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NC3C’s Magazine for Communication Professionals

PIOs as photographers Do you have what it takes?

Shop Talk

The best digital cameras in the business

Why am I in this business again? 5 reasons we have the best jobs on the planet

What in the world is NC3C? Who we are and why you should join us!

Volume One . Number One

“The best.” “Three cheers.” “Leader.”


“Hip Hip Hooray!”

“Jolly good.”

“Number 1.”

The Office of Public Information gives NC|Com magazine 5 stars. ®

Okay, so we’re biased.



NC3C’s Magazine for Communication Professionals

published by the Pitt County Office of Public Information for NC3C Volume One . Number One

nc3c executive officers president vice president secretary treasurer treasurer-elect past president

Mandy Pitts, City of Hickory Judy Rhew-Davidson, Buncombe County Kiara Jones, Pitt County LouAnne Kincaid, Caldwell County Joshua Harris, City of Morganton Steve Hawley, City of Greenville

contributors writers

Annette Privette-Keller, Town of Matthews, NC Steve Hawley, City of Greenville, NC Mike Emory, Pitt County, NC Kiara Jones, Pitt County, NC Mandy Pitts, City of Hickory, NC Catherine Lazorko, Town of Chapel Hill, NC

images Office of Public Information

NC Com magazine, established in 2011, is published quaterly in Pitt County, North Carolina, by the Pitt County Office of Public Information for the North Carolina City and County Communicators (NC3C). Subscriptions: visit or the site of any executive officer for your free subscription. Magazine is published online only. To request a high-quality printed version, call 252.902.2955 or e-mail Allow 7-10 days for delivery. For costs, contact the Office of Public Information. Advertising: Rate card available upon request from Publisher. © 2011 Pitt County Office of Public Information for NC3C (All Rights Reserved.)

Cover photo by Jason Schubert, former OPI intern. It was taken at the Pitt County Arboretum.



NC3C’s Magazine for Communication Professionals Volume One . Number One

In This Issue cover stories 7

What’s NC3C Anyway?


Why Am I in This Business Again?


Find out who we are and why we’re the best organization for city and county communicators in the state.

The mayor just made a huge gaffe, the town’s name is misspelled on the t-shirts, and your PEG channel’s down. 5 reasons why it’s all okay.

PIOs as Photographers

Whether it’s pictures at the biggest event of the year or some images for your web site, find out how to take stellar pix.

fixtures 6 10 20

President’s Message Should I...? Shop Talk

dot patterns can add interest to designs. on this page: adobe illustrator’s dot pattern vector pack



North Carolina

City & County Communicators Visit us. Then join us.

President’s Message


NC3C President Mandy Pitts

Dear NC3C Members,

It is with much exhilaration that we present to you NC|Com, a magazine for communication professionals in North Carolina. NC|Com is the vision of NC3C Secretary Kiara Jones and a gigantic thank you goes out to her for creating the magazine. In addition, a big thank you goes out to NC3C members who contributed an article for the first edition of NC|Com. The goal is to publish NC|Com quarterly and we are hopeful that NC3C members will submit articles that would be of interest to everyone in our profession. If you are interested in submitting an article or submitting photos in the upcoming publications, please contact Kiara at I hope that you are all having a successful kick off to our new fiscal year and while all of you are doing good work and being creative on projects, please remember to think about our “Excellence in Communications” awards program. Deadline for entries will be Tuesday, January 31, 2012 and anything created in 2011 will be accepted. I know budgets are tight and I am thankful to have an opportunity to attend the annual 3CMA conference September 7 – 9 in Austin, Texas. I will also be representing NC3C and will have a full report of the conference in October’s NC|Com. Anyone who will be attending 3CMA, please let me know, and we can hold our own informal gathering during the conference. I am also hopeful that North Carolina will bring home some Savvies this year. Gary Herman plans to begin working on the membership pictorial for this summer, and he will be in touch shortly about what information is needed with your photograph. Keep posting on Facebook and using the NC3C website; the more we use it, the more helpful it will be to all of us. Wishing all of you a wonderful summer and I look forward to watching our organization continue to blossom throughout the year. If you have any questions or would like to work on a committee to meet our 2011-2012 goals, please email me at or call me at (828) 261-2222. Warmest Regards,




North Carolina City & County Communicators

What in the world is it & why should you join?


