D.C. Trip - Final Summary
The D.C. trip was one for the books. We visited 16 places in five days! I think the biggest thing that I realized was that I want to be able to do more than just sports. At the end of the day, photographing sports is my passion and is something that I want to be able to photograph regularly, whether that’s a sports story of a sporting event. Sports is what gets me up in the morning and makes me enjoy what I love to do. I don’t want to limit myself to just sports. I want sports to be part of what I do. I really enjoy what Brent Lewis is doing with The Undefeated. I like how it’s not just sports, its race and culture as well.
One place that I enjoyed was The Museum, our first stop. There were a lot of interesting artifacts from our history in there. The thing that interested me most at The Museum was the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. The whole experience in the gallery was quite amazing. The walls are covered with winning images and you can sit down at a computer screen to scan through the winning entries from each year and listen to the photographer and editors talk about the images. Being able to listen to them speak on the images adds another dimension to what we are looking at and reading on the walls.
I think one thing that was reinforced during our trip to D.C. was that I would enjoy working for a wire service. I enjoy the challenge of going someplace and trying to make an interesting picture that tells the story of what is happening. I’m interested in covering sports and politics in the D.C. area. I think if this is the route I want to go, then D.C. is the place to be. D.C. is the home of politics and is surrounded by sports teams. Each of the wire services that we visited said that it is a competitive market and is tough to get into. I like the challenge of trying to see something different while in a competitive field in D.C. Some of the best photographers cover politics and sports in D.C. I think that it would push me to be better and try and find the unique and quirky moments that happen every day in our nations capital.
There were some places that surprised me while on our trip; Vox and Pew Charitable Trust. I knew about both Vox and Pew before visiting them but now, they are a place that I would enjoy working for. Kainaz Amaraia made some really good points in our visit that you can read below and really made me think about things. They are using different social media platforms to tell stories that are different than what everyone else is doing. Kainaz is essentially a one-man-band at Vox, which is only three and a half years old. Just by listening to her talk, you can tell that she is passionate about what she does and would be someone I would like to work with in the future.
At Pew, Bronwen Latimer and Lee Gillenwater really made me interested in what they are doing. They have great photo stories in their print and online as well as great video. Pew covers a wide variety of issues that I would be interested in working with them on, which you can read in my Day Five blog post. I was expecting to learn about data and fact checking but I didn’t really hear anything about the while visiting Pew. Bronwen is essentially just getting the photo department going for Pew and I think it will be very exciting to see where they go in the coming years.
One of the bigger highlights of the week was being able to sit in on the 4 p.m. budget meeting at The Washington Post. I’ve been in budget meetings during my previous internships but this one was different. It was pretty amazing to see Marty Baron walk in the Ben Bradlee conference room and begin the budget meeting. At one point after the budget meeting, Cal looked over at me and said “that was kind of intense.” I agree, it was intense but it was so interesting to listen to each person list of what they had on their plate for print/web for the next day. There is so much behind the scenes that people don’t ever see. I think that is why it was so interesting was because we don’t normally get to see that, especially a budget meeting with Baron. I’ve always enjoyed the photojournalism and journalism coming out of The Post.
Some thing that was hit on at almost everyplace we went was the use of emerging technology. This was especially talked about at The Washington Post. Their owner is Jeff Bezos, who was announced as the worlds richest person as I am writing this with a net worth of $90 billion. According to MaryAnne Golon, Bezos is very involved in emerging technologies and companies like Snapchat, Instagram, and other apps and technologies come to The Post to test things in the works and get their opinion. I think every place that we visited is trying to figure out what the next big technology is that the will be able to use to better cater to their audience.
National Geographic has their photographers do Instagram takeovers and they utilize the Instagram stories feature to show behind the scenes of what the photographers are covering. Part of our job is to take people to places they wouldn’t normally be able to go. I think this is a great way to get their followers engaged in what National Geographic is covering.
I think the big takeaway from this trip, as it was for the New York City trip junior year, is that the industry is small and everybody knows everyone. Be nice and don’t be an asshole. Work on things you’re passionate about and always make sure there’s something that makes you want to get up in the morning. What is it that makes you get up in the morning? It will be a long career if you don’t have something that makes you get out of bed everyday and make pictures.
Thanks again to everyone that helped our class make this trip possible. I had a great experience and who knows, maybe I’ll be in D.C. after I graduate in December.