Articles about "Photojournalism"


Custom camera-mounted device lets Toronto Star photographers file direct to live blog

The Canadian Journalism Project

It’s hard to file photos from Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, Toronto Star visuals editor Taras Slawnych tells Mark Taylor: “There are lights around the arena and every time these neon lights and billboard signs go on it creates a lot of interference. Traditional ways of submitting with a WiFi card or some other way just didn’t work.”

So the Star built its own device, called AWAC — for “Automated Web Access Coupling.” It sits “on the hot shoe mount,” Slawnych says, and “basically provides the Internet connection, the routing of it, and then sends the picture to an FTP site. There’s a (HTML) script here that handles it and then there’s another script that sends it to a ScribbleLive blog and the (Toronto Star) archive at the same time.”

Slawnych says he’s not sure whether the Star will patent the device — other reporters “are trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing,” he says — but did allow that it was 3-D printed and that the Star has spent about $2,500 developing it. The device solves a workflow problem other technical solutions to filing in the field don’t, Slawnych says:

Traditional wire agencies have a whole bunch of things to do this as well. The problem is the traditional workflow. Let’s say it’s a wire photographer shooting the game like we did. He sends the picture, and he’s probably sending it just as fast as we are. The picture then goes to headquarters and is then put on the wires. There’s probably a minute delay, maybe 30 seconds even. The picture is then sent out to an FTP to newspapers around the world. Then you’ve got a processor from your archive that is picking up these shots every 30 seconds, every minute. To put that picture online, you have to publish that picture onto your pagination system and wait for it to appear there. That’s probably another 30 seconds and then you have to move it onto your online Content Management System, which is probably minimum 30 seconds. And that’s if everyone is watching everything and has the time to do that. So that’s at least two, three minutes if every step worked out perfectly, which I doubt because there’s going to be other pictures moving on the wire. The editor that’s pulling that picture might not be paying attention because he’s doing other stuff at the same time. Our picture, without anyone having to touch it here, is on our blog within 45 seconds.

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White House photographers protest lack of access to Obama meeting with Dalai Lama

The White House News Photographers Association

White House photographers issued a statement Friday protesting the release of an official photograph showing President Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama. The handout photo was produced despite requests by news organizations to have the “closed press” event opened to photojournalists.

The group urged news organizations not to publish or circulate the official photo, which it called “a visual press release of a news worthy event.”

In a statement on its website, WHNPA added:

A government photographer is no substitute for an independent, experienced photojournalist. We are disappointed the White House has reverted to their old strategy of announcing a closed press event and then later releasing their own photo.

News organizations and the White House have been at odds over the Obama administration’s practice of locking out photojournalists from official events and distributing its own pictures. Several news outlets, including USA Today, have stated they will not use the handout photos except in “extraordinary circumstances.” Read more

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USA vs. CHN Curling

Sochi photo coverage takes ‘patience, planning, logistics’

Harry Walker, photo director at McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, has a unique vantage point overseeing MCT’s visual coverage of the Olympic Games.

Raised in Savannah, Ga., Walker graduated from Morehouse College in 1980. He started his photojournalism career at The Columbus Dispatch, where he worked from 1988 until 1992. Before joining MCT, he worked as features and weekend photo editor at the Kansas City Star. He has served numerous organizations, with stints as a member of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Visual Task Force and as chairperson of the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism contest.

What follows is an edited version of our conversation about MCT’s ongoing Olympics photo coverage:

Me: So, Harry, you are nine hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. How is that an advantage or disadvantage for your MCT photographic reports?

Walker: Having the nine-hour time advantage allows you to cover more events than in the past. For example, a hockey game that starts at 9 p.m. in Sochi can be covered and you can still deliver photos to clients in plenty of time for publication. Each of our photographers covers three events daily, or two events that consume a lot of time.

On the other hand, communication with people at the Washington office and with loved ones has been a challenge. When you are nine hours ahead, it is never a good time to communicate. When I have a free moment before event coverage in Sochi starts, everyone is asleep or the office is closed. When they are functioning on the East Coast, I am on deadline and then ending my day. My average day here at the Olympic Games starts around 10 a.m. and ends around 2:30 a.m.

MCT Director of Photography Harry Walker is overseeing photo coverage at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Me: What has been your highlight so far?