To tell the story of NC3C you have to go back to when Mandy Pitts, Chris Coulson and I were ten year olds. We were working at our first jobs in municipalities. LOL Seriously, I had worked in newspapers as an editor and at two different school systems as Public Relations Managers. While with the school districts I became involved in their regional and state PIO organizations. These organizations benefited me tremendously. I formed lifelong mentoring relationships with other communication professionals. When I joined the City of Concord in 2001 I immediately asked Mandy if there was a professional organization how to sign up for the municipal equivalent of this type of organization and Mandy said it did not exist. I contacted the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) and other state groups and found that our field was somewhat of the ugly red haired stepchild. Communications had not received its due as an important cog in the machinery of NC governments. There was a national organization, the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA), but no state group. I became so busy acclimating to my new position that I let it drop but it drove me crazy that we had no support group – either on a regional basis or on a state basis – to help us develop professionally and personally in our profession. Mandy and I talked and she knew Chris Coulson and we decided to meet and see if we could organize a meeting of communication professionals. Mandy and I drove to Hendersonville where Chris worked and we hashed out the details of what we thought the mission of the group should be. No one had a comprehensive list of people working in our roles so we worked to develop a list of communication professionals around the state. We met for the first time in Concord at the Wingate Inn. There were approximately 25 professionals that day. I met so many people who were like me. Communication Nerds. It was fantastic. I felt like I had met long lost family members – people who have become dear friends over the last few years. Since then we have held meetings in Greensboro, Hickory, Greenville, Cabarrus County/Concord, and Fayetteville. We have established ourselves formally with a set of by-laws, elected officers, organized an impressive and professional awards program and much more. As communications dynamically changes across the world our place in our organizations is beginning to be recognized as vital to the success of our governments. This is evidenced by the many new communication positions that have been added in our field. There is much to do as we move forward in this decade and I am excited to see where NC3C goes next.


Annette Privette-Keller|Town of Matthews That’s her husband, John.

2011 All-America City Winners


Our state is second only to California when it comes to sporting All-America cities

Congratulations to Fayetteville and Eden for being named a 2011 All-America City! The stories were “over the moon” and I am so very proud of North Carolina communities who participate in All-America City program. North Carolina has the second most All-America Cities over the 62 years of the award program, and we just follow the state of California. I have been engaged with All-America City since the age of 17 when Hickory received All-America City status for the second time and my position with the City of Hickory lead me to my connection with All-America City on our third win in 2007. Since then I have served on the National Civic League Advisory Board and in 2010 and 2011, I had the honor to serve as a jury member. Over the years I have watched Hickory, Clinton, Lenoir, Reidsville, Kinston, Statesville, Gastonia, Fayetteville and Eden bring home the All-America City title, and every time a North Carolina community presents its story, my heart is beating fast full of joy and often times my eyes swell with tears of pride. Other winners since 2000 include Laurinburg, Concord, and Fayetteville again. Yes, North Carolina is known for its strong All-America Cities. Being a juror member, I cannot and do not show favoritism and I treat all finalists the same, but as I watch the audience and jury members’ faces and listen to juror questions, they know that North Carolina is a state full of communities with citizens who care for one another, and leaders who make hard decisions to overcome unfortunate occurrences such as business closings, unemployment, obesity, low test scores, high school drop outs, distressed neighborhoods and more. The link that connects all the North Carolina All-America Cities is that all segments of each community work together – government, schools, community members, nonprofits, businesses, churches, and even more groups. All-America City communities believe in embracing all segments of a community. North Carolina cities show measureable results over years of striving to turn a problem into an opportunity. For more information, visit

Mandy Pitts|City of Hickory Hickory is also a barbecue sauce flavor.


Like the articles you see? Want to contribute one? E-mail Kiara Jones at kdjones@ to send articles and story ideas. We like pix, too, so send those on over as well. ¡Gracias! That’s thank you in Spanish. See all the great things you can learn by reading NC|Com?


