As a photojournalism major, we often have guest speakers who are invited into class to discuss their perspective fields in the media industry. Personally I generally regard these media professionals as excellent resources who provide insightful information about everything from the technical details of their positions to landing a successful job in the difficult and constantly changing field of journalism. While these speakers have remained optimistic about the job market and journalism field in general, they have time and time again communicated the message that while although good jobs are ‘out there’, they are difficult to be found, and those who manage to obtain them have worked very hard to earn them. Additionally they have all seemed to communicate the message that I hear frequently from professionals across other disciplines: It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. I don’t really understand the truth behind this statement, however, because I believe that in the field of journalism, among other industries, your portfolio would do you more justice than your ‘buddy-buddy’ connections with the boss. Why would they want some hack journalist trying to publish shabby journalism at a professional publication? What I believe, rather, is that a good journalist who has good connections has a better opportunity at landing that position than a journalist who doesn’t have those connections. In 2010 the world of journalism is fueled by the community journalists who know how to use Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, WordPress and other social networking resources effectively and understanding this networking interface is key to their success.
This having been said, I’d like to focus on one particular speaker who just recently visited our lecture, photojournalist Chip Somodevilla. Chip, an alumnus of UNT, is currently a member of the news photo staff at Getty Images in Washington D.C. and shoots inside the U.S. Capitol building. After lecturing on the the importance of the practical implementations of good journalism and ethics, Chip extended an invitation to the respective members of class to join him at the Capitol should we ever find ourselves visiting D.C.
Once I heard this I immediately jumped on the offer. I spoke with Chip after class some about the custom function settings on my Canon 5D Mark II as I noticed he shot with the same camera, then I asked my professor Susan C. Zavoina for his email, contacted him and the rest is history.
I just purchased my tickets a few days ago to arrive in D.C. on May 18th through the 23rd & photograph with Chip in the Capitol building. In an e-mail he said it was possible that during our time photographing he may be called to the Whitehouse, which I don’t have access to shoot in, but I’m going to be perfectly content with shooting senators (sounds so wrong) inside the Capitol.
I’m really looking forward to this trip. I think it will be a great opportunity to get some experience doing some professional-grade photography of events that actually matter, and hopefully I’ll be able to walk away with some quality portfolio images and a good understanding of what it’s like to work as a photographer in the U.S. Capitol.