On Friday, we met with the last several groups on our trip. We talked with people from NPR, Reuters, and The Washington Post.
NPR is certainly an interesting place to go to for photography. We met with Keith Jenkins, Supervising Senior Producer. David Gilkey, one of two staff photographers also joined us part way through our visit. The photographs are obviously displayed on the NPR website. However, Gilkey, one of their staff photographers, previously said that if you listen really close to the radio, you can here the photos on there too. NPR does primarily use its two staff photographers and the news wires for its photographic coverage. Occasionally, NPR will use freelancers, but that is typically rather limited and sporadic. Another interesting tidbit is that NPR prefers to have reporters and photographers work separately. Typically, the reporter will go and do his coverage. After he are finished, the photographer will go in and make the necessary photographs. One of the reasons they do is is because the shutter sound from the camera would sound terrible in the audio that the reporter is collecting. We also talked with Emily Bogle, an RIT graduate from last year’s class. She did an internship with NPR over the summer and is currently working there as a temp. It was great to see her at a company she absolutely loves.
Early in the afternoon we went to visit Mitch Koppelman at Reuters. Reuters is partially at fault for getting me into photojournalism. When I was in high school and just starting to think photojournalism might be my thing, I would constantly check the Reuters online galleries and their photography blog. At that moment in time, I thought they never updated it enough. I’d consume it and then want more. The breadth and the beauty of their images and subjects amazed me. Obviously, it was fantastic to finally meet the people who had a hand in the photography I held to such high esteem.
Koppelman had many things to say to us. One of the key things that Koppelman said was that the “key is to be noticed by the people you want to notice you.” When he was climbing the photojournalism ladder, he made sure to impress the people who would be crucial in his success down the road. I’d say it certainly worked. He also stressed the importance of not being bashful in self-promotion. Ask to meet with editors and other people. The worst they can say is no, and that is a very common word in photojournalism. He also said that failing is okay. He once finished shooting a huge assignment, only to get back to the lab to discover he hadn’t loaded film. That was the last time he made that mistake. Failing is okay if you learn from it and don’t repeat the mistake.
Finally, The Washington Post was the grand finale of the week. We met with Megan Rossman, RIT 2008. She’s the Multimedia Photo Editor at The Washington Post. It’s incredible just how quickly she worked her way up to her current position. A large part of the swift climbing was due to her hard work and persistence. She would come up with pitches. While in a previous position, she kept trying to do multimedia pieces outside of her job description, which helped lead her to her current job. Rossman said that pitching and shooting series is important because it forces you to stay active in shooting. She also said that having your ideas thoroughly researched is critical before you even make a pitch.
While it’s hard to believe that the week is already over, it has been one incredible, packed week. I’ve learned a great deal, but I’ve gained even more material to mull over for a while. Lots to think about. And even more to do. Look for a wrap up of the week soon…