News Archive

John G. Morris: It's Just One World

This Op/Ed essay was written by John G. Morris, formerly of The New York Times and Magnum and now living in Paris, who is the author of Get The Picture: A Personal History Of Photojournalism (University of Chicago Press, 2002).

PARIS, FRANCE - Hurricane Katrina struck the American Gulf Coast just as the 17th annual Visa Pour l’Image, the international photojournalism festival, opened in Perpignan, in southwest France. Katrina’s first photos were promptly screened. Several photographers and one editor, National Geographic’s senior editor David Griffin, abruptly returned to cover it. The three thousand photojournalism professionals gathered here were acutely reminded that nature spares no one. Katrina made Americans realize that we too can use some help. We’re not really so different from the rest of the world.

European journalists, arriving in New Orleans, reported that the scenes reminded them of the Third World – or even Baghdad.

* * * * *

When the National Press Photographers Association was founded in Atlantic City in 1946, World War II had ended a year earlier. Most of NPPA’s founders were veterans of the war in one way or another. Some were press photographers who had covered it for the picture pool (Acme, AP, INP, and Life). A few had covered it as cameramen for one of the five twice-weekly newsreels. Others had served as photographers in the armed forces.

When the war ended, most of those photographers were happy just to cover their hometowns again. Their publishers were glad to leave picture coverage of the rest of the world to the wire services, which largely relied on foreign affiliates. Life and National Geographic were about the only American publications that consistently sent photographers overseas.

In the 1950s things began to change. Cameras themselves went worldwide, with Cologne’s Photokina awakening the photo industry to its international potential. The Korean War introduced Japanese cameras and lenses. Independent picture agencies sprang up, led byMagnum but soon followed by many others, in Paris, London, Stockholm, Milan. World Press Photo was born, encouraging photographers around the world.

Swiftly, television took over the screen from newsreels. Vietnam brought war directly into the home, but the front was still far away. It took awhile for Americans to question the assumptions on which that war was based, but the result was disillusion.

Television soon proved more economical than print for reaching the mass audience through advertising. One by one the big American weeklies went out of business. But print did not die. Clever publishers discovered they could make money by whetting the taste of special audiences – for sports, for fashion, for celebrity, for finance. Newspapers found that photos could do the same for them. Art directors joined newspapers, and founded the Society for Newspaper Design. Editors discovered that they could win awards by occasionally sending a star photographer abroad. Television anchors parachuted to backdrops faraway – and soon came home.

Routine world news, however, continued to suffer. American networks closed their foreign bureaus. Little attention was paid to the work of the United Nations and its related agencies – state legislatures got more space. America’s price for this inattention is colossal. Polls reveal the abundant ignorance of the American public when it comes to foreign affairs, or even geography. Smugness is rampant in an America that seems incapable of appreciating either the metric system or Charles Darwin.

If it takes catastrophe to bring mankind together, we are now blessed. We’ve certainly had enough of it in the new century. From New York on 9/11 we have traveled to Kabul to Baghdad to Madrid to Fallujah to the shores of the tsunami to the London Underground to Katrina, to name only the big tickets. It is a credit to American photojournalists that we have gone to all of them, attempting to report what really happened. We’re not so good at reporting why it happened.

The record of recent events is unsettling, but hope dies last, as my fellow Chicagoan Studs Terkel has said. I still have hope for our country, a country for which I bleed even though I have lived overseas for 22 years. My generation – Tom Brokaw prematurely called it the Greatest Generation – is tired. You younger photojournalists take it from here! Yes, we must overcome!

- John G. Morris 
Paris, September 30, 2005

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NPPA And NPPF Now Taking Applications From Photojournalists For The Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund

DURHAM, NC  – The National Press Photographers Association, along with the National Press Photographers Foundation, today announced that applications are now being accepted from photojournalists for the NPPF/Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, a disaster fund established to help photojournalists who have lost their homes, lost their jobs, or may have been separated from their families because of Hurricane Katrina.

An application for consideration for relief is now available as a downloadable Acrobat .PDF file here. Those wishing to apply for funds should download the form, print it out, answer the brief questions, and send in the request as soon as possible. Complete instructions are on the form.

A committee has been established to receive and review the requests for aid. Those on the committee include NPPA past president BobGould at WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, MI; John Ballance at The Advocate in Baton Rouge, LA; and Tim Mueller at The Advocate.

Gould says that funds will be distributed based on need, affiliation with NPPA, and how much money is in the relief fund. NPPA members will be given first priority.

NPPA and NPPF solicited donations from the journalism community and the public to create the fund. The NPPF, often referred to simply as “the Foundation,” is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) charity; all donations to the NPPF and to the Katrina Relief Fund are tax deductible.

Those who wish to donate money to the NPPF/Hurricane Katrina Relif Fund can click here to download an Acrobat .PDF version of the donation form. The form has instructions about how to make a donation via check, credit card, or PayPal and where to send the donation. PayPal members will be given an online link to use for their donation.

For more information please contact Gould at [email protected].

Click here to download the .PDF form to apply for the relief fund. See related story from earlier, and a fund raising story here.

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Best Use of Photography: 2nd Quarter 2005 Results For News, Feature, Picture Pages, Sports, Multi-Page

Because of the extensive coverage of Hurricane Katrina, there will be added categories for the 3rd Quarter Best Use of Photography contest. There is precedence for this: categories were added for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and for 9/11 coverage in 2001.

ALL PAGES RELATED TO KATRINA, including its hit on south Florida and the damage in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, should be entered in the following 3 categories:

KATRINA FRONT PAGES: these would be the A1's of your papers.

KATRINA SINGLE PAGES: all other single page entries.

KATRINA MULTI PAGE: all entries of more than one page: but no more than 30 pages in each entry (suggestion: the tighter you edit the entry the better chance it has of winning).

EACH CATEGORY IS LIMITED TO 10 ENTRIES.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU SEPARATE ALL YOUR ENTRIES BY CATEGORY when you send them ... and make sure to get them to me on time, because they will be sent out to the judges on time. A suggestion: If you mail the entries rather than use one or two day delivery, leave at least a week for them to arrive.

AND MAKE SURE THE MULTI PAGE ENTRIES ARE PROPERLY PREPARED (read the rules posted on the NPPA site if you don't remember them!)

