Category At Work

Nick Ut Talks About the Napalm Girl Photo

Very nice piece by Mark Edward Harris at Vanity Fair about the day Nick Ut made the iconic image of Kim Phuc, naked and burning, outside of Trang Bang, Vietnam.

Out of This World Images

Great piece on NPR about astronaut Reid Wiseman’s photographs … whoa.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to Undergo First Amendment Training

In a refreshing turn, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has settled a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union over police practices of questioning and detaining photographers. Members of the Sheriff’s Department will undergo new training:

The training, supplied through a newsletter detailing the LASD policy and given to all new recruits and to all deputies assigned to patrol, states that members of the public ‘have a First Amendment right to observe, take photographs, and record video in any public place where they are lawfully present” and prohibits deputies from “interfering, threatening, intimidating, blocking or otherwise discouraging’ photographers from taking photos or video unless they are violating a law.

I’d rather it not be just a newsletter …

Why You Hire a Professional, Presidential Aspirant Edition

This is classic – how Marvin Bush’s love of Frank Zappa ruined his brother Jeb’s wedding photos.

Why Pictures Matter: Articulation

The second part of Sara Quinn’s research on the value of photojournalism has now been published by the National Press Photographers Association. In it she goes through the language that the study participants used to describe user generated images and those made by working professionals – it’s pretty clear our audiences can both see the difference and articulate it well.

Also included is this video, that everyone should be showing their colleagues right now:

NPPA Research Project from NPPA on Vimeo.

Photojournalism Day at UGA

On behalf of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, I am inviting you to join us as we welcome the National Press Photographers Association to Athens. The NPPA, the leading organization for visual journalists, is moving its headquarters to UGA this spring and we are looking forward to partnerships in the areas of education, research and outreach.

As part of our celebration, we are the first stop for the Women Photojournalists of Washington’s traveling exhibition which will be displayed in Grady for the month of January. In addition, we have an afternoon of sessions planned for Friday, January 9, which we hope you can join us for.

  • 2:30–3:30 Women in Photojournalism – Finding and Keeping Your Voice: This panel will be moderated by Atlanta-based photojournalist Akili Ramsess who will be joined by Minla Shields, former photo editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Katie Schoolov, a video journalist for KPBS in San Diego, Melissa Golden, president of the Women Photojournalists of Washington group and a Washington, D.C., based independent photojournalist, and Andrea Briscoe, Governor Nathan Deal’s photographer.
  • 3:45–5:15 Eyetracking Photojournalism: In an age where images are instantaneous and easily shared around the world, what characteristics make a photograph worth publishing? This major new study by Sara Quinn on photojournalism gives insight into how people perceive the quality of journalistic photographs — from those taken by seasoned professionals to cellphone images that capture everyday life. With significant implications for storytellers, journalists and publishing organizations, this research combines eyetrack testing with extensive interviews asking people their thoughts on storytelling, quality, what makes an image memorable and worth sharing.
  • 5:30–7:00 NPPA at UGA: A welcoming reception for the National Press Photographers Association which is relocating its headquarters to the University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

All events will be held in Studio 100, the glass-walled space on the first floor of the Journalism Building. (Use the entrance on Sanford Drive closest to the intersection of Hooper Street.) Parking during the day is available at the Tate Student Center (705 South Lumpkin St., Athens). Parking after 5 p.m. is available in the N09 lot on Hooper Street adjacent to the intersection with East Campus Drive.

For more information, please contact Mark E. Johnson at

Happy Birthday, AP Wirephoto

The Associated Press’ Wirephoto service debuted on New Year’s Day in 1935, making it a young 80 years old.

I remember the first time I used a first-generation Leafax transmitter … it was awesome, but slow. When the Boston bureau trained me on the IIId version I was in heaven – so much faster. Still not sure how we toned color images on a black and white monitor, but we did.

White House News Photographers Association’s Student Competition

WhnpaThe White House News Photographers Association’s annual student competition is now accepting entries. There is a small fee ($25) to enter the Eyes of History contest, but you could get your work seen by the top photojournalists and editors around the country.

Is Livestreaming Journalism?

It may seem like a strange question, but New York Magazine has a piece up that asks if livestreaming is the future of journalism or activism.

I don’t have an answer, but I have some thoughts on this. And my thought is … no. Livestreaming is not journalism. Perhaps it is news reporting, but I don’t think it is journalism.

Why? Journalism goes beyond stating this happened. It gets to what happened, why it happened and how important it is. Livestreaming an event does nothing to add context to a story – it just shows you what is happening right now, right in front of this particular camera that this particular person has chosen to stream.

There’s no decision making about what’s important and what’s relevant based on the facts of what has happened – the decision making is made based on assumptions about what may happen.

Every journalist has to make some assumptions – to go here, to interview that person – and those assumptions are similar to the livestreaming reporters out there. The difference is the livestreamer is then tied to those assumptions, the journalist has the ability to decide whether the results of those assumptions are credible, trustworthy and relevant.

And that’s where someone becomes a journalist. It is not merely pointing a camera at something and pressing record or broadcast. It is the collection of information, the sorting of information, the contextualization of information – the assembly of relevant information into a coherent, contextual story about what happened – not what one person saw happen – and what it means.

My stepson and I were just talking about this issue when he got up from the kitchen table and poured himself a second glass of milk. I asked him if broadcasting a video of him pouring and drinking that glass of milk was journalism. He looked at me and said he didn’t think so. And he’s right – a medium-sized boy drinking a glass of milk is not news and the reporting of just that is not journalism.

But if he never has a second glass of milk, that adds information and context – and could lead to a story. If he’s been lactose intolerant and has a new medication that allows him to drink milk, that could be a story. If he stops at two glasses when he usually has three, that could be a story.

But none of those are stories you could figure out by looking at one point of information – a medium sized boy pouring and drinking a glass of milk.

Journalism requires context – it’s this happened and this is why it matters.

Do journalists always get the story right? Absolutely not. But there’s a better chance of getting it right if there is a systematic process of reporting, analyzing and publishing. A system with fact checkers and multiple sources has a better chance of producing a useful story than one person pointing one camera at one thing at one moment in time.

Stephen Crowley On Covering Politics

PDNOnline’s David Walker talked with The New York Times’ Stephen Crowley about his work covering Washington politics. When asked what fascinates him about the topic, he answered:

It’s the sport of kings. You have teams, you have strong players and weak players and trades, and schemes. It’s always a story. And it’s a vocation you can do that actually benefits people. You don’t get rich doing this, but you live an incredibly rich life.

I added the emphasis – isn’t that the core of why we commit acts of journalism?