Blog: “A Day in the Life of…”

…A Photojournalist

50 shooters. 3 days. 1 deadline.

For four days and three nights, 50 shooters from Newhouse’s photography department staked out in Skaneateles, New York to produce what could quite possibly be the best multimedia projects of their college careers. This is what the Newhouse Photo Department affectionately calls “Fall Workshop.”

Picture this- A firehouse filled with journalists poring over computer screens, fiddling with cameras and rifling through notepads. The Skaneateles Firehouse was the headquarters of the 11th Annual Fall Workshop and is essentially were these photojournalists lived all weekend long. From sunrise to sunset, and all hours in-between, students shot and edited, shot and edited, occasionally taking breaks to eat, sleep and use the bathroom.

The 50 shooters were divided into 10 teams. Each team had two coaches to turn to for advice. The coaches were professional bigwigs in the biz, such as Bert Fox, picture editor for “National Geographic,” Tom Kennedy, former multimedia editor for Washingtonpost.com and former photography director for “National Geographic,” and Ann Silvio, multimedia producer at the “Boston Globe.”

Professor Bruce Strong was head coordinator for the event. He said the students were of all different expertise levels- undergraduate, graduate and military students. But the one thing they did have in common was their passion.

“The students here aren’t working for a grade,” Professor Strong said. “Most people are here to learn, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Professor Sung Park, another coordinator of the event said “Fall Workshop” isn’t exclusive.

“We’re trying to break out to other students at Newhouse,” he said.

They want to branch out to other students besides those already in photography. And another student is what they got.

I am a student at Newhouse, a junior broadcast journalism major. I shadowed photo grad student, Jamie De Pould, to get a feel of what it is like to be a photojournalist.

De Pould snapping shots of Cuykendall and her alpacas

De Pould snapping shots of Cuykendall and her alpacas

A Day in the Life of a Photojournalist

Name: Jamie De Pould

Title: Photojournalism graduate student, Newhouse School, Syracuse, NY

Location: Skaneateles, New York

Jamie De Pould is a photojournalism grad student at Newhouse. He spent his undergrad at Capital University, completing a degree in saxophone performance. After Capital, he had two choices- Go to Yale to pursue a PhD in music theory or go to Syracuse for a Master’s in photography. He chose Syracuse.

“Looking back, I think it would’ve been an easier choice to go to Yale,” De Pould said with a smile.

We were in De Pould’s manual Civic and were on our way to “Song Meadows Alpaca Farm,” the location for his story.

“You know, sometimes I’m just like, ‘I suck at life,’” De Pould said as he switched gears. “Everything I do is crap times infinity.”

Put plainly, photojournalists are perfectionists. Every picture could have been sharper, every sound bite could have been clearer, every edit made could have been smoother. A majority of these photography students have a bad case of the “Everything we do sucks” syndrome as De Pould likes to put it.

We approached a cluster of white barns, a farmhouse and shed. De Pould drove up the gravel driveway and pulled the handbrake of his Civic when he reached the sign that read “Song Meadows Alpacas.” He got out of the car and walked to the trunk to unload his equipment. By the time I caught up, he was fully-geared with hiking boots, equipment backpack and sunglasses on. He was ready to find his story.

Cindy Cuykendall is the owner of Song Meadows Alpaca Farm. She loves alpacas, and that’s a understatement.

“My husband wasn’t too thrilled about the idea of alpacas when I first told him,” she said. “It was almost down to choosing my husband or the alpacas.”

De Pould laughed. He followed her around her farm to get a lay of the land. As soon as they opened the gate for the tour, the alpacas came rushing forward.

“They’re very inquisitive creatures,” Cuykendall said as the alpacas grouped around De Pould and the foreign object known to humans as a camera.

For the rest of the morning, De Pould snapped photos of the farm and the animals and gathered more information about Cuykendall. He then scheduled his next meeting with her, and told her he’d be back later in the evening after he reviewed what he got thus far with his coach.

And with that, we trekked back to his car and drove back to the firehouse.

“I tell myself that I’m not going to take anything that they say personally,” De Pould said. He was talking about his coaches. “I’m going to learn as much as I can.”

