D.C. Trip - Day One
It’s been two years since I went on the New York City trip with William and my former classmates, who have since graduated. After arriving in Fairfax, Virginia last night, I was excited to start the week off visiting some of the places that I aspire to work at someday.
We kicked of our D.C. trip in proper photojournalism fashion with our first stop at Newseum. Here, we explored six floors of some of the most influential artifacts, images, and stories in our history. Particularly, I was most interested in the Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery. In the gallery, images are displayed from every Pulitzer Prize-winning entry since it began in 1942. One thing that was interesting was being able to watch a video that featured photographers and editors talking about the meaning and feeling behind winning a Pulitzer Prize. In the video, Eddie Adams says, ”If it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, that’s a good picture.”
After exploring the Newseum and a quick 15 minute Uber ride, our next stop was at Associated Press. AP is a business to business wire service that covers news and sports. It is AP’s job to get news and sport images from events onto the wire so news services across the world can access them for their stories. Being that I am interested in sports, I have always wanted to be part of the AP team. When we arrived at AP, we were greeted by Associated Press Deputy Chief of Bureau David Ake, who also bought our whole class lunch. Thank you AP and David Ake! While enjoying our lunch, Ake explained that the photojournalism is a shrinking market and very competitive to get into. It’s not easy but it can be done. “You have to be hungry to succeed and if you stick with it, you’ll make it,” said Ake. RIT Alumna and AP Staff Photographer Jacquelyn Martin joined in on our discussion and talked about her career path and how she ended up at AP. “Don’t turn your nose to a job in a different part of the country you aren’t familier with,” said Martin. She talked about three things that will help us become successful in the photojournalism industry.
These three things will not only help you succeed in the photojournalism industry and your career, but in life as well.
Some more quotes from our visit with AP.
“Carry your gear, know your tool.” - David Ake.
“It is a business, don’t cut yourself short.” - David Ake referring to freelancing.
“Know the news. Know the story.” - David Ake referring to standing out when you’re surrounded by photographers.
“If you have to make an excuse for your photograph, I don’t want to see it.” - David Ake
After lunch, we made our way to NPR. There, we were greeted by RIT Alumnae Emily Bogle, photo editor and art director, and video producer Nikki Walker. Bogle and Walker talked about making work that will “suddenly make you care about something you’ve never heard of.” They also talked about the importance of know WHY you’re telling a story. Walker is currently a video producer for the Jazz Night in America series. Before Jazz Night in America, Walker worked on one of NPR’s well known video series, Tiny Desk Concert. Since it began 10 years ago, Tiny Desk Concert has published over 500 videos.
Next up was Reuters. Here, we were greeted by Jim Bourg, editor in charge of the Washington Bureau. As I am interested in working for wire services, Reuters is another place I would like to work for some day. One thing that interests me about Reuters is they stand out from other wire services. Jim talked about how he likes when his photographers get creative. Jim talked publishing images on the wire that you wouldn’t normally see on other wire services. He told us a story about how he took a picture of John McCain sticking his tongue and arms out during the 2008 presidential campaign. The next day, they threatened to kick the Reuters photographer out of the press pool and Jim had to talk them out of it. The photograph made people feel something, good and bad, which makes it an impactful image. I think it is important to publish images like these because it humanizes these politicians, who often seem larger than life. As a photographer, this is enticing because it shows that Jim wants to be different and tell the story in a unique way. This gives the photographer a lot of freedom to get creative and look for weird and quirky things that are happening every day.
Day one was a success. Now onto day two where we will be visiting The Undefeated, the Pulitzer Center, McClatchy, and Reuters where we will be meeting with RIT Alum Mitch Koppelman. Stay tuned for day two!