Left, Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox made this picutre of a gunman far too close for comfort in June. Right, a photograph by AP’s Julia Le Duc documents the narrative of migrants on the Mexico/U.S. border. The bodies of Salvadoran migrant Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his nearly 2-year-old daughter, Valeria, lie on the bank of the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico, June 24, 2019. They drowned trying to cross the river to Brownsville, Texas. Martinez's wife, Tania told Mexican authorities she watched her husband and child disappear in the strong current.
This issue is my sixth, which means that I have been the editor for a year. Time is at warp speed.
I am still becoming familiar with the ebb and flow of the NPPA from behind the curtain and how that affects/influences magazine content.
This issue is heavily broadcast-related due to the BOP video awards in June, which gave me an opportunity to begin a relationship with our TV members. I’m grateful to be learning a lot.
TV folks are highly energetic. I’m looking at you, Joe Little! When I asked Joe if he knew anyone who might write about the TV awards, he connected me with Tayler Reviere Verninas at NBC 7 San Diego/KNSD. Thank you, RV, for jumping on board.
TV and still photojournalists share many qualities in visual storytelling, so here is a story I have wanted to share for a while:
I didn’t know anything about anything when attending a Flying Short Course in the 1980s. When it was time for “the TV person” to talk (this may have been a first at a FSC), many of my still photographer colleagues drifted out of the auditorium. The people who left lost out.
The speaker was John Goheen and he blew me away with his stories of everyday people doing everyday things. One story stayed with me: The Lemonade Kid. It had everything. It made the audience LOL (more difficult than making people cry), the photography and editing were solid and the audio made the story. All of us deal with these facets of storytelling today.
I don’t know John, so I recently asked Google about him. I found his website and listed under “Classic Goheen stories” there it was. The story still made me LOL and the editing is what I remembered. The story took place near Seattle in the ‘80s so maybe the lemonade kid is now a CEO at Starbucks.
Goheen, a recipient of NPPA's Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award, is a three-time winner of the Television News Photographer of the Year. Stations where John worked were awarded Station of the Year three times.
Similarly, this year’s winner of the Ernie Crisp Photographer of the Year, Brandon Mowry, is on staff with the Station of the Year – WFAA in Dallas. Great work begets great work.
The new feature "29.97FPS" is a profile on a person, topic or trend of interest within the broadcast/video community. I hope to run at least three of these stories a year. It is the brainchild of Mike Schuh, WJZ-TV in Baltimore, who pitched writing about CNN’s Oliver Janney.
Those who know me understand my opinions about horse racing and might be surprised to see pictures from the Kentucky Derby in this issue.
As journalists, we cover stories that we have a personal bias for/against, but we don’t bring those views to work. I aim to celebrate the great work by our colleagues by telling the stories behind the pictures.
The Derby was newsworthy with a historic outcome in the midst of the news about horse deaths on tracks across the country. I thought the teamwork at the Courier-Journal deserved a nod.
Additionally, this was perfect timing to celebrate Bill Luster whose life-long passion for photographing the Derby just hit its 54th year. His goal is 60. :)
The slang word “shooter” has got to go as a reference to photographers.
Tom Fox’s close call with a gunman in Dallas in June (see commentary by Lindsey Perkin Wade in this issue) was the last straw for me. The language we use is tough to change and I am guilty, too. The term is habit and when I use it I grimace.
When 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, I thought I would stop using the word. When five journalists were shot and killed in their Capital Gazette newsroom a year ago, I thought I could stop using the word.
Then Tom Fox, a photojournalist – not a shooter – came within a whisker of death by a gunman. Those words are no longer acceptably interchangeable.
Think about this: What about our communities that face gun violence every day? We report on these communities and we live in them. When asking to photograph someone, do we say “May I shoot you?”
The two Pulitzer awards in photography, announced in March, are usually a cover story – until we published the Best of Photojournalism as the May/June issue this year. The Pulitzer winners are recognized in these two stories.
And then came the recent photograph by AP’s Julia Le Duc. Thank you to those editors who understood the importance of publishing this horrific image. This story is not going away and we should feel a duty to show the migrants’ narrative as their truth and their experiences as they seek new lives. ■