Celebrating one year of ‘Billie with an I.E.’

"'Billie with an I.E.' was created on May 18, 2010, exactly one year ago today."

I’m proud to announce that today marks the one year anniversary of the creation of my multimedia blog, ‘Billie with an I.E!’

This blog is a product of my multimedia internship with The Baltimore Sun last summer. The first assignment to all interns like myself was to create a blog and maintain it throughout our time there.

Once I started, I couldn’t stop, and when my internship ended I was certain that I’d use the blog to build on what I had done at The Sun. I have no shame in admitting that this blog has become somewhat of an addiction. It’s become a part of me, and I treat it as work rather than a hobby. 

I originally intended to use ‘Billie with an I.E.’ as a means of reflecting upon my own work so that it improves every day, and I can say that that objective has remained well intact. The photographs, videos, slideshows, podcasts, and articles that I produce have improved substantially because of this blog. Writing about the work that I post has served as an enjoyable form of self-criticism for me. Posting regularly has become a device for displaying the successes in my day-to-day work, as well as for pointing out the improvements that could be made. 

I also love the sense of permanence that blogs carry. They provide the precious ability to instantly find work from long ago and see it with fresh eyes. It’s only been one year, so I still vividly remember most of the work I’ve posted, but I’m seduced by the prospect of looking back on those works five, fifteen, maybe fifty years from now and reading about how I viewed the world this year. 

Finally, as I graduate college and begin to enter the job market, it’s been a valuable tool in marketing myself and my work, and I truly believe the skills maintaining this blog has given me puts me at an advantage over other similar candidates.

This year, I published 120 posts, and by the end of today, ‘Billie with an I.E.’ will have reached 10,000 page views overall!

Thank you to both my regular readers as well as the occasional passers-by. I hope that a photograph here has brightened your day, or that a video taught you something you didn’t know, or that a post has sparked conversation.

If that’s happened at least once, I’m happy. 

Here’s to another year!

Strategic default: Man walks away from his Baltimore rowhouse and the mortgage, joining the ranks of “strategic defaulters” – Baltimore Sun Video

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Although I didn’t shoot footage for this video myself, this was my last assignment a Multimedia Intern for The Baltimore Sun. I spent several days editing this footage from reporter Jamie SmithHopkins, who wrote about Wallace Farmer’s unique story. It can be read here in its entirety.

This was the most difficult yet most rewarding editing job I had during my time there. I’m proud of myself for making sense of over two hours of interview footage and condensing it down to a fluid short story.

Though I didn’t realize it then, I think the reason I’m so satisfied with this video is because, at the time I was working on it, I could relate to Mr. Farmer in a strange way: both of us were men walking away from something we loved. For him, it was a home that he hoped to spend many more years in.

For me, it was another incredible learning experience.

Under the guidance and expertise of the Multimedia department, I worked on numerous projects and had various responsibilities throughout the summer. Primarily, I shot, edited, and produced video and photographs for breaking stories in the news, features, sports, and arts sections of the newspaper. I conducted interviews and created and pitched story ideas to editors and reporters. Additionally, I updated the newspaper’s website with photos, videos, and multimedia slideshows.

I never felt like an intern. From day one, I was given significant responsibilities and assigned to cover newsworthy stories. I was included in news meetings and was always encouraged to contribute my thoughts.

I’m confident that the multimedia skills I learned will benefit me as I pursue a career in journalism. I was lucky to work alongside some of the best journalists in the business, and I’m thankful for all that I learned from them.

Most importantly, I thank my Mom and Dad, family, and friends. Without their love, support, and guidance, none of this would have been possible.

Thank you to Professor David Zurawik for helping me secure this internship, and for his inspirational teaching and unyielding encouragement and motivation.

Thank you to Mary Corey and Sam Davis for ensuring that I had an enjoyable and productive internship experience.

Thank you to the my Editor, Steve Sullivan, and the Multimedia Department, Chris Assaf, Kevin Richardson, and Leeann Adams, for showing me the ropes, breaking me in, giving me feedback and criticism, and involving me in their daily routines.

Thank you to my fellow interns Kirby Mills, Kate Klots, Gabby Siskind, Colin Stevens, and Kate Smith, whom I had the pleasure of getting to know, reporting with, and learning from.

And to everyone else who helped me along the way!

Vendors sell sports memorabilia at National Convention — Baltimore Sun Video

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“Failure liberates you; it liberates you from the fear of failure; it liberates you from the delusion you can somehow be flawless.”

-Samuel G. Freedman from “Letters to a Young Journalist.”


I’ve learned by now that having a bad shooting day every now and then is inevitable. It’s part of the daily grind. Yesterday was one of those days for me.

I’ve found that on my better days, I don’t have to make a conscious effort to search for an interesting angle. It surfaces on its own. Yesterday, it felt forced. Nothing stood out or caught my eye, and I was thinking too much and not doing enough.

I’m reminded of the mental aspect of tennis, something I’ve learned a lot about over the past few years. When your game is on, you aren’t thinking at all, and the mistakes you make escape your mind immediately. When you aren’t playing well, all you can think about is what you’re doing wrong.

I think that same frame of mind can be applied to photojournalism. Luckily, this is a profession in which you prove yourself anew every day.