5 reasons why we have one of the best jobs on the planet

When I tell people what I do, a lot of times I’ll end up saying something like, “I have one of the best jobs in the world.” I get to play/work with camcorders, digital cameras, and editing and graphic design software that pros use; I have a radio show; manage a PEG channel; work with the media; update the web site … I often feel like I’m leaving something off the list! The bottom line is that I’ve been blessed to have a job in the field I have my degree in, working with all forms of communication. I would venture to say that we all love our jobs; I don’t think we’d be NC3C members or reading this magazine if we didn’t. But while we thoroughly enjoy our careers, sometimes they can be thoroughly challenging. The mayor just made a huge gaffe, the town’s name is misspelled on the t-shirts, and your PEG channel’s down. On top of that, the media wants a statement about the 70 or so animals the county’s shelter just rescued, and you have a ton of work you need to finish for the departments you serve. During times like this, we may need to be reminded of why we took these jobs in the first place – and why we should keep them! Read below… 5 reasons it’s all okay, even though the courthouse is on fire Reason # 5: The money. Settle down and let me explain. We may not get paid like CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, but we actually get paid to do a job we love. And I’ve heard that when that happens, you’re not really working! We all may or may not have planned to work in the public sector or even in the communications field, but if you leave at 5:00 with a smile on your face even though you’ve had a busy day, or enjoy it when 9

story continued on page 12

Should I...

Join the NC3C Forum? Yes!

Long ago, my father taught me that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. We weren’t talking about horses at the time, so I didn’t get it. After he explained the proverb, I came to see the truth in this saying. Nowhere have I seen it to be truer than in my experience as a government communicator. How do you get people who communicate for a living to communicate with each other? The simple answer is to make it easy for them. NC3C members have been clamoring for an easy way since our inception. In fact, the first of NC3C’s stated purposes is “to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas among City and County government communications professionals in North Carolina.” It’s a recognition that our strength is in our ability to easily share good ideas with each other – that 100 brains are better than one. Conferences make it easy, but not everyone is able to make it to them and they’re only held once a year. Email is easy – we all use email every working day. But maintaining an accurate, up to date email list that everyone has access to is not so easy. Many of us are members of some listserv. Just post or email a question to the list and it automatically is sent to all the people who subscribed or signed up for the list. You can even reply to that email and it automatically posts and sends an email to everyone on the listserv. Establishing something like that seemed like the ideal answer. The problem is that nobody with the technical knowledge to do that stepped up to help set it up.

NC3C 2011-2012 Goals 1. For the NC3C membership to use the communications tools in place to help members network and seek advice from peers throughout the year. 2. Increase participation in the “Excellence in Communications” awards program. 3. Increase NC3C retention and membership.

Enter the NC3C Forum. We found software to easily set up and manage an online forum. The premise is simple: register on the site, post a question whenever you want. Anytime someone posts a question, it’s sent automatically to everyone who is registered. If you’ve got the answer to a question, just log in and answer away. It seemed easy enough. In the nearly three years since it came online, there have only been a handful of people who have used the forum to post questions – to exchange information and help each other out. Each question averages more than 200 views. Barely more than half of the questions get an answer – most of those are from the same handful of

people. Obviously, a change is necessary. Facebook is the new big communication tool being used by local governments. NC3C established a Facebook group for the members to use to communicate with each other. Don’t use it to post about your exploits on vacation, your child’s soccer prowess, or where there’s a new restaurant with great milkshakes. Use it to ask questions about how to do something or seek guidance on different services and vendors serving our markets. Our organization’s strength is in its members – their experiences, their ideas, and their willingness to share. I urge you to become a member of the NC3C Facebook group. Not just a member, but an active member who is willing to ask questions and, more importantly, answer them if you can. Consider yourself once again led to water. The choice to drink it is yours. Oh and speaking of drinking, forget what I said about not posting about places to get a great milkshake. Steve Hawley|City of Greenville In a perpetual search for the perfect milkshake.


Did you notice the ad, the one that had the NC3C web site on it? Well, we want you to go there, and go there often. Tell your friends about it. They can get info on NC3C, become a member, and more. On the previous page are NC3C goals, one of which is to increase membership. So, do your part and get us some members!

