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December 12, 2012

Misty Watson: We want your good photos

You get used to criticism when you work in the media.

Well, maybe it’s not that you get used to it, but you get better at biting your lip and just nodding and smiling. People seem to think they understand how the industry works. I just let them think they know what they’re talking about.

That is until someone says that we only like covering negative news. I hear it, usually from a disgruntled grandmother who’s upset that we missed a school play no one ever told us was happening in the first place. Or I hear it when someone has a great Christmas light display in their yard on some street I never drive down in Cohutta.

For the record, I do not like covering negative news. I don’t wish for wrecks or murders or fires. I would much rather take a photo of your child proudly dancing across the stage as “Towns Person 4.” I remember how much it meant to me when my photo appeared in the paper as a child, and I like being able to pass on the blessing.

But the reality is there is only one of me, and there are tens of thousands of you. I can’t be everywhere at once. I can’t know everything that is worth taking a photo of in the two counties we cover. So we rely on you, the reader.

We have always relied on you to inform us when you see something or know of something we should be covering (though I think some of you need a reminder). We cannot take a photo if we do not know an event is happening. Take a minute and let that last sentence sink in.

Sometimes, even if we know about something going on, we can’t make it. Our schedule just doesn’t line up. Then we encourage you to send us an image and some information. We want to run it. I promise we do. We’re a community newspaper and we like to highlight the community.

Now, thanks to the digital age, the world of social media and every cellphone being armed with a *cough, eye roll* “camera,” it’s even easier for you to send us photos and for us to display them. After several meetings and discussions, we have decided to more heavily promote a reader submitted section on our photo site, pictures.daltoncitizen.com.

It has been in place for a few months now, but we haven’t made a big push yet to get the reader involved. Consider this the big push.

This is a place for you to show off your children enjoying last weekend’s festival, your Christmas light display (think you can outdo Clark Griswold? We want to see it!), or maybe the black bear that has been roaming your neighborhood. The best photos will be printed in the paper — maybe even the front page — and most photos will be placed on our website at daltonnow.com.

But the photo must be of decent quality — that means blurry photos taken from 100 yards away from the subject on a dark, stormy night as you fly by in your car at 60 mph aren’t as likely to make the cut. And please, for the love of photography, stay away from Instagram’s horrible filters when submitting your photos to us.

Sometimes we ask for specific types of photos, but we’re always open for you to send us anything you run across, including breaking news.

Right now we are looking for photos of Christmas displays, Christmas trees (especially unique ones), your family lighting the menorah, and all things related to the holidays.

There are some photo submission tips on our photo site and a link to an online submission form. You can also send us the photos at readerphotos@daltoncitizen.com. Be sure to include your contact information. It will not be published, but that way we can contact you for more information if we need it. Also, be sure to tell us who is in the photo if people are in it, where the photo was taken and a little about the photo. If you have any questions, send them my way.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page, facebook.com/thedailycitizen, for updates. After the holidays we want to start giving you the opportunity to have a photo of yours featured as our Facebook page’s cover photo. We’re still working out the details on that one.

So happy shooting! Well, to those of you who can resist adding the 1977 filter to every photo you take.

Murray County native Misty Watson is a photographer and writer for The Daily Citizen. You can share your disgust of Instagram with her on Twitter, #dcn1977.

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