2011-09-21 Washington, DC Day 3

(09/21/2011) Ken Geiger of National Geographic Magazine talks with RIT photojournalism students.

Wednesday started off at the land of the yellow border (National Geographic). Suffice it to say that we were all in awe. We met with Ken Geiger, an RIT graduate. Any project Geographic does takes a long time, with many projects taking over a year from pitch to publication. While resources have certainly shrunk, photographers still go on assignments for several weeks. Walking around the office was interesting as well, since there were many incredible photos up along the hallways. We also got to see the tool shop where they design devices to aid in assignments and scientific research. Some pictures are impossible with normal equipment, so they will create devices that will allow photographers to take photos in extreme circumstances.

(09/21/2011) David Ake, Assistant Chief of Bureau for photo in AP's Washington Bureau, reviews Josh Kuckens' portfolio.

Next we went to the Associated Press where we met with David Ake. He talked about how important it is to be good at sports since wire photographers have to shoot a ton of sports. He also emphasized how important passion and dedication are for photography. He said one of the photographers he ended up hiring was always annoyingly present. His persistence, and of course his skill, got him hired. Another one of the big topics in DC is politics. A part of covering this is that you must know who the senators are, you’ve got to know what’s going on politically so you can make intelligent photos and also so you can understand why you are given a certain assignment. Another thing Mr. Ake said was that knowing your gear is critical. If you don’t know it inside and out, you won’t be ready when news happens. You have to be a journalist too. You have to do the research and have the ethics.

Also at the AP, we talked to an RIT grad. After she was laid off at a small paper, she spent a year applying to literally 100 different jobs before she finally got one. The passion and dedication to her craft was what got her through rough times. Mr. Ake also said we should expect to starve and/or eat tomato soup for the first five years. Great.

Next on the list was a visit to AARP.  At first I was really confused as to why we were going here, but we found out that they love photography and multimedia in the photojournalistic vein. We talked with MaryAnne Golon, the consulting DOP and multimedia at AARP. She and others talked about their use of photography and what they look for in younger photographers. We also saw several multimedia pieces from the AARP website. They like to use authentic subjects and stories to convey issues, which is where photojournalists come in.

Finally, we ended the day with a big alumni bash/reception for the Pulitzer prize winning RIT alumni. People whom we met on the trip were there as well as many other alumni.

Tomorrow we will be going to the Newseum for the Isaiah Thomas Award in Publishing, which will honor the Pulitzer prize winning RIT alumni. We’ll also get to wander around the Newseum for a good while, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

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