A quick update on NC3C’s certification process


Finally, we are moving forward with the certification process. At the Spring Conference we had a great discussion on the proposed process. The next steps will be to establish a committee to oversee it and the crafting of an application in order for members to apply. We would like to have everything in place so that at the 2012 NC3C Spring Conference we could offer conference sessions that would count towards the certification process. Lauren Slepian of Cumberland County and Nathan Walls of Fayetteville have volunteered to assist with the launching of the certification process. Anyone who wants to serve on the committee or wants more info on the cert process should contact Annette Privette-Keller at


Annette Privette-Keller|Town of Matthews Uh, you already saw her pic.

you’ve helped an elderly citizen find some information, then chances are, you are getting paid with more than just greenbacks – and it’s called job satisfaction. Reason # 4: Your publics. As PIOs or communication professionals, we all have multiple publics that are made up of citizens, the media, internal departments, and elected officials. They all have different needs and you are the one who can help them. The fact that you can answer questions, write press releases, create videos, and help out with a press interview makes you a valuable resource to them. There’s a saying that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and without your skill set, those publics would be without a lot. So remember, you’re fulfilling a need that not many folks can. Your publics need you! Reason # 3: The variety. When you walked in at 8:00 on Monday, you had to get the newsletter out, update the web site and write a speech for the chairman. Tuesday you coordinated a press conference, answered 35 emails, wrapped up that PSA and finally figured out how to upload it to YouTube. Wednesday you had 2 commissioners in your office, conducted a training session, took pictures at the ribbon-cutting and explained what Twitter is to your boss… Get it? You won’t be bored in this business because you can encounter different things on a daily basis. Variety is the spice of…communication careers! Reason # 2: The new things you learn. Remember when you learned how to upload that PSA to YouTube? Now really – would you have learned how to do that outside of work? Maybe, but being in this field helps you expand your knowledge base. I know more about county government than I ever expected to know. At home in Wayne County, I have actually watched a commissioners meeting and understood what I saw, something I probably would have NEVER done if I didn’t work in this field. So when your desk fills up with new projects, go through the library you have in brain and remember that your Dewey Decimal System has been expanded because of your job! Reason # 1: Your colleagues. NC3C, this magazine, conferences, listservs, forums; these things are ways we connect with one another, networking, helping, exchanging ideas, and building relationships. Iron sharpens iron and in the multitude of counselors there is safety. This job allows us to interact with people who face the same situations, encounter the same issues and write the same policies. We don’t have to do this job alone, and in the end, that makes it all worth it. Kiara Jones|Pitt County Live in Wayne, work in Pitt.

Limited budgets call for an increase in duties. Are you ready? Some counties and municipalities have dedicated public information officers; some have those who may serve dual or triple roles, PIO being just one. Budget constraints, or the fact that the bosses just may not see the need for a full-time PIO, can force some of us to perform tasks outside of our comfort zones. Well, this series of articles, “PIOs as…” is for those of you who fall into that category. 12

story continued on page 17

Chapel Hill Springtime in


NC City County Communicators (NC3C) will travel to Chapel Hill for its 5th annual conference in spring 2012. We hope all will come to this easy location in the middle of the North Carolina! Conference dates are not yet locked in – but possibly, March 21-24, or March 28-30. Chapel Hill is absolutely exuberant in springtime, and not just for the NCAA Championships. While the conference program is still in the early planning stages, members can expect the usual high quality of presenters, roundtables, networking and professional development. NC3C President Mandy Pitts says: “We are thrilled that Chapel Hill will be our host city for the 2012 conference and there are endless possibilities for speakers in the university town where think tank discussions and innovation happens daily. That fits hand in hand with our organization, especially now as we must all do much more with less and think of creative ways to reach all publics in all mediums.” Taking advantage of resources nearby at UNC-Chapel Hill, conference planners expect to involve in the conference faculty and professionals from the School of Government, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the School of Information and Library Science. When members are not attending seminars, they will be out and about enjoying the charms of an historic University town. The Preservation Society of Chapel Hill provides guided tours from the Horace Williams House. Learn the folklore that is Chapel Hill, the home to the nation’s first public university. You can also tour the campus as part of a guided or self-guided tour. Here, you can stop at the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center, and check out a super-high-definition star show. The Morehead Planetarium was the first college planetarium and has a storied history training NASA astronauts as well as performing scientific research and offering activities and programs for the public. From the 60,000 sq. ft. gourmet emporium, A Southern Season, to the recently redesigned Shops at Eastgate, you can have it all. In Chapel Hill, you can stroll down Franklin Street where you’ll find the arts collective FRANK and the new Ackland Art Museum Store. The downtown features vintage and antique furniture, custom jewelry and hip clothing. Cool off with a gelato at Sugarland, the Food Network-featured artisan bakery, or dash across the street for a Krispy Kreme doughtnut. We hope you come hungry. Bon Appetit magazine recently named Chapel Hill and Orange County one of the "foodiest areas of the South." More than a dozen restaurants reach out to local farmers for a true farm-to-fork experience. From AAA Four Diamond restaurants to diverse, multi-ethnic cuisine to hickory smoked BBQ and other southern delights - you'll find something for every palate.