If you have any questions, call Mark Edelson at 561 820-4490 or eMail me at [email protected]


 

2005 2nd Quarter BUP Results

Judges for news, feature, sports, and picture pages: Paula Nelson and Thea Breite. The Boston Globe. Judges for multiple page entries: Sara Guinn, Larry Larsen, Jeff Saffan, Kenny Irby. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies. 

NEWS:

1st: The Dallas Morning News, April 9, 2005
“Go in Peace, Pope John Paul II”
Jamie Huckabee, Anne Farrar, Willliam Snyder, Barbara Davidson, Smiley Pool
Judges’ comments: Absolutely gorgeous, really smart. A wonderful, unexpected photo played just beautifully. The page is extremely elegant. The headline doesn’t intrude on the photograph. It’s gutsy…even though it shouldn’t be. Some newspapers might say “we need to see the Pope.” This group recognized the value of this image and played it the way it should have been played.

2nd: Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2005
"Smugglers Accelerate the Use of Cars"
Rob St. John, Mark Boster
Judges’ comments: Really strong photos. The subject is focused. The lede photo is really nice and played well. Even though the secondary photo is large, it doesn’t compete with the lede. There is a great deal of content that is easily accessible because the design doesn’t interfere with the impact of the photographs.

3rd: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, May 2, 2005 
Metro/State section front
Vickie Kettlewell, Brian Peterson
Judges’ comments: This page works because the photo column played as a centerpiece gives the page a “breath of fresh air.” The photo is gorgeous and it’s played really nicely with space surrounding it. The centerpiece package infuses some air into the otherwise very newsy front section page, yet still looks as if it belongs. Everything else is clean, well-cropped and doesn’t interfere.

HM: The Orlando Sentinel, April 16, 2005 
“It’s like the loss of our own child”
Team
Judges’ comments: The linear manner of the layout really gives you the before and after feeling. The sense of loss is communicated. The quote works well to help you to understand the story quickly.

HM: The Hartford Courant, June 5, 2005
“809 Days”
Bruce Moyer, Suzette Moyer, Anja Niedringhaus
Judges’ comments: Nice, clean, simple, strong photo. The ambiguity of the photo – are we the good guys or the bad guys – works well to communicate the idea of the package.


 

FEATURE:

1st: Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2005,
“In Spain, the Complete Dali”
Richard Derk, Kirk McKoy, Annn Moonen
Judges’ comments: Everything is perfect. Really nice use of the photograph of Dali. He is effectively placed coming out of the corner of the page. The smaller images are used well and indeed work well small and don’t compete because of their placement on the page. Everything comes together to make a really “eye popping” page.

2nd: The Hartford Courant, June 2, 2005,
“The Perfect Pea”
Elizabeth Bristow and Michael Kodas
Judges’ comments: The type and the photograph work beautifully together. VERY clean, VERY simple, beautiful photograph with great use of the shallow depth of field. Green type for the word “pea” was a nice touch.

3rd: Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2005,
“Beyond Hurt”
Kirk McKoy, Rob Gauthier, Steve Banks
Judges’ comments: Wonderful mood and use of light in a photograph on a page that is cleanly organized. Terrific use of a quote instead of a straight caption. The words “darkness” and “despair” from the quote are strengthened by the image itself. The use of gray type doesn’t overpower the image and the space around the photograph and the words helps the flow of the page.

HM: The Orlando Sentinel, May 1, 2005, 
“Outdoor Adventures”
Team
Judges’ comments: Wonderful movement. It feels as though the image is powering right off the page. The type doesn’t compete for attention. Really nice.

HM: The Hartford Courant, May 1, 2005, 
“Not in the swim”
Elizabeth Bristow and Jen Rochette
Judges’ comments: Wonderful, fun photo…didn’t like the type in the photo and separated so much from the SWIM.

HM: The Oregonian, May 14, 2005, 
“Dancing chic to chic”
Rob Finch, Mike Davis, Michael Rollins, Molly Swisher, Randy Cox

HM: The Oregonian, April 22, 2005,
“Seven days of one big red ball”
Jamie Francis, Mike Davis, Michael Rollins, Kira Park, Randy Cox

HM: Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2005, 
“A distinct science”
Hal Wells and team


 

PICTURE PAGE:

1st: The Oregonian, June 19, 2005, 
“Every Day is Father's Day”
Motoya Nakamura, Mike Davis, Gabrielle Glazer, Michael Rollins, Beth Weismann, Randy Cox
Judges’ comments: Very simple story. Everyone could do it, yet it’s photographed VERY well and designed simply. There is a good, strong relationship between the images. They stand on their own and don’t compete. Each image has the size it needs to “read” or be seen.

2nd: The Hartford Courant, April 17, 2005 
“Outside Gate E, the Family Gathers”
Bruce Moyer, Mark Mirko, Suzette Moyer
Judges’ comments: Beautiful portraits, divinely used. Layout is done around the photography. The big bulls eye (the belly) photo was a wonderful choice for the lede photograph and everything else works around it in a somewhat circular motion. In other words, the layout mimics the lede photograph. It’s not crowded and the space helps the reader navigate through the double truck. Really nice.

3rd: Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2005, 
“A Harvest of Despair”
Mary Cooney, Gail Fisher, Michael Whitley, Carolyn Cole
Judges’ comments: Nice to see the lede image used so well. Clean, simple, strong content. Sometimes when you have a double truck, the thought is that you have more space to use and the tendency is to use more. That temptation was resisted and a clean effective layout using 4 photos over 2 pages was the result. Each photo makes a very different point in telling the story.

HM: The Concord Monitor, Aril 5, 2005 
“Drip, Drip, Drip”
Dan Habib, Preston Gannaway
Judges’ comments: Very unique photos of a very ordinary process played cleanly and simply. Wonderful lede image. Too bad about the curry chicken salad ad and such.

HM: The Dallas Morning News, April 9, 2005 
“The People's Mass”
Anne Farrar, Michael Hamtil, William Snyder, Smiley Pool, Barbara Davidson
Judges’ comments: Nice use of visual repetition of graphics, figures, patterns that creates a visual theme that holds the page together. Simple, nice.

HM: The Albuquerque Tribune, May 24, 2005,
“Swinging in the breeze”
Craig Fritz, Natalie Ramirez, Mark Holm
Judges’ comments: The whole idea of the page is “seeing” and there are 3 simple images that represent great seeing organized simply on the page. Great lede image. Wonderful lines and composition.

