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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Photojournalist Lynsey Addario has been named a MacArthur Fellow for 2009. The award comes with a $500,000 grant over five years to pursue her work unfettered by financial concerns and is often referred to as a “Genius Award.” If you wander through her portfolio, you’ll see her sense of light is very strong, bringing a beauty to some truly horrific scenes.


Now there’s one fewer reason to screw up a state abbreviation – the Associated Press Stylebook is now available as an iPhone app. (Which has the Apple fan in me thinking iPhones should be required of all our students … hmmm.)

Mother Nature News is looking for an intern/campus corespondent – details are online here. Unpaid, but if you’re interested in what they’re doing it may be worth considering.

This is an ideal internship for anyone interested in a career in writing, editing or environmental issues as this will be hands-on, real-life experience. MNN combines unconventional and lively original content alongside breaking environmental news from around the web. From wilderness issues to green technology, from politics to sustainable living — if the topic is of interest to people who love the environment, chances are, we write about it.

The Investigative Reporters and Editors group has a neat workshop planned around the idea of looking at data about your college or university. It runs in early January in Arizona, and there are scholarships available. Worth looking into – you could find sources for great visuals there.

On Friday, Oct. 2, at 12:15 in the Drewry Room of Grady College, Furman Bisher will be talking. Bisher has been a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the former president of a whole bunch of sports journalism organizations. Good opportunity to learn a lot in a short time about sports journalism.

Find a comfy chair with a good WiFi signal and stock up on snacks–you’ve got about 90 minutes until the National Press Photographers Association’s Virtual Video Workshop starts up.

Lined up for the day:

  • 10:30 a.m., Darren Durlach, WBFF-TV in Baltimore, NPPA’s 2009 Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year, “Six Essential Skills To Maximize Your Storytelling Process”
  • 11:45 a.m., Boyd Huppert, KARE in Minneapolis, a three-time winner of the NPPA Special Award for Reporting, “Storytelling in The Moment”
  • 1 p.m., Greg T. Johnson, WFAA-TV in Dallas, NPPA’s 2009 Video Editor of the Year, “Seven Daily Habits of Highly Effective Editing”
  • 2:15 p.m., Pierre Kattar,, Emmy Award-winning video producer, “Let’s Dance–Finding The Right Voice and Approach For Your Stories”

If you REGISTER NOW, you get a great rate–$35 for student members, $45 for members, $55 for everyone else. AND–even if you can’t watch it live, you get access to the archived versions. If you register later, you can still see the archived sessions but it’ll cost you more.

Slaid Cleaves sings that, “Everything you love will be taken away.” Do you love your online life? Robert Scoble is afraid it may all rot away on you.

Have you backed up enough today?

I have been a Joe McNally fan for … well, as for as long as I’ve known who he was. Which is a long, long time. And it’s not just because our sheepskins are stamped with the same bit of Latin (“Suos Cultores Scientia Coronat” – look it up). So the question then is, why?

Well, he’s a heck of a shooter–Life, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated. He’s a generalist, a visionary. But, more importantly, he’s a problem solver–something every one of us should aspire to. He’s also a photo geek of the highest level–he can out watt second ratio anyone I know over the cheese dip.

But he never lets that stuff get in the way of the photo–it’s always about the photo, even as he’s stringing up 10 or 20 or 30 Speedlights. So this blog post really speaks to who he is, and I love this little vignette:

Met a pretty confident, aggressive guy recently, while shooting this Geographic job that is currently turning me into an angst ridden pretzel. He went the equipment route immediately. No wonder. He had lots of turbocharged stuff, like, I don’t know, the Canon 3D Mark4S with the Eddie Bauer camo coating and the fast glass with the low rider flame decals. I was, you know, respectful, saying intelligent, pithy things, like “Whoah.” And, “Cool.” Maybe the occasional, “Yeah!”

It was an extensive recitation, to be sure. He flat out said he really had the gear down, knew how to work all of that stuff and that he could be a photog. Lock solid. Done deal. Shoots lots of pictures.  Then, he got thoughtful and said, “My big problem is content.”

You know how you’re smiling at someone and there’s that moment where your face just kinda gets fixed and slightly immobile, cause it doesn’t know what to do next? You keep smiling, but it feels like somebody just slapped on a quick facial mask, one of those gooey, crusty, pomagranate, blue green algae seaweed paste numbers? A glazing, if you will.

What do you say? In my head I’m screaming, like, “That’s a pretty big problem, dude!” But I think I mumbled something about just hanging in and working it.

Been there many times over the years. How many parents came up to me on the sidelines of some high school game and said they could send the paper photos if I couldn’t be at the next game … or wanting to know what kind of film I was shooting, because they thought that was their problem … or how they could have spent $5,000 on that big lens but, really, this blue-light-special, off brand lens is just as sharp … or, my favorite, that it’s nice I’m trying to break into the business, but I should really buy cameras that aren’t all brassed out, they don’t look very professional.

One of the things I’m most proud of here at the University of Georgia is our ability to supply every one of our students with gear. All of the intro students are issued a Canon Digital Rebel and Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8 lens that they use for the entire semester. The upper level students get a kit built around a Canon 30D and three lenses. We also have a pretty decent pool of specialty gear they can tap into. We do this through a lot of begging and support from Canon.

But we do it because it eliminates both an economic and psychological barrier to taking–and succeeding–in the class. Any student who is eligible to take the class has the same ability to succeed as every other student. Same instruction, same gear.

So what separated out the A students from the C students? Passion. Desire. Commitment. An understanding that photojournalism isn’t about photography, it’s about content.

And that, as McNally says, is a pretty big problem.

The New York Times‘ Lens blog (really, a must read at this point) has an essay up by David Hume Kennerly where he talks about a photo he shot of former Vice President Dick Cheney at home with his family preparing a dinner meal. The image was picked up by Newsweek, but two thirds of it was cropped out. Kennerly believes this radically changed the meaning of the image and damaged his credibility.

Photojournalists fight the credibility battle every day, from combating digitally faked photos to being lumped in with the paparazzi, a group of camera-carrying cretins who have no respect for anything, particularly the people they hound. In the case of my Cheney photo, Newsweek is guilty not just of blurring but of blowing up that line between tabloid-style sensationalism and honest photojournalism.

The comments, so far, are very telling as to how people think about images – they range from folks saying they believe he’s over-reacting to those who believe an image should never be cropped.

What do you think?

Art show opening over at ATHICA this weekend that looks at the problems of the journalism industry through art. May be worth swinging by, opening is Saturday, 7-9 p.m.