Photo credit: Eliot Hess. Our condo view is becoming a watchtower for the Miami Herald. Eliot captured a fire consuming a local church..
I’m not sure how this story is going to end but the journey is so digital, I just had to tell it. I decided that today was going to be a productive one, so I started working at 7am. It’s now 11:55pm and I’m still at it. Of course, I took a few breaks. One for a swim, another to wish Phyllis Blagman, a childhood friend, a happy birthday. We talked for a hour.
Photo credit: Eliot Hess. Look close. A rare moment for me.
Even though I worked intensely on several projects today, I promised myself I would email Eliot’s photo of the cloud that I wrote about yesterday and email it to several editors at the Miami Herald to see if they would publish it. I asked David Nieves at HWH PR to research some Miami Herald contacts. He gave me six names and I emailed the cloud photo to each of them.
I’m not a liberty to mention his name, but one of the top photo editors immediately responded, “That’s quite a spectacular cloud formation. I’ve seen such over the ocean, but not with a land horizon. When was the photo taken, and at what time? “
I promptly answered his questions and his response was, “We plan to use it inside the local section. Is it ok with you if I also offer the photo to our sister Spanish-language paper, El Nuevo Herald? We will credit Eliot Hess, as your requested.”
His next email said, “Hi, again. We could try to run this photo inside our Local section tmrw. It would’ve had a shot at the cover of that section, in color, had it not been from yesterday.I cannot pay you for this photo, but will credit: Eliot Hess.”
The lesson learned was that I waited too many hours before emailing the photo. It was considered immediate news. There is a slight chance it will make in tomorrow’s edition. I will report back.
The story doesn’t end there. Twenty-four hours after the cloud shot, Eliot looks out our windows again and spots a fire in the same location. This time we don’t waste a minute. We immediately email the photo (above) of the fire to the same editor.
Five minutes later he writes back, “Busy times from your balcony. The fire is consuming a church near Midtown, I’m told. We have a freelance photographer on scene… all I’ve got right now.”
Last email from Miami Herald editor, “Anyway, I would like to add Eliot’s photo to a gallery we are preparing on the fire for online. But, as before, this would have to be for credit only… OK with you’all? ”
I was busy talking to Phyllis so it was over an hour before I answered him.
Summary: I got caught snoozing, I should have known better. The digital world never sleeps. You have to be precise and current. Otherwise, you snooze you loose. I hope I didn’t lose.
Several hours later. It’s now 2:11am, May 31. I just found the fire story in the Herald. Very different from what the editor first thought. A person actually died. Eliot’s photo was used in the gallery next to the story. One of nine photos. Click here You’ll see it. He has a photo credit. Good night. May everyone be safe and sound.