HM: The Concord Monitor, April10, 2005, 
“Weaving a New World”
Dan Habib, Preston Gannaway
Judges’ comments: Not just a collection of images on a barbershop, but a story about a changing neighborhood wonderfully illustrated and beautifully shot. It tells the story of new immigrants by a change in everyday services. Wonderful lede image.


 

SPORTS:

1st: The News & Observer, April 23, 2005, 
“Over and out”
Kevin Keister, Robert Willett, Jon Blasco, Jennifer Bowles
Judges’ comments: Very solid. Very big story that managed to use 3 distinct elements of the story, illustrated strongly, that don’t repeat content. The tight photos with the quotes are good. The unique scene of the press conference gave a strong sense of place and everyone withstood the temptation to crop it. The “behind the scenes” of the coach wrapped it all up nicely. Well covered, photographed, displayed and packaged. The other elements on the page don’t compete. Very impressive.

2nd: The Oregonian, April 17, 2005,
“Stoudamire”
Bruce Ely, Joel Davis, Lisa Cowan, Patty Reksten, Randy Rasmussen
Judges’ comments: Very nice idea. The concept of the photo composite is really fun. The package itself could have used some visual clues to help the reader understand the approach more quickly and to facilitate the understanding. Suggestion was made to make the “How it was done” box more prominent because believe it or not…it took us some time to find the explanation. Also would have liked to see a cutline relating something important about the player under the composite photo. We had to work to figure it out. (Keep in mind, we are coming to this page as the reader would…without any prior knowledge of the idea of the package.) Really nice stretch of the imagination, though. Well done.

3rd: The Dallas Morning News, April16, 2005, 
“Don't put it past him”
Michael Hamtil, Tom Fox, Rob Schneider
Judges’ comments: Headline and dek makes this package work. They help to explain the concept of running the photo vertically without beating the reader over the head. The photograph is extremely well done, composed tightly and not static. Great elements of movement and every inch is used to communicate. We often face the question of what we can do to maximize the impact of an image. This works. Nothing else on the page competes. NICE and a bit of fun and surprise..

HM: The Anchorage Daily News, April 5, 2005 
“Carolina Coup”
Team
Judges’ comments: Strong, solid image with great impact. It’s cropped well and used excellently to maximize the content. The supplemental images don’t compete on the page.

HM: The Palm Beach Post / La Palma, June 24, 2005
“Wimbledon, fuego al rojo vivo”
Mark Edelson, Em Mendez, Associated Press photos
Judges’ comments: Good collection of images that work really nicely together. It’s a light look at Wimbledon. Nicely shot, played, cleanly displayed. It works.


 

MULTIPLE PAGE:

1st: The Hartford Courant, June 5, 2005, 
"By the Numbers"
Bruce Moyer, Suzette Moyer, and numerous wire and agency photographers.
Judges' comments: Was by far an impressive and compelling entry that was packed with information and extremely approachable. The work exhibited masterful integration of elements and pacing and space. The picture editing was bold, clear and thoughtful and the presentation really pulled you in. The comprehensive timeline is the backbone, and structure that held up the photography, graphics and written stories in a powerful way.

2nd: Los Angeles Times, April 2005, 
"The Death of Pope John Paul II"
Colin Crawford, Mary Cooney, Calvin Hom, Steve Stroud and Alan Hagman
Judges' comments: Pope John Paul: Looking back on this historic occasion, the judges felt that this was one of if not the best collection photographic reporting amassed. The overall visual narrative is breath taking. The marriage of photographs, written stories and headlines are well crafted and integrated. The commitment to visual reporting is obviously respected and being celebrated. 

3rd: The Palm Beach Post, May-June 2005, 
"The Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs"
Team
Judges' comments: WOW! This is outstanding daily coverage. They were all over this event and owned the photographic coverage. Every aspect and angle is presented in the report, they clearly set out to “own and dominate” the coverage. This is an outstanding example of blanket coverage.

HM: The Palm Beach Post, June 2005, 
Florida Food and Travel, "Return of the Barefoot Mailman"
Tim Stepien, Michael Alicea, Kristen Bergman Morales, Jenna Lehtola, Nicole Neal
Judges' comments: This is a very creative and exciting use of illustrative photography. The planning is clear and it exhibits tremendous risk taking. “A gamble that paid off huge dividends.” This is an example for other papers to be bold, honest and creative. We should all take a chance every now and then. 

HM: The San Jose Mercury News, April 10, 2005,
"Pope John Paul II"
Caroline E. Couig, Mark Damon, Jeff Hindenach

HM: The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, May 1, 2005,
"Survivors"
Mike Stocker, Tim Rasmussen, Nicole Bogdas

HM: The Palm Beach Post, April-May 2005,
"Liberation 1945"
Greg Lovett, Mark Edelson, Daniela Dornic Jones and staff

HM: The Commercial Appeal, June 12, 2005, 
"Murder in Mississippi"
Jeff McAdory, John Sale, John Nelson

HM: The Naples Daily News, May 8-10, 2005, 
"Africa: Seeds of Hope"
Eric Strachan, Judy Lutz, Lexey Swall

 

Comments? Corrections? More information? Next quarter's deadline? Contact BUP contest chair Mark Edelson at [email protected]

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Orange County Register's Bruce Chambers Photographs Dramatic Rescue Of Katrina Victim 15 Days After Storm

Orange County Register photojournalist Bruce Chambers and reporter Keith Sharon have been traveling, sleeping, eating, and living with the California Task Force 5 Search and Rescue team of Orange County, CA, for the last two weeks as they work in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Chambers tells News Photographer the circumstances that led up to his being in the right place at the right time to make this week’s dramatic image of a New Orleans resident from his home:

By Bruce Chambers

After Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, reporter Keith Sharon worked the phones to catch a ride with our county’s swift water rescue team. That team was dispatched to New Orleans just a few days after the hurricane hit. We were denied access to them because they were flying on military transport. However, the following day we were given two hours notice to join up with Task Force 5 on a bus ride to New Orleans. I had absolutely no idea the assignment was coming and had one hour to pack and say goodbye to my family.

What followed was a 32-hour-bus ride to Dallas, TX, where FEMA directed us to the Hyatt Regency Hotel for a well-deserved night’s rest. What we didn’t know was that the stay would be a four-day delay while FEMA bureaucracy tried to get its act together and find us a slot in the FEMA rescue camp at the NFL’s New Orleans Saints training center in Metairie, LA.