University of North Carolina facilities are rated among the nation's best, hosting everything from a high school invitational to NCAA basketball and football. Of course, a visit to Chapel Hill is incomplete without swinging by the Dean Smith Center and new Carolina Basketball Museum. Catch the spirit of Tar Heel country, especially during championship games, in any of the taverns and restaurants throughout town. Perhaps you should reserve the whole weekend, bring the family and extend your stay in Chapel Hill. Herbie Hancock is playing at Memorial Hall on March 22. Other activities that you might find enjoyable are tours of the Coker Arboretum, a five-acre arbor and garden with more than 500 species of trees, shrubs and plants, created in 1903. And try to spend some time at the NC Botanical Garden, the largest botanical garden in the southeast. The venus flytraps are always popular with the kids. There is also a wonderful children’s museum called Kidzu that inspires young children and the adults in their lives to learn through play. See, it’s not too early to think about March 2012. We look forward to welcoming you to Chapel Hill where we will help you find inspiration for the workplace, make new friends, and have fun too!

Catherine Lazorko|Town of Chapel Hill Now that’s a professional photograph.

Award highlights from 2011’s conference


Dave Hardin was nominated for and won the Chris Couslon Memorial Award at NC3C’s conference this year. Below is an excerpt from that nomination, sent in by Mandy Pitts, City of Hickory.

Dave Hardin duty as a PIO.

It is a true honor to nominate Catawba County Public Information Officer Dave Hardin for the 2011 Chris Coulson Memorial Award. This prestigious award is presented to a person who demonstrates a passion for making a difference in the profession and in the lives of citizens and whose character, career and service represented the highest standards and who excels in the practice of local government communications. Throughout this nomination, I will explain Dave’s passion for making a difference in our profession, as well as give examples of his character and service to the citizens of Catawba County, beyond his

I cannot remember not knowing Dave Hardin. Dave is about 10 years older than me, but we grew up at First Presbyterian Church in Hickory together and his mom was my 6th grade teacher. Fresh out of college with a journalism degree from East Carolina University, I knew it all and was very excited about my first job as a reporter at the Hickory Daily Record. I graduated spring of 1993, but it was early fall before I began working the “county beat” for the local newspaper. I was especially excited because as I started my “career” in journalism, 14

well-respected radio news director Dave Hardin was hired as the Catawba County PIO. I thought “wow,” I have an “inside” track to government, this new job is “gonna be alright.” ... Below is a list of Dave’s recent accomplishments. • Created a formal mechanism for developing and generating video productions for the County’s You Tube Initiative. In all, more than 50 videos have been produced or adapted from other sources and placed on the County’s You Tube site, linked to the main website. • Enhanced County interaction with minority communities to provide information regarding County services. • Developed a highly successful E-Newsletter which is in its fifth year of publication. • Successfully worked with a County Smoking Cessation Team comprised of County staff to assist in effectively publicizing the County’s move to an entirely smoke-free campus. • Coordinated implementation of a revised version of a course on county government for citizens. Known as “Catawba County University,” the class spans six hours over two afternoons and focuses on the basics of Catawba County management and budget, public safety, human services, green initiatives, technology and subjects chosen by the participants. ... Dave also has numerous interests, including genealogy, his Fantasy Football team, and all types of music. If pressed, he would probably tell you his top interest is birds (and bird-watching). Dave and his wife, Amanda, live in Newton with their 2 dogs, Hunter and Bonnie. Dave is now an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Newton was recently was named an elder in his church. Again, I am honored to nominate Dave for the 2011 NC3C Chris Coulson Memorial Award. I believe he truly deserves this award as he has been a trailblazer in the government communicators’ profession.

