Weekend Media Threads, July 13, 2019

I wanted to be what when I grew up? Time to pivot Weekend Media Threads.

No matter how old I get I’m always asking myself the same question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” When I was in elementary school or younger I recall considering three options: a Catholic priest, an Air Force pilot, or a football player. Looking back at the three now and thinking of the person I’ve become, two of those are absolutely hilarious.

This could have been me.

Sometime in middle school my interests changes and I wanted to be a comic book artist. Or a comic strip writer/artist. I guess that’s kind of the same thing. In high school my love for the arts evolved beyond just comics and I wanted to be an ‘artist.’

When I began my college career, the style of artist I wanted to become was a photographer. More specifically, I wanted to be a war photographer.

I could have been so pretentious.

However, this was just prior to the digital age and everything was still being done on film. I quickly realized that having photography as a major was, let’s say, cost prohibitive. So I went down the hall to the computer lab and learned to be a graphic designer. I eventually received my bachelor’s degree in the arts with a focus on graphic design from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Flash forward 18 years and now I’m working in digital media operations. Overseeing website builds, app development, content distribution, online advertising yield, etc. You can argue that this is adjacent to graphic design by way of user experience and interface, but in reality I haven’t been a designer – or ‘artist’ – in well over a decade.

What’s even more amazing is that in high school I would have told you that there is no way I would ever work on a computer, let alone in a field called ‘digital media.’

Gasp! I was an artist!

I was all about ‘traditional’ art forms. Computers were nothing more than a fad.

During one Christmas gathering I even argued with my aunt Peggy about it. She suggested I should consider computers as part of my career path.

The nerve of her!

I insisted I would never become victim to such technology. I would be a traditional artist forever.


Turns out she was right.

To be fair, at that point in my life I hadn’t experienced the internet. It’s not that I’m so old that the internet didn’t exist as a consumer product at the time. It’s more that in the mid-90’s the internet wasn’t available like it is today. Not to mention computers were still very expensive, and wasn’t something my family could afford.

Just check out this sweet rig you could get for $1,995. 850MB hard drive with 8MB of RAM – this will be the last computer you need!

Borrowed from the Fuzzy Notepad blog.

For comparison, this is the equivalent of buying a for $3,350 today. Here are some Alienware options you can buy today for around that price.

You might be asking, what is the point of all this in my Weekend Media Threads post? What does this have to do with media? Basically I’m trying to work out what I want my blog to be when it grows up.

I enjoy doing commentary on media, but I want it to become something more. Personally, the blogs or newsletters I enjoy most are the ones that have some kind of personal bent to them. For example, John Dick, the CEO and founder of CivicScience, sends a weekly email newsletter that generally starts with some personal story before he talks about what they are seeing via their poll data each week. It’s something I look forward to on Saturday morning.

That’s the direction I want to take this blog. In addition to being more interesting, I think it will be a cathartic experience for me. Maybe I’ll learn to let my personality and personal opinions out a bit more.

So my intention is for this post to be my pivot point. Maybe I’ll come up with a better title each week, start with something more personal, then throw in some interesting links or commentary about the week in media – depending on time.

In between my weekend posts I’m going to try and do some shorter posts during the week when I find something interesting and want to share and comment.

If you enjoy my blog, or have suggestions, please leave a comment, DM me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, or contact me however you know how and let me know. I would love to hear from folks.

This week’s links

Digiday: ‘Newsletters as puzzle pieces’: How The Economist uses email to reduce subscriber churn

‘Hard to justify investing resources’: Publishers still cautious on IGTV efforts with lack of ads

CNN: Billionaires are saving journalism. Yes, that’s right

MediaPost: The News Project Powers ‘CalMatters’ Relaunch

Christmas Drawing – 2019 Edition

Last year I did a series of drawings as gifts for family members, which I rather enjoyed doing. To be honest, I don’t draw enough, but when I do I feel energized. Doing it as a gift makes it even more rewarding.

While I was working on the drawings last Christmas, I was already thinking forward to 2019, and what I wanted to do. And, while I started thinking about it in 2018, and I got the subject for this drawing this past summer, the idea actually came a few years ago. I just didn’t realize it at the time.

A few years ago I was visiting family in my hometown and noticed that my only niece at the time, Elizabeth Eck, had a portrait I drew of her displayed on her dresser. It wasn’t a new portrait, it was of her at one or two, drawn when I was still in high school, almost two decades prior.

For her to keep this all of these years later, and still display it, made me proud. She’s always been an important person in my life, and it brought a smile to my face to see something I did so long ago displayed with pride.

I’ve never admitted this publicly, but when my niece was born I was going through a tough time, and she was the beacon I needed at that moment. She kept me motivated and helped me persevere. I wanted to give her an updated portrait to say thank you.

This past summer, on July 9, 2018, she married the love of her life in a ceremony on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland. I took photos that day knowing that I wanted to use one of them as a subject for this eventual Christmas present.

I took a few hundred photos, but the one that stood out to me was of her and her new husband dancing on the beach, still in their wedding apparel, with ocean waves crashing behind them.

It felt like the perfect setting for what I wanted to achieve.

I hope they enjoy this. It’s my way of thanking her for just being when I was at a difficult point in my life.

Lyz (Eck) and Tyler Smith’s wedding on the beach in Ocean City, Md, July 9, 2018.
Pencil and charcoal.

January 14 – One last entry into the Christmas portraits

If you’ve been following along you know I’ve been working on multiple portraits that I gave as Christmas presents this year. And you also know that late in the game I decided to add two additional portraits into the mix.

The downside of my sudden additions was that I did not have a subject for the portrait of my wife’s brother, Matt. Unfortunately this meant that part of the present was an I.O.U.

Now that I.O.U. has been paid. Below are a few progress shots as will as the final product.


Pencil and charcoal drawing, Matt, January 2018

To see more of my artwork, visit my finished artwork page.

December 25 – A late Entry to the Christmas Gallery

On the afternoon for December 23 I was cleaning out old photos on my computer when I can across an old picture I used of my wife and I on our wedding invitation.

Spoiler: It’s adorable.

I told you it’s adorable.

Anyway, it made me realize I did drawings of my in-laws grandchildren, but left out there children. So I spent the afternoon doing one more drawing before Christmas. I’ll need to do one more after Christmas, of my brother-in-law, but I don’t have any toddler pics of him. At least not without asking my wife, him or mother-in-law and ruining the surprise.

Here the final version of my wife as a toddler, I hope you like it.

Pencil and charcoal drawing, Angela, December 2017


December 17 – Addison’s First Christmas Final

This is the fourth and final in a series artworks I created as Christmas gifts this year.  I’m pleased with each finished piece, but I think this one came out the best – which I probably said for each finished drawing.

But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

I think this ended up being true because it’s been years since I’ve drawn with this kind of consistency. I worked on these at least one day a week since late October. Over the past few years I’ve created art, but not like this. And unfortunately art isn’t like riding a bike, you have to practice if you want to be good. It’s not some magic power.

I’m hoping to continue to do more now that I’ve hit a stride. I have the next work started, and may experiment with a different style.

Addison’s First Christmas Final – pencil and charcoal

And here is the original:

If you would like to see a gallery of all my finished work, please visit my finished artwork page.