Thanks to Chris Assaf for his editing wisdom.

Ravens’ Harbaugh on Gaither, Heap, McClain — Baltimore Sun Video

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Here is some footage I edited from a press conference at Ravens Training Camp on Monday. Head Coach John Harbaugh addressed concerns about several players who have already been plagued by injuries this year.

This is one in a series of many posts and updates leading up to the regular season. I’ll post my reflections on covering the Baltimore Ravens as the end of training camp approaches.

Ravens’ Gaither: ‘I would never be disgruntled and try to cause any problems…’ — Baltimore Sun Video

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Baltimore Ravens’ offensive tackle, Jared Gaither, discussed his role on the team today after early morning practice.

Hours later, during the afternoon practice, he was carted off the field with a back injury. We’re lucky to have gotten some sound bites from him before that happened.

We had to lighten this video a bit during the editing process. Whenever possible, I need to be sure to set up our interviews so that they aren’t backlit. This is something to keep in mind for the rest of training camp!

Ravens Fabian Washington discusses injury, Twitter updates — Baltimore Sun Video

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The Baltimore Sun’s Ed Lee had a chance to catch up with Baltimore Ravens cornerback, Fabian Washington, today at training camp at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.

Washington, who tore a ligament in his knee last November, began training camp this year on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He discussed his rehab process.

He also commented on two of his latest Twitter updates. He explained the terms “going HAM” and “Rick Flair mode,” which he used in several of his recent tweets.

It’s fascinating to me that these small updates tweeted by notable figures are so often used as legitimate sources of information for journalists.

So, on that note, follow me @bjweiss22 on Twitter or keep checking back into this blog for video updates throughout Ravens training camp!

Police investigate Charles Village stabbing — Baltimore Sun Video

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23-year-old Stephen Pitcairn, a Johns Hopkins research technician, was stabbed to death on the 2600 block of St. Paul Street in Charles Village last night. Read the full story here.

Baltimore Police Spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, spoke about the murder today at a press conference. Here is the video I edited from Jed Kirschbaum’s original footage.

Senator shuts doors, screens “Star Wars” — Baltimore Sun Video

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Hit hard by worsening debts and competition from state of the art, multi-screen movie complexes, Baltimore’s historic Senator Theatre has been in foreclosure for the past year. Today, former owner, Tom Kiefaber, whose family has operated the theatre for 71 years, ended his time at the helm with two free public screenings of “Star Wars: A New Hope.”

Management of the iconic building is now in the hands of James “Buzz” Cusack, operator of another Baltimore cinema landmark, the Charles Theatre.

I’ll always remember watching “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” at the Senator Theatre in 2002. It is a sanctuary where great filmmaking has been displayed to Baltimore since the “Golden Age of Cinema.” Eight years later, through studying film theory in school and learning to tell stories through video this summer, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for that same great filmmaking that has brought so many through the Senator’s doors.

“Magnificent,” replied Thomas Atkinson, dressed in full Jedi Master attire and wielding a lightsaber, when I asked him to use one word to describe the experience of watching a film in the Senator.

When the lights dimmed and the epic “Star Wars” theme song reverberated through the theatre, I knew exactly what he meant.

Artscape.

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Planners of the annual Artscape Summer arts festival in Baltimore were going for a more hipster, quirky feel this year.

With that in mind, I decided to focus on the strangest, most bizarre aspects of Artscape, rather than on the main attractions and performances that were so heavily advertised.

After feeling out the scene for some time, I knew I had found my spot when I was squirted by a stream of water coming out of the mouth of a giant paper mache squid. Set up along North Charles Street on a bridge over 83 North were a slew of homemade booths, installations, and games.

I interviewed some of the people who created these displays, which all seemed like they’d come right out of some small-town, hokey circus.

Where else would you find a goofy water spitting squid, anonymous love letter deliveries, the biggest little carnival on the face of the planet, a psychedelic chill-out room, pedal powered smoothies, a skating ramp, and a spontaneous bubble party all in one place?

This was my interpretation of Artscape 2010.

Summer On The Gunpowder.

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In light of the outrageously high temperatures in Baltimore over the past few months, The Sun has been running a weekly series of Summer related features. One of the many things I’ve learned from this internship is that videos focusing on extreme weather conditions pull in lots of page views.

The latest installment was this piece, a profile on a windsurfing instructor and his youth water sports camp. Hal Ashman has been teaching windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, and stand up paddleboarding to kids ever since he founded his Ultimate Watersports camp 25 years ago.

I went out to the banks of the Gunpowder River in Maryland to spend a day at the camp and collect footage for this piece. My “work” there called for shooting while standing barefoot in the river, riding around in a motorboat, and talking to kids all day.

It’s interesting to note the differences in the editing process depending on how tight the deadline is. I shot this two weeks before it was to be published, so I had more time to craft the piece. It went through many steps and changes, a luxury one doesn’t have when the video has to be finished as soon as possible.

It was a pleasure reporting with Mike Catalini, who wrote the article which will run tomorrow. I’m thankful for his graciousness and guidance, and I learned a lot from working alongside him. I also owe thanks to Kevin Richardson and Chris Assaf, the editing gurus, for their suggestions and fresh eyes.