One graf in this NPR piece by Coburn Dukehart says it all.
“I understand the poignancy of capturing a moment,” she says. “Photography is incredibly powerful when used appropriately, and all I am saying is, how about a little respect? Say who you are and get out of the bushes.”
Journalism is about people. It’s all, and only, and absolutely, about people. It’s about connecting people with people, subjects with audiences. When we don’t do our jobs, when we hide in the bushes, click, and turn away, that is not photojournalism. That’s photography and I mean that in the coldest, cruelest way.
Read the piece linked above. Don’t hunt, gather and share.
Does it pay to know people? In this industry, absolutely. Most recent example: How student Ryan Jones ended up in the room as ESPN interviewed Manti Te’o last week.
(Thanks to colleague Prof. Vicki Michaelis for the link.)
Markham Nola, the managing editor of Storyful.com, talks about how his organization uses online and social media tools to verify the authenticity of breaking news event reports from unknown sources.
Some excellent ideas on how to cross-reference information to verify it. Is this a better system then having known reporters, with known agendas, on the scene? Probably not – but in an era of user-generated content, there is a massive need to verify these reports.
(Thanks to student Tessa Harmon for the link.)
I admitted the other day that, at some future point in time, I might head back to a small publication to tell stories again. Turns out, Jonas Bendiksen of Magnum had the same idea – and did it.
Dig through that gallery at Wired.com – small town, great images. It can – and should – be done.
Applications are now being taken for the 2013 Google Fellowships, they’re due by January 31, 2013.
From their site:
Who should apply?
We’re looking for students who are passionate about journalism and the role that technology can play in the industry and the pursuit of their craft. Students from all majors and degree programs who possess the following qualities are encouraged to apply:
- Demonstrated or stated commitment to journalism – especially in the fields of data driven journalism or freedom of expression online
- An interest in exploring and creating business models to help the industry in the digital age
- Excellent academic record, professional/extracurricular/volunteer activities, subject matter expertise
- First-rate analytical, communications, research, and writing skills
- Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and efficiently, and to work smartly and resourcefully in a fast-paced environment
Fellows will receive a stipend of $7,500 USD for 10 weeks during the summer of 2013 (June-August) and a travel budget of $1,000 USD.
The Fellowship will start on June 3, 2013 with the first week at the Knight Foundation in Florida. Fellows will join their host organization on June 10, 2013 and finish with a week at Google in California on August 5, 2013.
(Thanks to Stanley Leary for the lead.)
That quote comes from Jeff Roberts, the Birmingham News photojournalist who made the iconic image of a woman holding her two grandchildren after an April 2011 tornado wiped out their Alabama home. I am saddened to report that Jeff has passed.
We were privileged to have had him on campus as part of our McGill Symposium a year ago. I have never heard the Drewry Room be so quiet as it was that day, as Jeff struggled to tell the story of how he was caught in the tornado that wiped out his neighborhood, how he crawled out of his battered Volvo to see the devastation and then he did what he did – he started telling the story of what happened to his community.
At dinner, in talking with David Handschuh and me, Jeff said he had always dreamed of coming to Georgia, that he wanted to be a Bulldog. He may not have gotten the paperwork, but to those of us in the room, he became one.
In talking with my students after that day, the message Jeff had sent – intentionally or not – was that you had to care.
Photography-News.com has a list of 56 documentaries about photography up … and I haven’t seen a lot of them. I think I know what I’m doing over winter break now …
Since I know there are some alumni reading along, you should know that late Wednesday a significant percentage of the editorial management team at The Red & Black quit. They have launched a new web site, Red & Dead, with updates on what has happened. Their Twitter feed was suspended late last night, which I suspect was an automated response due to the sudden volume of followers.
The staff left after questions of who would have final editorial control of the publication were raised in a memo.
Over at The New York Times’ Lens blog, James Estrin has an interview with Mickey Osterreicher about the increase in arrests of photographers around the United States.
Osterreicher, who is the National Press Photographers Association’s attorney, has this advice for photojournalists working in tense situations:
If you’re stopped on the street, stay calm. Be reasonable, be cooperative — as cooperative as you can. By cooperative, I don’t mean you have to show them your pictures when they ask. If you’re not getting anywhere ask to speak to a supervisor.
When all else fails, unless you’re willing to be arrested, you have to consider trying a different approach. Walk away, and see if you can get another angle. As news photographers, you’re there to break a new story, the last thing you want to do is stand around arguing with somebody while the images you want to take disappear.
For the general public, just be aware that this may happen to you. Tell them, “I’m on a public street, this is America, I can take pictures.”
My students get an earful somedays about things they’d never expect to talk about in journalism courses. Step ladders? Snow tires? Rain coats? All fair game as far as I’m concerned.
Former-student Daniel Shirey posted a link to an REI page that talks about rain gear and it’s a nice primer on how to be prepared to be out and about, all the time.
This stuff seems silly when you’re sitting in a climate-controlled classroom with no windows. But the first Friday night football game you have to shoot in a tropical storm will be much nicer if you’ve equipped yourself right.