Photojournalist Maggie Steber’s first job was with the Galveston Daily News. She spoke about her career with Jim Colton in an April 15 piece for the National Press Photographers Association. The work wasn’t that interesting, she told Colton, but how she got the job was.

I went to apply for the job of photographer-reporter at the paper. The managing editor told me it was a night position and better suited for a man in case my car broke down or I got attacked. They were already considering two men for the job.

I asked the editor to wait 24 hours before hiring anyone. Then I went out and found a story that, by accident, was rather controversial; concerning a historic operating theater that was about to be torn down at the UT Medical School in Galveston. I photographed the theater; it was a beautiful old wooden theater in the round with sunlight pouring in through the slatted windows. I interviewed students and townsfolk about the theater’s fate, stayed up all night writing and printing photos, and slapped the whole thing on the managing editor’s desk the next morning at 9am.

He read the story, looked at the photos, and looked up at me and said, ‘The job is yours! Neither of those other male candidates would have gone to this much trouble and find a story I can use on the front page in tomorrow’s paper.’ It was published the next morning.

Maggie Steber

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