Keith Jenkins


Keith W. Jenkins came to NPR in July 2008 as the Supervising Senior Producer for Multimedia. In this role he oversees the multimedia unit of, responsible for the photography and videography throughout the site. Jenkins and his staff work with NPR shows, reporters and editors on reporting projects providing compelling visuals to match the rich audio story-telling of NPR. Among the daily photography and editing duties, Jenkins and his team work to create the visual components for NPR special series, such as: One Hundred Days: On the Road in Troubled Times, 'America's Battalion' in Afghanistan, The York Project: Race & The '08 Vote, Traveling Down the Amazon Road and Along the Grand Trunk Road: Coming of Age in India and Pakistan. In 2011 he received an Emmy as Senior Producer on NPR Music's Project Song: Moby. Jenkins spent 13 years at The Washington Post working in a variety of capacities. He served as a staff photographer and photography director of, photography editor of The Washington Post Magazine and deputy assistant managing editor for photography at the newspaper. From 1997 to 1999, Jenkins worked as AOL's first director of photography. Jenkins began his photography career working for the graphic designer Dietmar R. Winkler and then spent five years as a staff photographer for The Boston Globe. Acclaim for Jenkins' work as a photographer and editor has come from the National Press Photographer's Association; White House News Photographers Association; Radio and Television Correspondent's Association; University of Missouri; Society of News Design; the Society of Publication Designers; and the Art Director's Clubs of New York, Boston, and Washington. In 2007, Jenkins was the photo editor on The Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize winning series on Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Throughout his career, Jenkins has given lectures and presentations on photography and multimedia at schools and organizations including the New England School of Photography, Rhode Island School of Design, The Poynter Institute, University of Miami and American Press Institute. He currently teaches multimedia as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C. Jenkins is a graduate of Brandeis University and the Boston University School of Law.

The benefits, drawbacks of using camera phones as a photojournalist

The mind can sometimes play tricks on you.

After returning from a trip to Europe several months ago, I viewed some of the photos I had taken and was disappointed by how they turned out. I resolved (no pun intended) that it was time to get a new camera.

Some of the pictures were just not as sharp as I had hoped; others, taken in the evening, didn’t record enough information in the after sun-down darkness. Giving up something that I had happily used for several years at home and on vacation was difficult, but it was time.

So off I went and replaced my iPhone 3Gs with a new iPhone 4s. Yes, my camera is my phone. It wasn’t until I was heading to AT&T and not a camera store that this thought crossed my mind. Read more


5 types of photos that make for strong photo essays, audio slideshows

In photography’s equivalent of the after-life, “no one can hear you scream.”

At least let’s hope that’s the case because, if not, W. Eugene Smith – the 20th century’s master of the photo story — would be creating a deafening noise. Why? He’d undoubtedly be lamenting having missed the arrival of the Web and its almost unlimited storytelling possibilities.

Imagine his seminal work — “Nurse Midwife Delivering Baby,” “Pittsburgh,” “Minamata” — all with a narrative audio backend. This would not be storytelling squared; but storytelling raised to infinity and beyond.

But, alas, Smith is gone and some of today’s modern photographers struggle in the master’s wake. Smith was the king of the cumulative effect of the photo essay — a variety of image types that add up to a greater whole. Read more


Why contests need to do a better job of recognizing changes in multimedia journalism

I recently had the privilege of serving as a juror for the World Press Photo’s multimedia contest in Amsterdam.

This was, by far, one of the most organized contests I’ve attended. (For eight years I oversaw judging for the National Press Photographers’ Best of Photojournalism on the Web contest, so that’s saying a lot).

More than 250 multimedia stories were submitted, with “Afrikaner Blood” by Elles van Gelder and Ilvy Njiokiktjien coming out on top. This strong piece about racism in the new South Africa was a clear choice for the jury. Less clear was the very definition of multimedia, a term that has almost as many meanings as there are contests honoring the best of its practitioners.

Why we need contests for multimedia journalism

I’m a big fan of designer Bruce Mau’s “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth,” which lists 43 tips on how to have a successful life as a visual creator. Read more


The Best of Multimedia Photojournalism: The Era of the Ear

This year the Best of Photojournalism’s Best of the Web contest saw more — and better — online journalism presentations from around the world than it ever has before.

It may have also provided us with our first clear look at the future of photographic storytelling in a digital world.

Photography and the Web have always fit together in a very awkward way. While the medium seemed to have so much potential for visual journalists, the reality of dial-up bandwidth initially constrained photo-size to that of a postage stamp. Even though HTML provided a visual layout foundation for photographs from day one, online photographic displays were really impractical.

Increased bandwidth allowed for larger photographs, which led to sites like, one of the first to devote almost its entire home page to a single image. Read more


Take a Blogger to Lunch (And Other Radical Ideas for Journos Struggling to Understand the Web)

Journalists, here’s some food for thought: What we do is going away because it has to. We can no longer claim the higher ground. There will be no “transition to the Web” — the Web exists and is as different from 20th-century journalism as apples are from hand grenades.

If we are to survive as news organizations, survival will have to be charted by people who live in the new world, rather than by people who view the Web as either a threat or a tool to gain temporary power in a mortally wounded industry. New Media, Web 2.0, or whatever you want to call it, is powered by the people for the people. Join them or be ignored. (If you have any doubts about this, just take a look at the latest controversy stirred up by the cell phone videos of the Saddam Hussein execution.)

What our newsrooms need is a mindset that values the Web for what it is, an extention of our human desire for community. Read more