ATHENS, GA (June 12, 2018) – Tom Burton, editor of News Photographer magazine, website and social media for the National Press Photographers Association, will be exiting his post as he has been named the 2018-19 Knight Fellow in the Ohio University School of Visual Communication, announced NPPA Executive Director Akili-Casundria Ramsess from NPPA’s headquarters at the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in Athens.
“I joined the NPPA when I was in college, and it has been one of the guiding voices throughout my career. Being able to work for the NPPA these past two years has been an honor and opportunity to help keep that mission alive,” said Burton from his base in Lady Lake, Florida.
“As an editor, there is no greater pleasure than being able to talk with outstanding journalists about their work. Laying out photo stories in News Photographer or watching the videos from the TV Quarterly Contest is a great way to spend a workday. Every day, I learn something new from stunningly talented people, and it is a gift to be able to share their stories,” Burton said.
Burton first came to work for NPPA two years ago as a part-time assistant editor to News Photographer’s long-time and inimitable editor, Donald Winslow. Burton came in at a critical juncture as NPPA was embarking on revamping the organization’s website, nppa.org. Burton worked hand-in-hand with then NPPA Secretary and Technology Chair Seth Gitner in the redesign and improving engagement with our members through social media.
Mickey Osterreicher, lead counsel for NPPA, said, “It was a real pleasure working with Tom. He had some pretty big shoes to fill when he stepped into the position, but I believe he has taken our online presence to a new level and made the transition as magazine editor seamless. It was great working with him on so many of NPPA's important advocacy stories, and he now leaves his own legacy to be built upon."
Before joining NPPA’s staff, Burton was an independent photojournalist, filmmaker and adjunct instructor at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. Before his foray into the freelance world, Burton spent more than 30 years with the Orlando Sentinel in a variety of positions as a photographer, writer, editor, multimedia producer and eventually director of photography.
As an editor, he oversaw pool coverage of national news stories such as the Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman trials, premier sports assignments such as Super Bowls, NBA Finals, NCAA Final Four to NASCAR races. As a daily news staff photographer, his assignments ranged from spot news, features, political campaigns, and sports of every category in between. He covered natural disasters, Sunday magazine projects, long-term special projects, and working in conflict zones.
Burton trained as a student at the inaugural Platypus Workshop put on by Dirck Halstead and P.F. Bentley at the NPPA News Video Workshop in 1999 and became among the first newspaper photographers to introduce video into daily staff coverage. He has since trained many journalists in multimedia journalism. He was also often the lead advisor of the Sentinel’s photo internship program. Many a photojournalist owes their start and success to his guidance.
This was the beginning of his interest in visual journalism education.
“One of the most rewarding parts of working for NPPA is the work we do in education and in the advancement of visual journalism. I want to be able to be one of the teachers for the next generation of journalists, and the Knight Fellowship will be an essential part helping me do that,” Burton said.
Though brief was his tenure, Burton made an indelible mark by helping NPPA’s growth in the ever-changing digital world. He continued News Photographer’s legacy as an advocate for best practices in photojournalism, a platform to display great photojournalism and a place to highlight the people who produce outstanding journalism as well as on-going resources for information and education for our members and the greater photojournalism community.
“He was a great partner and an invaluable resource to me, the staff and our board as we engaged in numerous projects to re-engage our members by bringing awareness to our relevance and value through the magazine, web, newsletters and social media.,” Ramsess said. “He will be missed. Along with his many talents, his unflagging optimism and can-do spirit made him a joy to work with, particularly as we grappled with the many challenges our industry and by consequence our organization faces.”
NPPA president Michael P. King said, “Tom has been a wonderful editor for News Photographer and NPPA. He has a great opportunity ahead of him at Ohio University. I’m thrilled for him, as well as my former professors and the current students. I sincerely wish Tom the very best as a Bobcat.”
Burton’s last day will be August 10. In the meantime, he will be around to put out one more issue of News Photographer, continue to update the website, social media and put together the weekly newsletter. NPPA plans on filling the position as soon as possible and will have a posting for the position out within the next couple of days. The NPPA leadership hopes to make a decision at least a couple of weeks before Burton’s departure. He wants to make the transition as smooth as possible for the new editor, so there is no interruption of publications and communications. NPPA wishes Burton good luck and great success in his next endeavor!