The rain today was unforgiving as Niki, Sarah, and I made our way through puddles and parades of umbrellas to our first destination, The Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal
Our group met up with RIT alumnus Jack VanAntwerp, director of photography at The Wall Street Journal, who gave us a tour of the newsroom and studio before continuing to the conference room. Antwerp told us that instead of showing us photos from his photographers, something that we would probably see at all of the other places we would visit, he would focus on giving us advice and answering individual questions.
“It’s not about photography, it’s about storytelling. There’s hunger for good storytelling,” said Jack VanAntwerp.
Surprisingly, photos are relatively new to The Journal, having only been introduced six years ago. “We spend millions of dollars on photos because it engages the audience,” said VanAntwerp. One of the most fundamental aspects of photojournalism is one’s location and we were told to think regionally because that’s where people would be needed. “New York City? Los Angeles? We have plenty of people there. But, Chicago? Great!” I was a bit surprised by this remark because Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. I spoke with Antwerp and he said that while they had good photographers in Chicago, they didn’t have as many as they would like. Living in the suburbs of Chicago, I see this as an opportunity to work my way towards being a photographer The Journal could rely on in Chicago.
At Bloomberg we were brought past offices and rooms that were made of only transparent walls. We were told that anyone could see what someone else was doing, which reflected Bloomberg’s mission of being honest and having a sense transparency. Because Bloomberg’s focus is business, finance, and politics, Photo Editor Graham Morrison and Chief Photographer Scott Eells explained that working for Bloomberg takes a lot of creativity; a lot of the topics covered aren’t always the most visually interesting and it’s the photographer’s job to help stimulate the audience. We were given advice to know who our client was going to be, to be diligent with our metadata, to try an editing job, to ask for solid assignment briefs, and to pester people relentlessly with good work. “All you have as a journalist is your integrity,” said Morrison.
Images of Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Robin Robinson, and others covered the walls of the main entrance, where we met RIT Alumna Kate Bubacz, the senior photo editor at ABCNews.com. Bubacz works on the appearance of the front page of the website and collaborates with Getty, Reuters, and AP. She began working at TV Guide and The New York Post before arriving at ABCNews.com. “You’ll learn no matter what job you take,” said Bubacz. Being available and finding a small nice town with a local paper was also stressed by Bubacz.
Teach For America
One of the first things that I noticed at Teach For America was the different environment of desks littered with personal belongings and colorful decorations; this reflected the warm and personable people that we met, including RIT Alumnae Prisca Edwards and Megan Rossman. Before the NYC Trip Class, I had never heard of Teach For America, and I was eager to learn more about the organization. “I think it’s just a cool time right now. You can pitch your own story. If you can do that successfully, you will go very far,” said Rossman. We were shown examples of their work, but I was most impressed with the research and planning that went into each project. I took extensive notes on their method of storyboarding and am very eager to try similar techniques. While I have often resorted to a shot list, Teach For America gave details such as: being able to describe the story in one sentence, the tone, the setting, the characters, the idea, how long the piece would be, what we will be seeing, and what we will be hearing. This preparation beforehand is something that I think will be very useful in future projects, especially my Senior Capstone Project.
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