This week I will be in NYC with the rest of the third-year RIT Photojournalism students visiting some of the world’s most prestigious journalism companies. On April 14th, a warm and sunny Monday, we visited The Associated Press and the Human Rights Watch.
The Associated Press
The tour of the AP Headquarters started on a somber note as Santiago Lyons, vice president and director of photography, began with those that died while photographing in areas of conflict and war. He emphasized that our profession can be dangerous, but that AP recognizes the importance of international news and coverage of such events. The quick tour of the newsroom was everything I imagined it would be with the scrolling headlines overhead, desks upon desks of computers, and someone saying across the room, “There’s no way that could’ve been a gas explosion, those don’t just leave craters like that.”
Lyons led us into the conference room where my classmates and I sat in on the morning global news conference while editors from news rooms around the world gave updates on subjects such as: the recent bombing in Nigeria, a shooting in a Jewish community center in Kansas City, the unrest in Ukraine, the missing Malaysian plane MH370, and the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. After the meeting, we proceeded with a Q&A and one of the highlighted questions was: What do you look for in a photographer? Lyons began with a photographer’s portfolio, stating that it is best if it includes news features, sports, stand alone feature pictures, and a long-term feature. News features demonstrate one’s ability to navigate in stressful environments where photographers may be confronted with opposition. AP photographers spend 75% of the time shooting sports and it is good practice for anticipating action. Features encourage one to seek the extraordinary in the mundane. Long-term features exhibit one’s ability to create relationships. Nearing the end of our session, one of Lyons’ concluding words of wisdom was “Photograph passionately. Edit dispassionately.” We are our worst editors.
Human Rights Watch
Located in the Empire State Building, we found ourselves in the Human Rights Watch meeting room overlooking the city with Emma Daly, the Communications Director. Because a lot of information that the Human Rights Watch presents is very detailed and text heavy, photographs have been used to attract more interest. While they formerly hired big names, they are looking for people that can tell stories. Daly believes that multimedia is the future of our field and that “the best videographers are those that can shoot stills, video, and tell stories.” Currently, it is expected that photographers are backpack journalists who can do a bit of everything.
Because we only visited two companies on Monday, we were given the luxury to explore the city with our classmates. Sarah, Eli, and I made our way through Central Park where I made my first attempts at street photography; if there was ever a place to try street photography, NYC would be it.
Instagram Guesting Posting
I was given the opportunity to guest post for rit_photo with Zack DeClerck and Sarah Ann Jump.