Walker: As a veteran of many Olympics, I am not easily impressed. I did find the Olympic Park on Sochi/Adler to be well-planned. This is the first Winter Olympics I have covered where you can actually walk to all of the venues. There is a transportation system, but when you’re on deadline moving from one event to another, sometimes you can walk to the next venue faster than waiting for a bus. This has proven to be very useful.

Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford perform during the team pairs figure skating short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Thursday. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

I have enjoyed shooting ice dancing and figure skating. Many of the photo positions are very good thanks to a wise system of allocating the coveted floor photo positions in the field of play. Tickets are distributed to all of the National Olympic Committees, which ensures each country gets a share of the available photo positions. This eliminated the situation we faced in Vancouver, where the floor positions were available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some people would literally spend the night in line to secure one of the 50 floor photo positions. If you wanted one of them, you had to spend hours waiting in line before the event started, which would also reduce the number of other events you could cover.

USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform during the team pairs ice dance short dance program at the Iceberg Skating Palace at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Saturday. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Me: What has it been like in Sochi? Are the criticisms about Russia’s lack of preparedness accurate? Are the concerns about the hotels and the venue on point, or overblown?

Walker: It depends whom you speak with. I thought I had problems until I heard first-hand about some of the other issues. I myself have a good room, but I do not have any television or reliable Internet. The television I quickly learned to live without, but the Internet is a major problem. For the first few days, I could not see a Wi-Fi signal, and even now it is not dependable. It works for a while, then goes down — sometimes for hours or all night. This forces me to stay at event venues or the Main Press Center later each night to use the Internet. Most of my communications, planning and report reviews require the Internet — and the same goes for any entertainment or news. Try living without television or Internet for a week — it will make you realize how connected you really are and what an important role the Web plays in your life. All of my calls to the U.S. are done via Skype — I need the Web for that to happen.

Austria defenseman Andre Lakos (64) and Canada forward Jonathan Toews (16) crash into the glass while battling for the puck during the second period in a men’s hockey game at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Friday. Canada defeated Austria 6-0. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

One additional issue is that my cellphone does not work at my housing complex, though it seems to work everywhere else. This makes me even more cut off without the Internet.

I did speak with other photographers who had no light bulbs, doorknobs or in some cases, working electrical outlets. Keep in mind you need electrical outlets to charge batteries for cameras, use laptops, charge phones, etc.

Me: What is working at the Olympics in terms of photographic coverage?

Walker: It has been a very pleasant experience. I have worked mostly in Olympic Park in the city and allowed my two colleagues — Chuck Myers of MCT and Brian Cassella of the Chicago Tribune — to handle the photo events in the mountains.

USA’s Erika Brown, center, delivers a stone as Debbie McCormick, left, and Jessica Schultz prepare to guide the stone during women’s curling competition against China at the Ice Cube Curling Centre during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Only a few photo assignments have been ticketed due to high demand. The remainder have been open to everyone. Most of the time, it is easy to move around the venue for various photo positions. During a photo meeting of all photographers one day before the games started, it was stated that 750 photographers had been credentialed. I challenge this due to the number of empty lockers and the amount of desk space. Two days ago, a member of my staff misplaced his photo credential and needed to get a temporary one. The replacement credential was No. 377 — these credentials are normally issued in sequential order for security and management purposes.

Why is the number of photographers at the Winter Games nowhere near the number that was stated at the meeting? I believe distance and the cost of travel were major influences. Security issues may have deterred many as well.

But overall, it’s been a very positive experience covering the games.

Russia’s Victor An (250), right, and teammate Vladimir Grigorev (252), left, cross the finish for a first and second place finish during the men’s 1,000-meter finals race at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Saturday. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Me: How many people are working on your team and contributing to your report? How many editors do you have, and how many photographic reporters?

Walker: MCT has a very small team covering the games. This is a result of the economic realities of the newspaper industry. MCT has three photographers and four writers, with no office space in the Main Press Center. This is the third Olympic Games where we have used this model, and it seems to work well for us. Communication is done via planning emails nightly and throughout the day, and text messaging also proves very valuable. MCT photographers are moving in excess of 200 photos daily, and we also have access to coverage from our image partners — the San Jose Mercury News, Colorado Springs Gazette and Minneapolis Star-Tribune. These image partners file images to our Washington, D.C., photo desk for posting to the wire. The three MCT photographers on site, shoot, edit and move photos live on the wire from each venue, ensuring fast and timely delivery of content to subscribers.

Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya performs during the team women’s figure skating short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Saturday. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Me: Is there anything new in terms of photographic technology that has impressed you?

Walker: Not that I am aware of. Many are using a VLAN — a virtual local area network — to transmit photos from cameras for editing at venues or the Main Press Center. But this is common for many high-profile events. The large agencies are using robotic cameras, but not as much as during the Summer Games in London.

 

Me: Has there been any interference from Russian officials or the International Olympic Committee regarding what you can or cannot document?

Walker: I am not aware of the local media situation and cannot comment on it, but I have not had any situations where Russian officials have limited access to what I have available to photograph. I have assigned photos in the towns of Sochi and Adler and heard no reports of access being limited. Working in and around Olympic venues and sites has been as the same as in past Olympics. Security is very high as compared to past games, however.

Me: Given the heavy security restrictions and the threat of terrorism, are you subject to photographic limitations?

Walker: Security personnel record all entry into and out of buses and venues electronically. Thus all movement is tracked. You also have your normal airport-style security checkpoints when you enter the Olympic parks in both the mountain and Sochi Olympic parks.

Security is definitely very tight. There are lots of undercover security personnel about — you can spot them easily at times, though I am sure there are others we don’t notice. For the first time since I have been covering the Olympics, I needed a passport to secure my accreditation. In the past, the Olympic accreditation you received before traveling to the games served as your visa and passport. Going into Russia, you needed your passport every step of the way. You needed it to get your photo armband for floor positions, your hotel room and many other items that seemed surprising since you were already in the Olympic credentialing system.

Me: Have you made any special preparations to cover a terrorist event, should one occur? If so, what are they?

USA’s Emily Scott (155), leads Lithuania’s Agne Sereikaite (140) into a turn during the ladies 500-meter short track race at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Walker: MCT has a plan in the event of an attack. Without going into too much detail, we all have phones that work world-wide, have a designated place to meet and have a request with the State Department for overseas travel should the U.S. put an evacuation plan into effect.

Me: How does this compare to the 2002 Winter Games when you were the assistant photo chief in Salt Lake City?

Walker: Many of the same systems are in place. The ticketing process seems smoother. Individuals and smaller organizations have a better opportunity to get coveted floor photographer positions than in the past. There are many volunteers at each venue to assist with everything from information to tours of the buildings.

With hockey, a high-demand sport, a system of assigned seating around the glass and in elevated photo positions has been implemented. The photo managers have done a great job negotiating photo positions. There are 60 photo positions for photographers along the glass on the ice, in addition to dozens more overhead.

Me: Have weather challenges made your photographic coverage problematic? If so, how have you overcome these challenges?

Walker: The weather in Sochi is the news of the day. It was warm at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but Sochi is much warmer — it has routinely been in the upper 50s or low 60s since my arrival. Naturally it’s colder in the mountains, but it’s like a spring heat wave in the city at the Olympic Park.

All the weather challenges have been in the mountains, where there is a lack of snow due to the warm weather. Not only is it not snowing, but the snow on the ground is melting. I personally am fighting off a cold. It is warm outside but very chilly inside. I wear moderate winter clothing because the temperatures inside a venue like the Alder Long Track Speed Racing facility can be as much as 20 degrees lower than outside.

USA’s Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform during the team ice dance free figure skating dance short program at the Iceberg Skating Palace at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Feb, 9, 2014. USA’s team won the bronze medal in the event. (Harry E. Walker/MCT)

Me: What have been your most valuable lessons learned so far?

Walker: Patience, planning and logistics. Working with venue photo managers has been pleasant. They are eager to assist you in getting a good photo position. Convey your needs and they try to accommodate you, and they seem to remember who you are the next time you come back to the venue. I wonder if it is because of the reduced number of photographers at the games or because I am the only African-American photographing the games. Read more

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U.K. newspapers decide photographers aren’t necessary

HoldTheFrontPage | The Guardian

Johnston Press’ newspapers in England’s Midlands region will no longer have photographers, Helen Lambourne reports. A source tells Lambourne “the papers would instead rely on freelance photographers, along with increasing use of submitted pictures from readers and reporters taking photos on their phones.”

In The Guardian, Roy Greenslade says concerns about quality probably won’t be relevant “at local weekly newspaper level.”

