2005 Flying Short Course Wraps Up In Eugene; Student Quarterly Clip Contest Moves Online

The 48th annual National Press Photographers Association Flying Short Course wrapped up Sunday at the University of Oregon in Eugene, concluding its third and final stop of this year's coast-to-coast program. The NPPA's traditional fall educational event, which has brought award-winning speakers and workshops to photojournalists and students in cities across American for nearly five decades, opened Friday at Boston University's College of Communications and appeared Saturday in Austin at the University of Texas College of Communication School of Journalism.

In this year's new format, each Flying Short Course stop was a two-day affair with national traveling faculty presenting programs on one day, and local and regional faculty presenting workshops and programs during an additional day. In another new twist this year, the Flying Short Course moved out of hotel and convention hall venues and back into college and university journalism schools in keeping with the tradition of being an educational event in an educational environment.

The national traveling faculty for 2005 included NPPA Newspaper Photographer of the Year Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune; 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronicle; Bill Marr, associate editor of National Geographicmagazine; two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist MichaelWilliamson of The Washington Post; Brian Storm, president of MediaStorm; and freelance photojournalist and editor DaveEinsel. Full information about the Flying Short Course is available online at www.flyingshortcourse.org.

During the 48th annual NPPA Flying Short Course, print auctions in Boston, Austin, and Eugene raised cash for the NPPA/NPPF Katrina Relief Fund. The print auction in Eugene raised $1,854 according to NPPA vice president Tony Overman, and the print auction in Austin raised $1,425 according to NPPA president Alicia Wagner Calzada.

"I think the programs were great, the traveling staff was great, and the caliber of the presentations were very high. It was a well-rounded group who covered a wide spectrum of topics and everyone seemed to be impressed with the two-day format," said Timothy "T.C." Baker, the Flying Short Course organizing chairperson. "We've already started planning the 2006 Flying Short Course and are looking at potential sites."

"Everyone raved about 'Hands-On Saturday' in Eugene," NPPA vice president Tony Overman reported. "Portfolio reviewers were overwhelmed with students. We had 20 reviewers and they were completely full. The crowd stayed for hours and everyone was pleased afterwards." Overman wrote to the NPPA board that the "University of Oregon was fantastic, ... the venue was awesome, ... and the national faculty was great."

On Saturday at the Flying Short Course local and regional program in Eugene, Overman announced a partnership with CollegeFrontPage.com to take the NPPA Student Quarterly Clip Contest online. (Read a related story and the annoucement here).

“The Flying Short Course is important because it’s an opportunity for the photojournalism community to come together and share our passion for the craft, and to help each other to get better at what we do,” said Brian Storm, president of MediaStorm, a multimedia production studio that publishes social documentary projects incorporating photojournalism and audio reporting. Before MediaStorm he was vice president of News, Multimedia and Assignment Services for Corbis, and for seven years before that he was director of multimedia at MSNBC.com.

In his Flying Short Course presentation, Storm talked about topics such as: Why Photojournalists Should Gather Audio; Podcast interview on Interactive Narratives; The Week in Pictures; Picture Stories; Aging in America by Ed Kashi and Julie Winokur; Hope at Heartbreak Motel by Kari Rene Hall; and the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay by Jim Seida and John Brecher. Storm also plans to cite two Corbis projects that he's proud of: Corbis Assignment Services, and the Corbis News Section Front.

San Francisco Chronicle staff photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice showed her full essay "Lion Heart" and talked about the story, the saga of an Iraqi boy named Saleh who was mained by a roadside bomb in Iraq and saved by American doctors who brought the child to a children's hospital in Oakland, CA, in a humanitarian effort. Twenty images from her essay won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for Fitzmaurice, and she told Flying Short Course audiences some of the stories behind the pictures as well as the efforts that it took for her and a reporter to stay on the story for an extended period of time.

FSC speaker Bill Marr, associate editor of National Geographic magazine, showed workshop audiences some of the new approaches the magazine is taking for its covers on the issues that go on the news racks as compared to the different covers that subscribers receive at home, as well as other new features that are in the magazine now since photojournalistChris Johns assumed the editor-in-chief's role in January of this year.

NPPA Best Of Photojournalism Newspaper Photographer of the Year Jim Gehrz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune told the FSC audience about how his winning portfolio came from shooting daily general assignments, while two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Williamsonshared a few of the discoveries he's made by working a shift or two a week on the picture desk at The Washington Post and what it's like on the "other" side of the newsroom, where picture editors represent photography in news meetings. He also talked about how he goes about building relationships with his subjects before photographing them, and what it takes to get the pictures that he wants to make.

In a panel discussion Saturday evening in Austin, photographers who covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina showed photographs and talked about their experiences, including some of the close-calls they encountered while doing their jobs in the hours and days after floodwater filled New Orleans as violence broke out during rescue and evacuation efforts. Eric Gay of the Associated Press, Jake Nielson of Agence France Presse, Ted Jackson of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Melissa Phillip of the Houston Chronicle, and JohnDavenport of the San Antonio Express-News were among those who participated in the discussion.

Anita Baca of the San Antonio Express-News says that at the Austin print silent auction, “the tender and touching image of Saleh (the ‘Lion Heart’) photographed by Deanne Fitzmaurice of the San Francisco Chronicle, the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography winning photograph, brought the highest bid of $125 from John Liston, photography editor for The Monitor in McAllen, TX. A photograph by ZachRyall, director of photography for the Austin American-Statesman, of the late Stevie Ray Vaughn and his brother, Jimmy, playing a double-neck guitar, drew a lot of bidding as well. San Antonio College photography advisor Tricia Buchhorn took home the much sought after print of the Texas Blues legend Vaughn for $100.

After the hurricanes the NPPA staff in Durham, NC, prepared consolidated online resource Web pages for journalists covering Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Katrina’s aftermaths. Also, applications are now being accepted from photojournalists who wish to apply for financial relief from the NPPA-NPPF/Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

The 48th Annual Flying Short Course was sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association, the professional society of photojournalists founded in 1946 and based in Durham, NC, along with the generous support of Canon and Nikon.