2011 NC3C Award Winners TV and Videos Interview/talk shows Interview/talk shows

1st Place 2nd Place

Pitt County Cumberland County

Regular programming Regular programming

1st Place 2nd Place

Buncombe County Pitt County

One-time special programming One-time special programming

1st Place 2nd Place

Buncombe County Dare County

Public Service announcement Public Service announcement Printed Publications Employee Newsletter 1st Place Employee Newsletter 2nd Place

1st Place 2nd Place

Buncombe County Buncombe County


N/A City of Fayetteville

1st Place 2nd Place

N/A City of Fayetteville

Annual Report 1st Place Annual Report 2nd Place Communication Technology Electronic Employee Newsletter 1st Place Electronic Employee Newsletter 2nd Place

City of Hickory City of Fayetteville

Electronic External Newsletter Electronic External Newsletter

1st Place 2nd Place

City of Fayetteville Town of Holly Springs

Website Website

1st Place 2nd Place

City of Morganton City of Kannapolis

Intranet Intranet

1st Place 2nd Place

Town of Matthews N/A

Other Technologies Other Technologies Marketing Tools Direct mail or print advertising Direct mail or print advertising

1st Place 2nd Place

City of Kannapolis N/A

1st Place 2nd Place

Town of Matthews N/A

Branding/New logo Branding/New logo

1st Place 2nd Place

City of Morganton N/A

Best use of Promotional item Best use of Promotional item

1st Place 2nd Place

N/A Buncombe County

Special Events Special Events

1st Place 2nd Place

Buncombe County Town of Holly Springs

Citizen Participation Citizen Participation

1st Place 2nd Place

City of Wilmington City of Charlotte

Communication or Marketing Plans Communication or Marketing Plans

1st Place

City of Wilmington

2nd Place

Buncombe County

1st Place

Buncombe County

2nd Place

City of Hickory


Magazine Magazine

Most Creative Activity with Least Dollars Spent Most Creative Activity with Least Dollars Spent

Union County Cumberland County

NC3C’s Magazine for Communication Professionals

City of Fuquay-Varina City of Morganton


1st Place 2nd Place


External newsletters External newsletters


PIOs as Photographers continued

You have an MPA and enjoy working with the planning department, but you just became the official photographer for Wednesday’s community celebration. You don’t have any idea what a DSLR is, much less how to work one, and you need help. Well, you’re in the right place! You can find out about the best digital cameras to buy in the fixture Shop Talk (page 20); here, we will focus on the best way to take great pix (that’s short for pictures for those of you who aren’t up-to-speed on the current lingo). First, what is a DSLR? DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex. A camera based on the single-lens reflex (SLR) principle uses a mirror to show the image that will be captured in a viewfinder. The cross-section (side-view) of the optical components of a DSLR shows how the light passes through the lens assembly… BLAH BLAH BLAH! All you need to know is that when you take a picture, you don’t have to take any film to the local shop to get it developed. Just hook the camera to your PC with a USB cord and download the pix. You can also change out your lenses on DSLRs, and they can come with the flash included or sold separately. Current DSLRs are a little more complex than your normal point and shoot cameras. They have tons of settings that let you capture moving objects, control your aperture, and set your shutter priority mode. Allowing you to change these settings can make a so-so picture stellar.

Some common DLSR settings Macro Mode helps you take detailed close-up shots. It’s great for shooting flowers, insects or other small objects. Landscape Mode gives you a large depth of field and is almost the exact opposite of portrait mode. Sports Mode, also called ‘action mode,’ is designed for photographing moving objects, including people playing sports, pets, cars, wildlife etc. Picture Taking Tips Use a tripod when possible, especially if you’re new at this. Shaky hands make for pix that aren’t “tack sharp.” Be sure your lighting is ideal for the situation. Turn off the flash if there’s too much light, or if you’re taking close up shots using macro mode. Bring extra lighting if needed. Be mindful of your framing. That means don’t cut people’s heads off or get a picture of the podium when you should be capturing the mayor giving his speech. Uh, read the manual. If you have a question about your camera, that book that came with it tells you how to work it. Some manufacturers have their manuals online, so no excuse! Don’t be intimidated. Although DSLRs have more bells and whistles, the bottom line is that they work just like a point and shoot camera – you just point, and shoot. Kiara Jones|Pitt County Yep, you already saw her pic, too.