No event occurs – fires, fetes, road accidents, cats up trees, whatever – without someone being on hand to snap a picture. In the real sense of the word, newspaper photographers are therefore redundant.

Photographers “must surely recognise that their fate is due to a combination of the digital revolution and newspaper economics,” Greenslade writes. “It does make sense.”

Johnston Press owns newspapers throughout the U.K. Greenslade says he’s heard reports that the company plans a similar move in Scotland. In 2012, Johnston Press eliminated the role of editor-in-chief at Edinburgh’s The Scotsman, saying it wanted to create a “flatter, more efficient management structure.” The company recently hired Jeff Moriarty from the Boston Globe in a top digital role.

Previously: Chicago Sun-Times lays off its photo staff Read more

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MLK_shepherd

Martin Luther King Jr. under shepherd’s watch: debunking urban legend

St. Petersburg Times photographer Bob Moreland took this photo in June 1964 after Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested during a St. Augustine, Fla., sit-in and was being transported to Duval County jail. The caption read: “Dr. King Sits in Patrol Car with Police Dog.”

As the country marks the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s day of celebration, I recall one photograph I have most often heard described as “eerie.”

It is one of those iconic images that, in almost every instance I have heard it described, the explanation provided is almost always wrong.

Most recently, during the MLK Heritage Lecture series at Poynter, two attendees asked me what I knew about the photograph. That conversation reminded me of a very similar one I had this summer with actor Forest Steven Whitaker at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Orlando, during the Visual Task Force Scholarship Auction.

When Whitaker asked, “what’s going on in this picture?” someone quickly quipped: “Dr. King is being protected by the German shepherd in a friend’s vehicle.”

This is like one of many legendary photographs in which people remember the image but not the headline or the authentic context.

On June 13, 1964, The St. Petersburg Times presented a front page news story above the fold under the headline “St. Augustine Negros, Klan March Peacefully” written by staff writer Martin Waldron. The article was accompanied by a two-column, black-and-white photograph taken by staff photographer Bob Moreland.

Dr. King had been arrested in St. Augustine two days earlier during a sit-in at the Monson motel restaurant. The article reports that, under the cover of night, King was transported from St. Augustine’s St. Johns County Jail to Duval County jail following death threats, and that he arrived in Jacksonville in a car with six police officers and a police dog.

Twice in the story the author used the word eerie. In the first sentence, and on the jump page with the headline “St. Augustine Demonstrations Peaceful But Eerie.”

The story actually quotes KKK leader J. B. Stoner of Atlanta, who the paper describes as a “cripple,” urging the crowd not to retaliate against “the niggers.”

The article is a fitting affirmation of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. And sometimes a picture is worth a thousand pictures.

David Shedden, head of the Eugene Patterson Library at Poynter, contributed research for this article.

Related: Four lessons for media leaders from Martin Luther King Jr. and Gene Patterson | Flashback: Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter to southern editor Gene Patterson Read more

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obama & pete souza

PoynterVision: White House photo practices break promise of open government

Kenny Irby, senior faculty at Poynter, advises the public to critically analyze photos from the White House Press Office, particularly as it routinely denies photojournalists access to the president.

Founder of Poynter’s photojournalism program, Irby says he doesn’t believe the Obama administration is living up to its promise of “open government.”

Irby argues White House chief photographer Pete Souza‘s role is more that of a “propagandist” than a photojournalist since his job is to make the president “look good, make the president look presidential.”

In the past week, several news organizations, including the McClatchy newspapers, USA Today and the AP have said they will not use handout photos originating from the White House Press Office, except in rare circumstances.


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American photographer injured by shrapnel, other journalists hurt in Kiev protests

KyivPost

Olga Rudenko reports that at least 40 journalists were injured during protests in Ukraine Sunday. Joseph Sywenkyj, an American photographer who works in Ukraine, was among them, a spokesperson for The New York Times confirms in an email to Poynter. Sywenkyj shoots for the Times among other outlets.

Sywenkyj “was injured with shrapnel,” Danielle Rhoades Ha writes. “He received medical treatment and is out of the hospital.” Read more

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PHOTOthumbnail

Tips for Storytellers: How to make photos better

As a designer and editor, my projects have been made infinitely better because I’ve worked with stellar photojournalists. They’ve patiently schooled me on the importance of capturing the moment, finding the best light and thinking about composition. Here are a few tips. Part of a series of graphics with tips for storytellers, think of this as bite-sized inspiration. Next Friday: How to create your online portfolio and personal brand.