The frustration of the team was thick and unbearable. Trained to rescue people, with veterans from 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, the team was embarrassed to be housed in a four-star hotel while people went unsaved. To make matters worse, they were ordered to keep a low profile in Dallas in order to avoid any impression that they were enjoying themselves while people died. Even more frustrating, 10,000 refugees were pouring into the Reunion Arena next door to the hotel, and the team was told not to go there and help because they had to ready to move at any time. Some ignored their orders and volunteered at the arena, passing out food and spending time with people who were hurting. To make the situation even more bizarre, there was an anime convention being held in the hotel. Conventioneers, dressed as cartoon characters, mingled with the firefighters.

Finally the call came to move, and Wednesday morning the team arrived in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. Immediately, half the team went on assignment to the northern neighborhoods, which were the most flooded in New Orleans, and waited for boats to begin a search. No boats ever came. The only thing they saved was a parakeet left by an evacuee on the raised highway while they waited. The bird became their mascot and was renamed Katrina. Again, bureaucracy slowed them down.

For the following four days the team traveled to St. Bernard Parish, about two hours southeast from central New Orleans, to search house to house, often in waist-deep water, in bayou like conditions. Resources, particularly boats, were scarce commodities. Hundreds of boats littered the streets, but the team was not allowed to confiscate them for use. Team leaders spent hours building connections with other agencies to insure collaboration with their boats and transportation in order to get the job done. In those four days of work the team, delayed and a week too late, did not discover one live victim. They marked dead body locations, entering each home and marking the homes they searched with fluorescent paint. Their final day they met a family that had stayed in place and needed food, water, and other comforts of life. They made a special run the following day with a truckload of clean water, cigarettes, food, and ice. Up to that point, that humanitarian mission was the highlight of a frustrating two weeks.

On Tuesday, September 13, the team was working its second day of searching in the Broadmoor District of New Orleans. Another bureaucratic policy change was eating at them. They had been ordered to stop forced entry into homes. They could only enter if one of their search dogs alerted on a home or if they heard noises. They found several dead bodies in the neighborhood, and a few residents who came out to meet them but remained in their homes after the team’s doctor checked their welfare.

The team completed its work and was cleaning up, decontaminating their boots and gear, when a medical aid call came in from a nearby National Guard unit. I had been documenting the work of the team’s logistics leader that day, as we had switched into the mode of writing and photographing personality profiles. The logistics chief drove a red fire department pickup, and the doctor and a paramedic jumped in the cab. Sharon and I jumped onto the tailgate and rode along for the two-mile stretch. We arrived on scene to see the National Guard treating Edgar Hollingsworth, 74, on the sidewalk outside his home at 1927 Lopez Ave.

At first I followed the doctor to the sidewalk and began photographing the doctor. (That photograph was on The Washington Post's front page the next day.) However, soon the Task Force 5 Leaders arrived and signaled us to back off. Apparently a commander of the National Guard unit was upset and yelling at his own guard unit videographer for shooting the scene and was ordering him away. A CBS News camera crew was at the end of the street arguing for access to the scene. I snuck a few frames from my camera, with a telephoto, while the camera sat on my lap, as I sat on the pickup’s tailgate across the street.

The Task Force leader asked Sharon and I to unload the truck because they weren’t sure if an ambulance was coming. We complied because we were the only ones there able to do the job. So while the Task Force 5 medics attended to Hollingsworth, we stacked logistics supplies on the sidewalk across the street. An ambulance arrived on scene. The CBS crew eventually prevailed and I went back to shooting the scene. Wanting to get the house in the background, I stepped around behind the ambulance gurney. Just as National Guard Specialist Manuel Ramos lifted Hollingsworth off the sidewalk onto the gurney I took the photograph.

After Hollingsworth was transported to the hospital we interviewed the National Guard commander and our own medic team. We returned to base and transmitted the photograph and story by cell card modem.

The guys of Task Force 5 were in a celebratory mood. After nearly two weeks of frustration they had finally been able to participate in a live rescue. Sixteen days after the hurricane hit, Edgar Hollingsworth – who was near death when discovered – was the first live rescue in New Orleans in the past two days. The team’s counterparts, the swift water rescue team, had tales of saving more than 400 people and that stuck in their guts. That day the team ordered pizza from the newly opened Dominos Pizza, smoked cigars, and played stickball in camp.

Most importantly, the team was hopeful that their rules of engagement would be changed with the evidence of this rescue. They wanted their ability to carry out forcible entry to buildings to be restored because they felt they were missing people who could not cry out or respond to their calls.

Earlier in the day another California task force had passed Hollingsworth’s home while he was inside unconscious on a couch; they knocked on the door, marked his home as cleared with fluorescent orange paint, and then moved on. Then a National Guard unit from San Diego, assigned to protect the Task Forces working in the area, passed the house. A few guardsmen peered in the window of Hollingsworth’s home and spied his foot on the couch. They broke the door down, against the rules, and found him barely alive.

After nearly two weeks, 80 members of Task Force 5, with their 11-truck convoy, were able to say they took part in rescuing one person. Their doctor, Peter Czuleger, performed a specialized IV procedure on the man, there on his sidewalk, which kept him from certain death.

Personally, I think these men and women of Task Force 5 were true heroes, in every meaning of the word, whether they saved anyone or not. They stayed disciplined and true to their mission, following orders and doing whatever they could with horrific conditions. They performed the grim task of body location and worked in neighborhoods away from the cameras, offline from the main story. They did it with a smile and were happiest when a day was a full day of backbreaking labor in the heat. I saw men go to their knees from exhaustion while breaking down doors and searching homes. I saw men who were immersed in toxic water, after falling through the floors of floating mobile homes, while desperately seeking to save victims trapped inside.

They never gave up hope and if one man was saved through it all, so be it. Hopefully in days to come they will have more success, but their work was necessary and they should be proud of their efforts. I’m proud of them and look forward to covering them in action when they return to Orange County in their regular jobs as firefighters and paramedics.

Ironically, the decision for us to leave the unit had been made the day before my photograph of Hollingsworth’s rescue was taken – in the last possible hour of our deployment with the team. God works in mysterious ways.

Chambers can be reached at [email protected].

