Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Happy Leap Day!

One way I remember what year has a Leap Day is to think, Is this a Presidential election year?

Well, it is, so what could be more appropriate today than to post some images from last week’s Arizona Republican Party debate, put on by CNN?

I was pleased to be able to attend and cover the debate. (Well, “attend” may be putting it strongly: Media were all corralled into a tent outside, but we did get to mingle with and inquire of the candidates and newsmakers after the debate.)

Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer

Want to see some of what I said about the debate, as it occurred? Search for the hashtag #GOPDebate on Twitter. And while you’re there, feel free to follow me (@azatty).

So now that Arizona’s Republican primary is over, and there is no way my poorly shot photos could accidentally influence the election’s outcome (which we discovered last night was won by Mitt Romney), here are a few of my pics. The complete set is online at the magazine’s Facebook page.

Debate sign directing media

I have to admit: I’ve been overcome by a sudden crush, one that defies common sense and all reason. But there it is: I’m wowed by Prezi.

Prezi’s a looker—like any presentation software should be. It grabs a viewer like a suitor singing “I Can Show You the World” in Aladdin.

Here’s an example of what it can do.

OK, that was pretty sales-y. So how about something with illustrations?

 

This new tool would make anyone drop PowerPoint, and makes PP feel like the “safe” date your parents may like.

I first saw Prezi last week at the SPJ convention, when CNN’s Victor Hernandez gave his presentation on All Platform Journalism. It was a great seminar, revealing some of the cutting-edge work that their correspondents are doing. But that wow-inducing opener will likely stay with me longer than the urge to apply for a CNN gig.

Why do I say that my Prezi crush is without reason? Merely because I rarely create e-presentations. And when I have, I’ve found the industry standard to be pretty lackluster. But so strong is my Prezi attraction that I may seek out some more speaking gigs. Why should Victor get to wow everyone?

I’ll let you know how my new love and I progress.

While I’m treating you to some video tours de force from the Las Vegas convention, let me mention two others that brought a response from attendees, either applause, smiles or gasps.

The first is one you’ve probably seen. A Google representative shared a TV commercial that told a love story in 53 seconds, from a brief trip to Paris to a lifelong affair of the heart.

 

Yes, it was charming, and it did make many people (even mildly boiled reporters) grin like schoolkids. But the reason I share it here is because of its story-telling quality. Most of us struggle to create a full-blown world in 20 column inches. But 53 seconds, and no images? Bravo.

The last video turns us from marketing back toward the best kind of journalism.

Rob Curley of the Las Vegas Sun presented on what we sometimes still call “new media,” and he demonstrated that paper’s mastery of multimedia platforms.

But for anyone caught up with the technology, he reminded us all that it is the story and the writing that matter. As an example, he showed us a series on gambling addiction the paper did that really can’t be beat (and in fact has won an award). One of the many stories they told was captured in a video, made by a man whose life was crumbling, and then edited into a short film by the paper. (The series opening page is here. Tony McDew’s story of his own addiction is here and here.)

It’s the best marriage of tool and story I’ve seen in a long time. After you watch it, traipse around the Sun’s website for a bit—I guarantee you’ll stay longer than you planned.