So is the life in the Day of a Photojournalist.

An ABC News Supreme Court Correspondent

There are nine justices that preside over the U.S. Supreme Court, and Jan Crawford Greenburg doesn’t want their high bench to fool you.

“They like their anonymity,” Greenburg said. “They like looking like any other old white guy.”

Greenburg is the Supreme Court Correspondent for ABC News. She visited Syracuse University Thursday night to speak about what she said is a truly fascinating newsbeat.

“Who says legal stories have to be boring?” Greenburg posed to the audience. “You tell about the people, just like in any other story.”

The justices are people, real people with real stories. This was Greenburg’s message Thursday night.

“They pass notes to each other at the bench,” she said with a laugh. “Sometimes they do this when they’re trying to convince the others of voting a certain way.”

Who knew the most powerful judges in the country pass notes to each other just like middle school students?

Greenburg has been following the Supreme Court newsbeat for 15 years now and says it’s a beat unlike any other. She said the mystery of the Court is what interests her.

“The court is still such a mysterious place because there are still no cameras in the courtroom,” she said.

But she’s slowing piecing together the picture of the Supreme Court, both on camera and in print. Before working for ABC, Greenburg was the national legal affairs reporter for the “Chicago Tribune.” During this time, she gained the hard-earned trust of the justices through her writing.

“I was a newspaper person and I was print all the way,” Greenburg said.

But the more she did with television, the more she liked it. She now produces content for broadcast programs like “World News Tonight,” “Nightline” and “This Week with George Stephanopolous.” She said the wall that once used to divide print and broadcast is no longer there.

“I used to say, ‘Oh those broadcast people, they just steal our stories and weed them on the air,’” she said.

While Greenburg spent most of the night spilling the somewhat juicy details on the Supreme Court, her own personality shined when she performed her impersonations of former Justices O’Connor and Rehnquist.  Throughout the night she balanced the formal and the informal to captivate the audience.

“Your purpose as a journalist is to inform people,” she said. “Journalism is the quintessential job of public service.”

She spoke slowly and she spoke a lot, taking the time to think about every answer before she said it. Her answers to the audience averaged 15 minutes.

By the end of the night, she painted a clear picture of how she perceived the Supreme Court and the people that run it.

“Wanna know what’s funny?” she asked. “There’s a couple out there who has a picture taken of them by Sandra Day O’Connor on their refrigerator. This couple asked her to take their picture while they were hiking without knowing who she was.”

The Supreme Court justices are real people. This was Jan Crawford Greenburg’s story.

…A Network News Panel

In the world of sports, reporting is now a competition between traditional journalists, sports leagues and teams and the fans. On Friday afternoon, four experts in the media field spoke about this emerging rivalry in the first of the “2009 Tully Center for Free Speech Seminars” at the Newhouse School.

Technology is changing the way news is being reported. Long gone are the days where the news consumers solely turned towards newspaper, radio or TV. Thanks to today’s technology, majority of the public go to the internet for their daily dose of the news, by checking out online streaming videos, blogs and Tweets.

But this increase in media outlets is causing problems.

Problem One: Rights Violations- Are these bloggers, Twitter users and online news junkies infringing on media companies’ ownership to report on events?

Problem Two: Redefining journalism- Should bloggers, Twitter users and Youtube users be considered journalists?

These were the questions that former Newhouse dean, Dr. David Rubin, posed to NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas, Time Warner executive John Keib and National Press Photographers (NPPA) Association general counsel Mickey Osterreicher.

Keib is an expert on company ownership rights on sporting events. He said Time Warner has a definitive claim on particular sporting events. Even high school is fair game.

“We now buy the rights to high school Onondaga County football games,” Keib said. “High school is just the platform it’s seeped down to.”

So what does this mean for photographers who want to cover the game but are not representing Time Warner?

“Let’s just say they’ll probably take away the camera before the gun,” Osterreicher said with a laugh.

Osterreicher was a photojournalist for 30 years. He’s said it’s getting increasingly difficult to cover an event.