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What Happened To The Hurricane? This Is Civil Warfare And A Refugee Crisis

By Marko Georgiev

I went to shoot a storm, found myself in civil warfare, and ended up in a refugee crisis.

What happened to the storm? I kept asking myself this a few days into the assignment, which was given to me by the national desk at The New York Times, as I stand in front of these hungry and angry mobs full of people pushing and screaming, or see them begging and banging on the windows of my truck, wanting a ride out of town. “I’ll give you three bucks if you take me out of here!” I hear someone screaming as I drive away. “Please, that’s all I have …,” his voice fading behind.

Sincerely, I was trying to help! I was trying to help as much as possible. Since day one, when I ended up at the flooded Ninth Ward, just across the St. Cloud’s bridge. Water was up to the roof tops. Voices screaming “HELP!” and “OVER HERE!” in the distance, and only three flat boats with SWAT members bringing people “ashore.” I got on one boat, thinking, "Boy, this is going to be a great photo op!" Me, on the rescue boat, imagining all the shots that I’ll take.

But it wasn’t like that. I keep snapping until we reach the first survivor, an old man, hanging off the roof of his porch, screaming for help. Snapped a few shots and then helped the SWAT officer Cris Mandry get this man onto the boat. Didn’t ask for his name. The SWAT guys received a tip from some people stranded on the second floor of their house, so we went searching for an old woman, apparently alone in her house. We bang on the roof, officers yell her name, no answer. Grim silence for a second, and we move on to other houses.

People on their roofs, plastic bags with belongings in their hands. Stranded dogs on the roof of a shack, wet and sad looking. We found a man just holding onto the metal window bars. He was just standing there with water up to his chest. The police officers had to peel him off the bars. The man was in shock, no words, no sound, just an empty look in his eyes. We move onto the next house pulling people out from their windows, roofs, water everywhere. I tried to help and when I wasn’t needed I took pictures. Times-Picayune photographer Alex Brandon, who was already on the boat, was helping and photographing at the same time too. When came back to shore I wanted to drop my cameras and continue helping but there were only three boats, and I was the extra seat on the boat so much needed for those people trapped in their homes. I went to my car and filed what I'd shot.

We moved on. It's dark as we crossed back onto the bridge. There were still about 200 rescued people on the other side, but all the other streets were flooded. People were banging on the window of my truck, asking for water, a ride, crying, while others just sat silent. We stopped to talk to people. An officer came over and asked for my spare tire. He told me not to pull over here, but down the road a bit further. So I did. He said he told me that to get me out of the crowd because, “It is not safe to stop.” Later on we heard that these same 200 people, rescued but stranded on this dry median, were rioting - angry at spending the night on the street with no one to bring them to a shelter.

When we got up and started rolling the next morning, Poydras Street seemed kind of flooded. I was just there yesterday! There was no water then! But now the levies had been breeched, and the water was rising. I walked through the water to the Superdome and took a few pictures of people trying to get there, walking in water as I was. In some spots the water was chest deep. We drove to the Garden District where there are some people at a K-Mart pushing shopping carts loaded with stuff! “Let's get some water!” I said to my colleagues, New York Times reporter Joe Treaster and Times-Picayune reporter Gordon Russell (whose house I had spent the night at). We get out from the car and realize that the store was not open, but hundreds of people had stormed inside, looting. I went inside and started shooting, afraid that someone might attack me for being a witness to this event. No one seemed to care. They were busy taking items from the shelves. Clothes, alcohol, computers, televisions; some even carrying food. I saw a uniformed security person carrying some items too. He didn’t even stop to answer my questions. A man riding a bike with a rifle in his hand passed me – it was time to leave.

I went back to St. Cloud bridge where a few hundred people were standing on any dry spot they could find. Apparently they had been there since yesterday or from the moment they got rescued from their flooded homes. They were waiting for the single military truck that was taking people out of there to the Superdome. A few people already started to collapse, and soldiers were trying to pick up the old and sick first.

Next we walked through the murky water to the Superdome again. Word of an evacuation spread around. We arranged to separate and meet one hour later at the same spot for a briefing. One hour later we meet and all at once said to each other – this is the story! The Superdome had turned into Super Doom. Fights, muggings; reports of dead babies, rapes, murders. We are stunned, but we go back again. It is dark, smelly, hot, and crowded. The scenes we encountered are beyond description. A handful of military soldiers tried to deal with angry crowds. It was near-riot situation. We walked out and went to file. Later on the same day they started to evacuate people from that miserable place to what became another miserable place – the Convention Center.

In the next few days it all went down. I tried to stay unbiased and to shoot and cover the story the best way possible. I also tried to help as many people as I could. I met a woman, barefoot, on the street at 6 a.m., needing a ride to her nephew’s house. So I picked her up, realizing that the place she wanted to go to is flooded. I asked a policeman on the street what to do and told me to take her to the Convention Center. What luck. She might have been better off on the street. I snapped a few frames while she was walking away to the Center.

One of my fellow photojournalists asked me to check on his wife and daughter, stuck in a hotel on Canal Street. I didn’t know them but had their names. I got there late and they had already started kicking people out of all the hotels. They had left 15 minutes earlier. Fearing for their safety at that damned Convention Center, I went driving down the street in a scene that looked like pictures of the evacuation of Saigon, yelling their names in vain to every person I saw. No answer, but empty looks from faces who wished that it was their names I was calling out. I felt like shit.

I stopped to shoot an unattended fire raging in a building off Canal Street. Along came a group of three old people pushing some sort of makeshift stroller. One of the old ladies must have been around 90, half lying on the stroller, half dragging her feet, supported by an old man, William P. Davis. She was too weak to speak, urinating on herself. She was about to die. I could see it in her eyes. This lady walked the earth for nearly a century and she was going to die like a stray dog in her own excrement. I begged the cop who was standing there monitoring the fire to take her somewhere safe. After much pleading he finally got a car and took her to Jefferson Parish hospital.

We drove by the Convention Center where there were no cops, no military, and no promised evacuation buses. Only thousands of people. Hungry, tired people. Looting cars, rioting, running from one place to another. No place for my big truck to be with enough gas for a 100 mile trip. Not if we wanted to stay and tell the world what is happening down here.

