Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Will every reporter become a photojournalist?

By Anica Wong

Yes, I have a pocket-sized digital camera.
Yes, I have a digital SLR camera with a removable lens.
No, I don’t consider myself a photojournalist.

But with more and more reporters being asked to add digital skills to their resumes, I think I could file photos if necessary.

“There is not room for the single-skilled journalist,” said Kenny Irby, Poynter's visual journalism group leader and director of diversity. “You have to be able to tell stories in at least two media dimensions.”

If every reporter—or common citizen, for that matter—carries around a digital camera and shoots semi-decent photographs of events, what does that mean for photojournalists like Irby?

He explained that citizens want photos almost a minute after something happens. They are satisfied with a photo taken by a camera phone if it portrays the basic information. He added, though, that they then expect to see high quality photos from professionals; if it is a big enough story, they want to see multiple stages of photos.

“There is a continuum of updating,” Irby said. “Just like we update blogs and we update websites, that kind of progression is what we are trying to expose people to and try and develop strategies for executing.”

I think it is exciting that I will be expected to not only report and write stories, but also take photographs that are visually pleasing and compelling. I’m no Robert Capa or Dorothea Lange, both famous photojournalists. But I hope that my work would be good enough to satisfy readers/consumers for a while¬—at least until a professional gets there.

1 comment:

  1. My responsibility when I started was to file a 12- to 14-inch gamer on deadline and write a few stories a week. Fifteen years later, I wrote a few columns a week, took photos and video for a blog every week, posted videos - I shot and edited - to the web and did a weekly television segment.

    That was a print journalism job.

    It wouldn't surprise me if there are journalists required to have Facebook or MySpace profiles or both specifically for their beats and Twitter accounts with a mandatory tweet-per-week count.

    I didn't have cell phone in 93. Today a smart phone is a necessity for a journalist, and you better be following everybody's Twitter account, too. Without being a part of his "in crowd" Twitter is the closest any journalist will get to knowing Shaq - and many others.

    Forget photojournalists, you 2009 "neos" need be the best multimedia journalists possible.