I am stuck in a hotel in Newark, New Jersey and outside my window all I can see is a 180-degree view of the airport terminals, the aftermath of a blizzard named Stella, and right there in the near distance I can see New York City’s skyline. It is near enough to see, but it’s also a $100 taxi ride away which means I need to get comfy here in Newark and start writing a blog post.
So, I guess it’s time to do a little reminiscing about my experience with the College Media Association in New York City.
I walked into a session with Todd Maisel, a New York Daily News photographer, 15 minutes early. He made his way over to talk to me because I was the first person there. In those 15 minutes, in the heaviest New Yorker accent I’d ever heard, he convinced me to make myself a Twitter account. He claimed it was a photojournalist’s most valuable tool to discovering and covering breaking news and, I (not being a Twitter fan) have to grudgingly admit, he gave me enough reasons to agree with him.
Todd Maisel went on to open the discussion up to everyone and showed us his photographs of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and he shared his stories with us of that day. He made absolutely clear to us that when you’re in the middle of a disaster and people are dying or hurting and there’s a way for you to prevent it, then documenting the misery cannot be your priority.
Before leaving that session, I made sure to get his email because I am beyond excited to learn even more from him.
But his was not the only session I went to. In others, I learned of ways to continue my photojournalism overseas while studying abroad and that I need to have a war story to tell potential employers and wandering the city helped me learn how to do more street photography.
On an hour-long tour of Bloomberg News I learned that business journalism can be exciting and fun too, that Beyoncé used to live in the same building as the publication, and that our tour guide had met Robin Williams and Angelina Jolie. Aside from the excitement of Beyoncé, Robin Williams, and Angelina Jolie, I gained a much deeper appreciation of the newsroom and its inner workings after touring this spectacular corporation.
With The Beacon, I’m a photographer before I’m a writer. Or, at least, I thought I was. But this conference taught me that in journalism, there’s no difference because in the end, no matter what your medium, you are a reporter. You show people, to the best of your abilities, the truth.