On the way back to Gordon’s house we saw cop cars and officers with raised guns and a body that was covered in blood. I raised my camera, shot a few frames, and the next thing I knew I found myself thrown down and slammed onto the car, hands up in the air and a gun pointed in the back of my head. Camera ripped off my hand, while the car is franticly searched for weapons. They let us go and I realized too late that one of my CF cards is missing.

Later that day I went back to the Center, trying to shoot more bodies. I found one in the storage area by the kitchen. A small group of refugees and I were trying to find a body of a dead baby stomped to death, and a teenage girl raped and throat slashed, apparently stashed in one of the kitchen fridges. We searched fridge by fridge. We hear voices of some thugs screaming and threatening us, coming our way. It was time to go.

The days went by, the same images everyday. One big blur of desperate faces. I kept pinching myself to make sure that I was actually in America and not in Darfur, Mogadishu, or Kosovo. I kept shooting and trying to help. When the last person from the Center got evacuated, I left too. I left for my dry and air conditioned apartment while other colleagues and reporters are still there. We came to take our trophies and left. They have to stay. No place to go. This story will become their lives. Or is it the other way around?

Marko Georgiev is a freelance photojournalist from New Jersey who frequently shoots for The New York Times.

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2006 NPPA-Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant Goes "Digital" With Entry Rule Changes

LOUISVILLE, KY  – “The NPPA-Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant for 2006 still has the theme ‘The Changing Face of America,’ but now we have new rules for entering the contest,” grant administrator Bill Luster announced today.

“All photographs entered as a portfolio or as an example of work done on the actual sabbatical proposal must be entered in digital format. There’s no need to send photographic prints, slide duplicates, copied prints, or books. The only written material one should send is the entry blank and the entry proposal (available online at www.nppa.org).”

Luster says these are the new entry rules: “You may enter in your portfolio up to 40 images. Please send only .JPG images that are up to 10 inches wide plus the depth, or 10 inches deep plus the width, at 200 DPI. Please send at ‘Image Quality 6’ (or ‘High’) .JPG compression.

“Please place all the images on a CD-ROM. Sequence the images in the order that you want them to be viewed by naming the pictures 01.jpg through 40.jpg.

“Captions must be included for ALL images (in the image file’s ‘File Info” field, as well as printed out on a sheet of paper). In addition the entry must also include a portrait of yourself. (Your biography photograph does not count as one of the 40 images.)”

The deadline for entering is December 28, 2005. A completed entry should include:

  • An entry blank;
  • A written proposal;
  • A CD-ROM with the images, maximum of 40 in an sequence, plus a biographic portrait of the photographer;
  • Captions for all the images (printed out on a sheet of paper, plus in the images’ “File Info” field).

NPPA-Nikon Documentary Sabbatical Grant 2006 entries should be sent to:

Bill Luster
3613 Sorrento Avenue
Louisville, KY 4024

For more information contact Luster at [email protected]

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Photojournalists Covering Katrina Fall Victim To Growing Violence, Chaos

By Donald R. Winslow, News Photographer magazine

AUSTIN, TX – As photojournalists continue to document the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina’s violent assault on the Gulf Coast, today they also found themselves documenting new violence and death among the survivors, the refugees, and the looters and police and rescuers in New Orleans, while some photojournalists even fell victim to the violence themselves. And a reporter for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans is still missing and has not been heard from since last weekend when he was sent to Mississippi to cover the storm. (He's since been found.)

Two veteran photojournalists - NPPA member Rick Wilking of Reuters and Getty's MarkWilson - were robbed of cameras and computer equipment today while on assignment in a neighborhood in New Orleans, and a photojournalist and a reporter were confronted at gunpoint and slammed against a wall by police following a shoot-out between looters and cops that left at least one person dead.

Another photojournalist -Lucas Oleniuk of theToronto Star - was knocked to the ground by police, his gear taken from him initially, when he photographed them shooting at looters and then beating one. In response to the growing violence and an increasing sense of despair among the stranded survivors, some television networks have hired armed private security firms to protect their journalists as they work to cover the story.

Peter Kovacs, managing editor of The Times-Picayune, says reporterLeslie Williams, who was assigned to cover the hurricane on the Mississippi coast, is still missing. No one at the newspaper has heard from Williams since last weekend. Kovacs posted a note to Poynter’s JimRomenesko saying, “He's an extraordinarly cautious guy and he's covered a lot of hurricanes. So I'm thinking positive thoughts even though I haven't heard anything. I keep thinking he's okay." By Friday, the newspaper learned that the reporter's mother is also missing. Kovacs said they have assigned a reporter in Mississippi to search for Williams. (He's since been found.)

The environment journalists are working in has shifted from one of a post-storm rescue and recovery to one that’s more akin to urban warfare. Tonight’s news reports a desperate situation in New Orleans that is spiraling out of control, with fighting breaking out among the hurricane survivors, more looting and gunfire, reports of anarchy in many areas, and more bodies floating in the waterways and in the debris. Today there were reports of rapes taking place in and around the Superdome while outside the Convention Center bodies litter the sidewalks. More dead have been dragged to the corners of the building, the Associated Press reports, as there are no resources to deal with picking up the dead. Amidst this chaos and growing tension, photojournalists find themselves working in a growingly hostile environment where they are less welcome today than yesterday.

Toronto Star staff photojournalist Lucas Oleniuk was taken to the ground by police in the Spanish Quarter after he photographed a firefight between looters and police, and police were then reportedly “beating on” a looter. A coworker at the Toronto Star toldNews Photographer magazine tonight, “The cops saw him and put him down, and took his gear. At first they were going to take all of his cameras, but he talked them into only taking the memory cards and letting him keep the cameras.” Oleniuk’s coworker says the photojournalist, who was not injured in the incident, went to New Orleans the day after the hurricane hit.

New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Gordon Russell wrote on Thursday afternoon that “the city is not safe for anyone.” Russell and freelance photojournalist Marko Georgiev – who was shooting for The New York Times – were in the Lower Garden District in an SUV, Russell says, where he “feared for my life and felt our safety was threatened at nearly every turn.” Russell says throngs of hungry and desperate people overwhelmed the few military and law enforcement people on the scene at the Superdome and Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and “there was no crowd control. People were swarming. It was a near riot situation.”

Georgiev says, “We came upon a body (while driving) apparently shot by the police. While I was still driving I took a few photos through the open window and I heard an officer yell, ‘Get that camera, now!’ About a half dozen cops started running toward the car. Since the car was still in motion, and I saw them drawing and raising their guns at us and afraid they would shoot us, I slammed on the brakes.