“They’re starting to not even allow cell phones into events,” Osterreicher said.

Costas, however, doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal. He said the primary carriers of media events, like Time Warner or NBC, offer the public something that a typical fan with a cell phone and the Twitter application cannot.

“Do you really think someone is going to prefer seeing a picture from a person’s cell phone like this as opposed to NBC’s coverage?” Costas asked the audience as he demonstrated taking a picture with an invisible cell phone.

“Or do you really think someone would prefer to read a blogger’s pitch-by-pitch description of a baseball game when they can just watch it on TV?” he asked.

So whether or not fans are infringing upon companies’ rights to the cover the game shouldn’t be cause for concern, according to Costas.

“The practical matter is that these different media are not a threat to Fox, NBC or any other network,” he said.

While Costas doesn’t feel threatened by packers_lover303, he does think the growing number of so-called ‘journalists’ is becoming a problem.

“Everyone is asking to be credentialed now,” he said. “Pretty soon you’ll look around the football stadium and you’ll have a huge press section where seats used to be.”

…A Tattoo Lover

http://www.thenewshouse.com/flash/dan-fitzpatricks-ink-therapy

…A Congenital Amputee

DSC01937

Syracuse- Monday, Oct. 26, 2009

John Robinson is a man who any would categorize as successful. He’s 40-years-old and has a wife of fifteen years, three kids and a thriving sales career. The only thing missing in his life? Arms and legs.

Robinson is a congenital amputee, meaning he was born without any limbs past his elbows or past his knees. According to the Amputee Coalition of America, only 26 out of every 100,000 births are affected by congenital amputation, and most of those affected are only missing one foot, finger or hand.

“But I’m a lottery winner folks, [I’m missing] all four limbs,” Robinson said with a laugh.

Robinson is a 1990 SU alumnus. At full height, he reaches three-foot-nine. And he says that those who see his height as an obstacle are right to see it that way.

“Put your elbows together,” he instructed the audience. “Now can you unhook your pants?”

Of course, no one in the audience was able to perform such a task. And that was Robinson’s point.

“I didn’t learn how to dress myself until I was much older,” he said. “But the last thing I wanted to do was move into Sadler One and say to my roommate, “Hey can you hook my pants up for me?”

DSC01942

Robinson visited SU on Friday afternoon to speak about his recently

published autobiography, Get Off Your Knees: The John Robinson

Story, and the PBS documentary that aired this weekend.

“I had no intention of writing this book,” he said.

“But people kept telling me, ‘John, you have a

story. You should tell it.”

Robinson said he did not decide to write his book because he believes he’s more extraordinary, more talented or more sophisticated than your average Joe. Instead, he said he decided to write his book because he is your Average Joe with one exception.

“I can golf, but I’m not going to win any golf tournaments,” he said. “My putting stinks, my short drive stinks … but I’m just like everyone else. I just like to golf.”

Robinson stood before an overflowing room of more than 100 locals, students, parents and professors. He told the audience about the hardships of his life.

DSC01943

“I walk into the grocery store and I hear, ‘Mommy, mommy! Look at the little man!” he said. “Or I hear, “Mommy, mommy! Can I touch the little man?”

But Robinson hardly seemed like a little man as he stood tall before his audience and told the tale of how he got over his insecurities.

He went back 23 years in his memory to tell about his college days and how most of them were spent waiting in lines.

“In college, you’re always waiting in lines,” Robinson began. “Waiting in line for the movies, waiting in lines for games, for textbooks. And my view of everything [while I was in lines] was people’s butts.”

One day while attending SU, he was waiting in a backed-up line when a lady behind him yelled, “Hey! If you got off your knees the line would start moving a lot faster!”

He said he and his roommates could not stop laughing. And that was moment he decided to really get off his knees.

So what does “getting off your knees” actually mean to Robinson?

He said it means working hard, being educated, being a good work person, being a tax-paying citizen and most importantly being a good family person.

“You can get bogged down in your little world, but you got to work with what you have,” he told the audience.

As Robinson’s uncle, Don Morris, said in the documentary, “John is someone who has an obvious reason to be different and chooses not to be.”

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