See the next two pages for the membership form and the dues invoice, if you’re already a member. Just print off, fill out, and send back to the listed address. Again, you can find member info and other cool stuff on Thanks to Kevin Elwood and those who are working to increase membership in your own neck of the woods.


North Carolina City & County Communicators 2011‐2012 Dues Invoice Please complete and mail with membership dues of $50  with check made payable to NC3C and mailed to:   

NC City‐County Communicators  c/o LouAnne Kincaid, Treasurer  Caldwell County Government Offices  PO Box 2200  Lenoir, NC 28645    ______________________________________  Name    ______________________________________  Title    ______________________________________  Jurisdiction    ______________________________________  Address    ______________________________________  City / State / Zip Code    ______________________________________  Phone – Fax    ______________________________________  E‐mail    ______________________________________  Website    Yes, please reach me about serving on a committee!    Tax ID Number for NC3C – 26‐0265279   

Shop Talk

The best digital cameras in the biz

Contributed by Mike Emory, Pitt County Some time ago, I found myself once again serving as the best man in a wedding. In the maddening mix of guests, caterers, musicians and the like, there was one person who grabbed my attention . . . the wedding photographer. I couldn’t help but notice the Canon Mark II 5D in her hands, and how little light she seemed to need to make beautiful shots with it. I generally consider it bad practice to interrupt another photographer while they’re on the job, especially just to talk shop; however, I was curious about her opinions on the camera made famous for being the first digital SLR used for official presidential portraits. The Mark II 5D seems to have become the must-have item for any would-be professional photog to sling over his or her shoulder. In fact, almost every pro I know now shoots with one, but the real question is, does everyone need it? With nearly half of all digital cameras sold in the world today bearing the Canon name, there is no denying their appeal. However, longtime rival and strongest competitor Nikon will not be denied its share of the market as well. According to a 2010 Bloomberg report, with Sony holding at third place with just 11% of total market sales, it would seem all other manufacturers are simply in a race for fourth. Now, that’s not to say that there are no other great DSLR’s out there. I happen to have a good friend who makes decent side money with his Olympus, even if he has tried to sell it half a dozen times. When considering the money invested, quality rendered and common availability, for many the choice of which camera to buy for your shop comes down to either a Canon or Nikon. That, unfortunately, is the easiest decision. Once you pick your brand, there is a multitude of unit options. Take for instance the Canon 5D mkII, or the comparable Nikon D700; both are professional level cameras with oodles of mouth-watering features such as high resolution CMOS image sensors and the ability to shoot 1080p HD video. At some point, you have to balance your skill set with the money you are willing to spend. If you are a department of many with a great budget and world-renowned talent, then it may be worthwhile for you to get a Canon 1D or Nikon D3X, both of which retail at the $8,000 range. You’ll probably also want to take some vacation leave to have time to go over the 212-page operator’s manual. In the real world, PIO departments often have one or two people who have to share equipment. So, what’s a good alternative? Take a look at something more practical, say the new Canon T3i. At just under $900, you could buy 2 for the price you would pay for just 1 Mark II 5D. It comes with tons of features, and can even shoot HD video. Nikon also offers the similar and new D5100 for roughly the same price. They are compact, easy-to-use and easy-to-learn. Yet still, you can make out cheaper with alternatives like the Canon 7D, 60D, or the Nikon D7000 and D300S, all retailing for less than $1,700. Buying the right DSLR can get real confusing, real quick. For the most part, once you get into the $800 – $2,000 range, it starts to come down to a comparison of features. You can either buy a car with manual windows and an FM radio, or you can buy one with power everything and heated leather seats that massage you until your triceps turn to goo. Do a little homework and find which combo of features you’re willing to live with and pay for. Six months from now, you’ll either say: “I paid way too much for this, and we don’t use half of what it’s capable of!” or “I got a great deal on a camera I’m still learning how to use!” The choice is yours - shop wisely and shoot well.


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