“Before I knew it, I was thrown out of the car, the camera ripped from my hand, the other camera taken from the car, and I was on the car with my legs spread, hands up, a gun pointed in my neck. I was unable to see what was going on with Gordon. I was screaming “We are press” and I saw things from my car thrown on the ground, and the car was being frantically searched by the police.”

Georgiev told News Photographer, “As soon as they confirmed that we were accredited press they mellowed down a bit and gave my cameras back, they threw Gordon’s notebook on the ground and ordered us to get lost. After quickly picking up our stuff and getting in the car we drove away, then I realized the CF memory card from my other camera was missing – but not the one with the picture of the dead body.”

The Times-Picayune’s online blog later quoted Russell’s description of the scene as being one that was “the result of gunfire between police and civilians that left one man dead in a pool of blood.” Russell wrote that he and Georgiev “retreated to my home where we hid, and plan to flee the city tonight.” Russell was quoted in the blog as telling the newspaper, “There is a totally different feeling here than there was yesterday. I’m scared. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m getting out of here.”

“I was afraid that we were going to get shot by some nervous police officer,” Georgiev said. “And that night in front of Gordon’s house (in New Orleans), were were rounded up by police and handcuffed while trying to file pictures from our cars."

Reuters and Getty Images confirm tonight that Reuters photojournalist Rick Wilking and Getty Images photojournalist MarkWilson had cameras and laptop computers stolen from a car they were using as they got out of the vehicle to photograph rescue efforts in a New Orleans neighborhood. Michael D. Sargent, vice president of news for Getty, said the two were not harmed and that they are safe tonight, but that their gear is gone. A Reuters picture editor in Washington said the trouble apparently started when the two photographers got out of their car with cameras and were seen, and then targeted, by a neighborhood crowd.

Pictures from earlier in the day by Wilking before he was robbed show people outside the Convention Center trying to revive an elderly woman who has collapsed, and a man holding a tiny baby in his arms as he covers with a sheet the dead body of an elderly man who is sitting in a chair, reportedly left there for two days now, as thousands of survivors stand by waiting for evacuation buses. Yesterday, Wilking’s photographs showed a dead woman sitting in her wheelchair outside her home in East New Orleans where her family had left her after the storm.

Many of today’s pictures from New Orleans show refugees dealing with a growing sense of despair as relief efforts failed to materialize in many areas and evacuation efforts were halted due to violence. A picture by photojournalist Michael Ainsworth of the Dallas Morning News of people shoving in a crush as they lined up to board an evacuation bus ran huge, six columns across and deep, on Friday's Dallas Morning News front page. At The Advocate in Baton Rouge, LA, the front page was dominated by a picture shot by photojournalist Richard Alan Hannon of storm refugees holding a woman and praying over her "as her life ebbed away" on the sidewalk outside the Superdome where refugees waited for food, water, and evacuation.

NBC News has reportedly hired a private security firm whose officers are former soldiers or police, and who are licensed to carry weapons and trained to protect news crews as they do their jobs, to protect their staff members in the Gulf Coast region as they report the hurricane aftermath story. The move was prompted by what the news crews were witnessing: looting, gunfire, crimes, and gun-totting gangs moving freely about the streets. NBC News vice president David Verdi in New York told Paul J. Gough of The Hollywood Reporter, “We’ve never been in a situation domestically like this, where the populace has been cut off from the rest of the world and there’s no food and water.”

The Times-Picayune is still out of their building and some staff members are working from a remote location at the journalism school atLouisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. CNN and WWL-TV have also based some operations out of LSU, as well as one of KHOU-TV’s satellite trucks.

The Times-Picayune tonight hopes to put out their first print edition since the hurricane hit, using the presses at the Houma Courier and delivering the newspaper wherever they can reach. They’ve published daily on the Internet and made downloadable Acrobat .PDF files of the newspaper and posted them on their Web site.

At the Biloxi Sun-Herald there’s still no electricity and no plumbing. They’ve dug trenches outside the building to use as latrines, and several recreational vehicles have been parked in the paper’s parking lot. The newspaper is still awaiting the arrival of a fuel truck to keep their generators going and they’ve increased security at the site. Today they printed and distributed a 24-page, two-section paper to 20,000 readers. They have now been able to make contact with up to 70 percent of Sun-Herald employees, and half of those reached report that their homes have been destroyed. Sun-Herald columnist Jeanne Prescott lost her sister and brother-in-law to the storm, Knight Ridder reports.

Read yesterday's story about photojournalists covering Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and the efforts newspapers and television stations are making to cover and publish the news.

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Fund Established To Help Bob Brandon

While television photojournalist Bob Brandon underwent surgery in a Denver, CO, hospital yesterday to improve his ability to breathe, friends and coworkers established a fund to help his family with any costs they accumulate during his extended illness.

Brandon, known as one of the leading television photojournalists in the broadcast industry who was twice named the NPPA Television News Photographer of the Year, has been in stable but critical condition in a Denver trauma hospital after he was found on the floor of his home August 23. Friends say he may have collapsed there several days before he was discovered.

Sharon Levy Freed reports via eMail yesterday after the surgery that "Bob is still really sick, but there is now reason for hope.”

The fund has been created in Brandon’s daughter’s name and friends and supporters are encouraged participate in this effort to help the family. Freed asks that checks be made payable to: “Kristi Brandon fbo Robert Brandon” and mailed to Heritage Bank, 811 South Public Road, Lafayette, CO, 80026, addressed to the attention of Debbie Boucher.

Brandon was NPPA’s Television News Photographer of the Year in 1976 and again in 1980 while he was with KPRC-TV in Houston, TX. He's a co-recipient of a national Emmy for his work on CBS's 48 Hours as well as having two national Emmy nominations. His work includes stories for CBS News, 60 Minutes, NBC News, The Today Show, Dateline, ABC Evening News, Prime Time Live, and 20/20. He is also a faculty member for the annual NPPA Television NewsVideo Workshop, and was president of Helical Post, a video digital post-production facility in Denver.

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Many New Orleans TV Photojournalists Fear Losing Their Jobs Because Of Hurricane Katrina

As if the hardship of enduring HurricaneKatrina and then covering the almost-unbelievable devastation in the storm's aftermath wasn't enough, many television photojournalists in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast are learning that shortly they could also be out of a job.

