Broadway in Kingston while wearing Google Glass last year. 

About a year ago, we gave the Freeman's Google Glass device (the one I goofily wear often) to a Kingston firefighter, to wear while at work for a day. The idea was to see what he saw. We had previously done that with a police officer and thought it was an interesting approach to story. It's often a good idea to try to see things from other people's perspective. Empathy, I've heard it's called.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

DFM chat: Do metrics guide your decisions? How?

Journalists, members of Digital First Media and pretty much everyone else who wants to - are going to be taking part on the weekly Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time.

Today we are revisiting metrics (meta factoid: metrics show it's a popular topic). How do you measure a good user experience? What are the trappings of not using metrics properly? How do you avoid the race for pageviews?
The feed is posted below. You can also check out past chats over here.

If you want to chime in, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.
Read more »

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Because everything is weird

The People's Republic of Rosendale, March 2014
I lived in Rosendale for a little while some years ago, around the time when there was no street festival and people had "People Republic's of Rosendale" bumper stickers and when the film "Personal Velocity," which was partially filmed there, screened at the Rosendale Theater and we went all there to see it and applauded when a known locale appeared on the screen.

Rosendale is a weird place.

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 16, 2015

Let's freak out about madness

The Ashokan Reservoir last year. NO TRESPASSING!
I'm looking at my Google Glass photos from last year, and this is around the time where they start picking up in volume, as the weather gets warmer and the walks become pleasurable and there's more to do. And I'm getting nostalgic about what's yet to happen. And it's a good place to be.

But not online. Online, everything is madness. SO:

Read more »

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 13, 2015

When things go down

Broadway in Downtown Kingston.
When you go down Broadway in Downtown Kingston and it's quiet, you can sometimes feel the vibe from the events that happen there, which makes that part of town special, like the Hooley on the Hudson, or the Artists Soapbox Derby. It's a particularly unusual sensation, because as you go down, things start to get better.
Or maybe you're just getting sick?

Anyway, not everything works like this.
Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 12, 2015

No surprises, please

The Rondout
This post reads better if you're listening to this.

The snow is melting, which is a beautiful sign of things to come, and that could be the upcoming St. Patrick's Parade in the city of Kingston or toads breeding at Black Creek Preserve or people wearing shorts when it's still a bit too cold outside or all the horrible things that were under the snow. 

Life is full of surprises.
Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Short and bitter

Gov. George Clinton with the historic Governor Clinton  Hotel on background. To the statue's right is another statue, of one Henry Hudson, who couldn't find India and ended up a river good jorb Henry good jorb.

It was pretty foggy this morning, but then it cleared up. Likewise, work sometimes starts messy but then it starts making more sense as the hours go by.
Today was not one of those days. So I'll keep it short.
Read more »

Labels: , ,

DFM chat on strategies for emerging social networks and rising platforms

I don't know how to Snapchat
Journalists, members of Digital First Media and pretty much everyone else who wants to - are going to be taking part on the weekly Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time.

Today we are talking strategies for new and emerging social networks and publishing to other platforms. Should newsrooms have strategies for Snapchat, Vine, Meerkat? What should be the goals for Tumblr? Or Pinterest? Or Instagram? Should small newsrooms even bother?
The feed is posted below. You can also check out past chats over here.

If you want to chime in, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.
Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It's OK to turn the phone off

A Kingston worker installing a flag on a pole on Broadway.
Today I saw a Kingston worker slowly ascending and descending into the right position to place a flag on a pole. I had never thought about how it was done, and my appreciation for the little things improved a little. There are things happening, and we don't notice when we are on our phones.
Let's notice.

Like, for instance, 'donkeyball' is a thing that happens in the Catskills and, yes, people have noticed.

Read more »

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, March 9, 2015

This thing

Uncle Willy doing his thing at last year's St. Patrick's Parade in Kingston.
Uncle Willy's (the place) will be having a party to mark the debut of Travel Channel's Hotel Amazon, a series where two Kingston residents build a lodge in the Peruvian jungle, which is crazy stuff if you ask me. But what do I know? I'm just a native of Peru.
Uncle Willy (the man) will surely return to this Sunday's Shamrock Run and St. Patrick's Parade in Kingston. It's a thing he does at these things.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sprint into spring

Tulips painted on the snow at the corner of Albany Ave and Col. Chandler Drive in Kingston.
There are some tulips painted on the hardened snow near where the city of Kingston plants tulips during spring. They are waiting to melt down, to make room for the real ones. And as we spring forward and try to find ways to make spring happen, it will come when it's ready, because we can't really force these things. And that's fine.

Read more »

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I'm changing this headline to see if you click on it

The Mid-Hudson Medical Group building on U.S. Route 9W in the town of Ulster, as seen from the Adams Fairacre Farms Parking lot. 

If you haven't been in town for a while, the Mid-Hudson Medical Group building on Route 9W in Lake Katrine will not look familiar to you. It just opened in July. I remember that date because right after it opened, a man was arrested for recording pictures and video with a camera-equipped drone near the place. That is the kind of sentence you don't think you would ever write. But what do I know? I just took that opening photo with a computer-ish semi-augmented reality glass device that was hanging from my face.
The future is now, but the drone case is still pending. 

That story went viral and was even picked up the Daily Mail, and the British tabloid wasted no effort into making the Lake Katrine man look like the creepiest creep that's ever creeped.
But do you know what's really creepy? The Daily Mail, as revealed in this exposé that surprised no one, because we're talking about the Daily Mail, c'mon now.
Read more »

Labels: , , , ,