Bob Lynn's Visual Journalism Leadership Book Is Now Available For Free

Bob Lynn, author of "Vision Courage & Heart." Photo courtesy of Bob Lynn

By Tom Burton

Bob Lynn, the photo editor who guided the Virginia-Pilot through many years of award-winning photojournalism, is giving away copies of his newsroom management guide Vision Courage & Heart: Lessons in Leadership.

First published in 2013, the book draws from Lynn’s experiences at the Virginia-Pilot and from his earlier post at the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia. His photo staffs regularly won in NPPA contests and the International Pictures of the Year competitions. The Virginia-Pilot was also awarded Best Use of Pictures three times under Lynn’s direction.

Lynn said he and his wife Millie recently decided that they wanted to start gifting the books, especially to colleges and universities. Donations have already been made to Syracuse University, Indiana University, the Kalish Workshop and others.

Giving copies of the book to the next generation of photojournalists was a way to share his insights about visual journalism, Lynn said.

“It was such a good profession for me in so many ways. I just want to make a contribution,” Lynn said.

Anyone interested in receiving a free signed copy of Vision Courage & Heart: Lessons in Leadership can visit or email Lynn directly at [email protected] You can also preview the first chapter of the book with a PDF download here.

Lynn’s book covers various stages of a manager’s career including finding the right job (and boss), how to control photo requests, hiring the right people and building relationships with other newsroom managers.

One of Lynn’s key points is raising the bar for the quality of photojournalism. One example is Lynn’s one-point and two-point ranking system. A one-point photo is a good picture from a good situation. In that case, where the content and the moment are both dramatic and storytelling, any good photographer should come back with a good photo. In a two-point photo, the situation on the surface appears to be dull and uneventful, but a talented photographer finds a way to get an engaging image.

Lynn writes that he would praise both one-point and two-point photos that were good, but he gave extra encouragement to photographers who were consistent in coming back with winners from two-point assignments.

Though his book covers an era of newspaper publishing that is now historic, Lynn says readers will find that the basic tenets are there about leadership and communication and can be applied to the new media environment.

“This is the way to be successful if you want your people to be working at the highest level,” Lynn said.

In addition to being the former Assistant Managing Editor/Graphics at the Virginia-Pilot, Lynn was Graphics Editor at the Charleston (WV) Gazette. He also worked as a photographer at the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Los Angeles Times. He earned numerous professional awards in his career, including the NPPA’s Joseph Sprague Memorial Award. He has been a regular faculty member of the Northern Short Course and The Kalish Visual Editing Workshop. Lynn now does consulting in the U.S. and overseas.