Corporate television owners are apparently trying to determine if there's going to be anyone doing business in New Orleans in the near future who will buy television advertising. If not, without advertising revenue the corporations will have to foot the entire cost of operating a television station in the devastated market - a tremendous expense that could pull down revenues from their other markets, a cost that most owners are probably going to be unwilling to bear.

Photojournalists at WWL-TVChannel 4, the New Orleans CBS affiliate, were hearing talk early in the week about their jobs possibly ending because theBeloCorporation, owners of the station, was going to "evaluate the situation" in 60 days, and decide whether or not there would be a news operation at all or a "significantly scaled back" news division. Today CareyHendrickson, Belo's vice president for investor relations and corporate communications, toldNews Photographer, "Belo is committed to WWL and its presence in New Orleans. WWL has a tremendous legacy and we are going to do everything we can to restore normal operations. Originally, we told employees that we hoped to have more information about future operations by November 1; now, we believe we are in a holding pattern for approximately six months."

Carey also shared a press release from Belo that says: "To assist its employees at WWL and NewsWatch on Channel 15 who have been severely impacted personally by Hurricane Katrina, Belo Corp. and The Belo Foundation have established the WWL-TV Employee Relief Fund. Belo Corp. has committed $200,000 to the fund initially and will also match dollar-for-dollar the contributions of employees at Belo companies. The general public and business partners are also invited to make contributions to the relief fund. Donations are tax-deductible. Cash or check donations made out to the WWL-TV Employee Relief Fund may be made in person at The Belo Foundation, located in Suite 200 of The Belo Building in Dallas, and checks may also be mailed in care of The Belo Foundation at P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, TX, 75265-5237, with questions answered at +1.214.977.6661. The Relief Fund made an initial tax-free distribution of $1,000 to every WWL employee to meet his or her immediate needs."

A television source from New Orleans told NewsPhotographer magazine that at WVUE-TV Fox 8, a station owned by Emmis Television, employees were no longer working. The station had reportedly been for sale in mid-August before the storm when Emmis announced it had sold nine of its 16 television stations. A message posted on B-Roll.net this week said that WVUE-TV employees were "given $100.00 and sent packing."

A spokesperson for Emmis Television today said "that's not true." Kate Snedeker, director of media and investor relations for Emmis, said, "All employees have jobs. We've made a commitment to employees and we're going to stand by it. The very first message that went last week from Randy Bongarten (president of Emmis Television) made it clear." Snedeker said Emmis has created a secure employee-only Web site for WVUE-TV workers where they can log in and get up-to-date information. That site is at www.wvuehelp.com and if you're an empolyee and don't have a user name and password, you can get one by calling +1.866.366.4747.

Leonel Mendezhas been a photojournalist at WVUE-TV and his wife, Meredith, has been a reporter for WGNO-TV. Over the weekend he posted this note on the B-Roll.net message board:

"We lost everything, including our home, in New Orleans. If anyone knows of any jobs out there... I would appreciate a heads up. I'm open to anything but we do have family in the Washington, DC, area which would make relocation there very easy." The couple left New Orleans and traveled to Meredith's father's house in Memphis, TN, he said, as they search for jobs. Mendez wrote, "Thanks to anyone who can help us with this tragedy. My eMail is [email protected] if you have any leads on reporting or anchoring jobs."

Today in an update to his posting Mendez, in Memphis, told NewsPhotographer, "I have some great opportunites right now. I'm going on a job interview next Wednesday, and everyone's just been great. I've got a lot of eMails and phone calls. In the meantime, we're still getting paid by the station but everyone's worried about what's going to happen to the station. We're not even allowed back in the station because of the water. Some people got to come home this week to take care of their families, my wife's home right now, she's been working out of WBRC in Baton Rouge where her station moved their operations."

"If we don't get jobs, she'll be going back to work at WGNO-TV," he said, "and right now we're pretty worried about the future. Our house was 8 to 10 blocks from where the levy broke, so we're pretty sure the house is up to the roof line with water. Since I'm not working, I've been sitting here looking at these pictures, I have time to look and to take it in. Everyone's been touched, everyone's touched."

Television photojournalist DavidSussman, chief photographer for WGNO-TV Channel 26 in New Orleans, and his wife Diane, their children and their parents, are glad to be alive and to have survived Hurricane Katrina. WGNO-TV is owned byTribuneBroadcasting. While rumors swirl on message boards and in online forums that Tribune may shut down operations in 90 days if there's no advertising revenue, Sussman left a telephone message forNewsPhotographermagazine Monday saying that this isn't exactly the case, and that Tribune continues to stand by WGNO-TV.

The station's other news photographers are still working covering the hurricane's aftermath, and WGNO-TV continues to broadcast today fromWBRZ-TVin Baton Rouge.

Sussman was born and raised in New Orleans and worked in Mobile, AL, and Nashville, TN, before "coming home" to New Orleans in 1996 to be closer to his parents, his wife Diane said. His parents' home, blocks from Lake Pontchartrain, was washed away and they were evacuated to Alexandria, LA. Sussman's wife and their children, along with Diane's mother, fled the flooding and urban anarchy and went to St. Louis, MO. The Sussman's house was spared, and Diane's mother's house was spared – "for now, as long as it's not looted or burned down," she said Sunday.

But many television newsroom employees in New Orleans who are in situations similar to Sussman's have put the word out on the grapevine, and in postings on the online discussion boards, that they're looking for new jobs and for new places to live. Encouragingly, many in the television news community have responded by posting messages online about job openings they've seen or heard about, or stations where there may soon be new opportunities.

 

 

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Missing Times-Picayune Hurricane Reporter Found

Missing reporter Leslie Williams has been heard from, his editor at The Times-Picayune reported to The New York Observer last night.

The Observer quotes editor Jim Amoss as saying, "This is the best news I've heard in days. He was covering the story from Mississippi under hellacious conditions. He was on assignment and we're just now hearing from him, we haven't had a chance to debrief him yet."

No one at the newspaper had heard from Williams since last weekend when he was sent to Mississippi to cover the storm from the eastern region in the oncoming hurricane's path. At one point this last week, Williams' mother was also reported missing. There was no information from Amoss about the reporter's mother. The newspaper had dispatched another reporter to search for Williams when they had not heard from him by the middle of the week.

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