Thursday we went to the Newseum, where the Isaiah Thomas award in Publishing was awarded to the Pulitzer Prize winning RIT alumni. As part of the event, a panel was put on regarding citizen journalism. Professionals in the journalism community talked about how they used “citizen journalism.” Some said they used it a lot for their local sections. Another use the panel found for citizen journalism was for finding story leads. Seeing a decent photo by a citizen gave them ideas to have staff photographers go out and shoot the same subjects better than the citizen. It was good to see our professor, William Snyder being honored with the Isaiah Thomas Award. Now, he will be reading this and I promise I’m not sucking up. Though my class (myself included) gives him a lot of crap, events like today remind me that it is truly an honor to be studying under him.
We were given a ticket to see the rest of the museum after the awards program was completed. I was only able to spend time on two floors in the maybe two hours I was there. The Newseum has six floors. Clearly I could have spent more time there. The Pulitzer Prize section was incredible. Of course it was great to see pictures and video of Professor Snyder with a goatee as well. He always tells us we are our own worst editor.
I spent quite some time in the Pulitzer section alone. We heard earlier in the week from Garrett of USA Today (I believe) that the why for photographing is really important. The why is something I don’t have for me personally photographing. I often don’t know the why, and this really bothers me. I am still frequently caught up in an internal intellectual debate about why I am/should be allowed to photograph things. If someone told me I couldn’t photograph somethig, I don’t think I could answer. If I did, I don’t think I would believe it. Today, while I was being moved by the Pulitzer photographs, I was trying to dissect what about them drew me in and seemed so powerful. I wanted to understand their why. Though I considered this for a while, I couldn’t come up with an answer yet. But, I did write down the thought, and if something Is written down, it exists for me. I’ll be spending more time pondering these questions.