Yet another redesign over at the merc, there’s something to this whole self-taught thing that I have yet to learn.

I was feeling a little something for home and decided to check out the local news, wowza, someone’s been busy!

While there take a look at SF Fashion Week (there’s a really awesome shot at the 33 second mark) and Boardwalk (it makes me a little misty eyed for the coastal town and all the memories I made there).

This is very much an improvement on what was already an industry leader. Seriously, any other photo staff out there, you should demand to get this same respect as anyone else in the newsroom.

I’m pretty much preaching to the choir I understand. Many newspapers have realized this, but it’s not happening everywhere, and it needs to. But while many papers do have an online component to their photo operations now, they miss one major step.

Look at the photo websites of the Washington Post, the Naples Daily News, the New York Times, the Rocky Mountain News, etc. The leaders IMHO of the multimedia newsroom, and you’ll notice one major component missing that the Merc incorporates. (Only the Roanoke Times comes anywhere close to the Merc, that I’ve seen.)

There isn’t a photographer’s tab (lower right corner on the Merc). That’s the biggest innovation on the site, because as a reader it gives me a chance to find other work by the same shooter, as a student it helps me get to know the staff and as a businessman it helps me build a brand around my shooters and market as such.

There is no reason why a photo staff should not have a place to showcase their work, not to mention that establishing such a space creates an expectation to create work to showcase.

It sparks creativity and allows us to do what many of us got into the business to do- tell the stories that matter to us. In the past our only option was gallery shows or books, today we can do it online and still reach the same audience, if not more.

And it’s in the best interest of the paper to build a visual brand. Take a look at the Merc site again, those banner ads were not there before. What? … Making money on the web? What? It can be done? What?! (Do I have your attention now?)