Quinn-fo-graphics: How to make photos better

For a PDF: Quinn-fo-graphics: How to make photos better

Related: How to make the most of your tweets | How to get your video right |
How to polish your writing Read more

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knoxville small

Why the Knoxville News Sentinel ran photos from a deadly bus crash

On Oct. 2, a bus heading to Statesville, N.C., collided with an SUV and a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 in Tennessee, killing eight people. The Knoxville News Sentinel ran photos from the accident on its Oct. 3 front page and on its website. News Sentinel visuals editor Kevin Martin spoke with Poynter’s Kenny Irby about the paper’s decision to run the photos of the accident’s grisly aftermath.

How did you and the newsroom learn about the accident? What were your first response steps?
We heard about the accident on the police scanner. It occurred about 30 minutes east of Knoxville where we normally don’t hear scanner traffic. However, emergency response units from Knoxville were needed, so that’s how we found out.

Our first step was to listen more. But once we heard it was a bus we sent a photographer and reporter to the scene and assigned other reporters to work various emergency contacts. Shortly after that we decided to rent a helicopter from a nearby town for additional aerial coverage.

When did you begin to feel that you had an ethical decision-making dilemma and what was it?
We started getting reports via social media that several people were dead. Then I saw a tweeted photo of an aerial from a television helicopter. That’s when I knew there would be difficult decisions regarding fatalities.

The News Sentinel’s Oct. 3 front page (image courtesy the News Sentinel)

What were two or three of your major concerns about publishing the disturbing photographs that showed bodies?
For the most part the bodies were covered with blue tarps. That was good and bad. Though they were covered, you could immediately pick out where and how many bodies were strewn across a major interstate. How much carnage do you show readers to illustrate a very significant and tragic news event? In some aerial photographs you can plainly see body parts. In other aerials, farther away, they were much more difficult to discern.

In a situation like this, you’re always concerned about how readers will react. You have to weigh the responsibility to inform and educate versus the responsibility to be tasteful and respectful.

Has the paper grappled with situations like this recently?
We did publish a photo during the summer of a man receiving life support from a first responder after a drug-related shooting.

How did you arrive a the decision to publish the lead image on your website first and then subsequently on your front page?
Like most news outlets, our news coverage philosophy is Web-first approach. Once we knew we were going to run a version of the aerial photographs in print, publishing to the Web was the next step.

Two men near the site of the crash. (Photograph by Michael Patrick/News Sentinel)

Who was involved in the final decision? Can you offer some insight on your process?
There were many voices in the final decision. A handful of editors met to discuss our publication plans late in the afternoon. The first item of discussion was what photo runs on the front page. We knew that the carnage should be shown, just not to what extent. We also discussed whether to display as the dominant image the emotional impact of the accident as opposed to the accident scene.

How, if at all, did you disclose to your readers/viewer your justification for publishing what you had good reason to believe would cause some concern?
Because the photo was running on the front page, we didn’t write a disclaimer or justification. If we had run the photo inside, we talked about the idea of then running a front-page disclaimer. Ultimately we heard very little negative feedback around running the photo on the front page.

Why was it necessary to publish these photographs in the context of your coverage?
It was a horrific event that impacted many lives. Those who lost loved ones, those injured, the emergency responders, they all were affected. It was an event that stretched across two states because the majority of the deceased are from North Carolina. Multiple communities felt the effects.

A woman outside the church in Statesville, N.C., which lost six people in the crash. (Photograph by Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel)

What did you learn from this experience?
That no experience like this is ever the same. You should always give others a voice in the discussion when running such a graphic image. Read more

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Kenya  Mall Attack

Kenyan newspaper flipped bloody photo on front page

Charles Apple | Nairobi Wire

The CEO of Nation Media Group in Nairobi, Kenya, apologized Sunday for a front page that showed a victim of this weekend’s terror attack covered in blood, appearing to scream. The company also suspended its editorial director.

But that photo was flipped “to make it work better with the layout,” Charles Apple notes.

“Journalists need to stop altering reality,” Justin Best, who spotted the manipulation after seeing Reuters transmit the original, told Apple in an email.

Here’s the front page (after the jump): Read more

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