The biggest lesson I learned this quarter was contact information. I had the foresight to think of how others may want to contact myself, but at the beginning of class I neglected to get information from those I interviewed – something I remedied immediately.
It pains me, though, as I would love to do a project about some of the people I met earlier, but don’t have the ability to get ahold of them. Instead of feeling too sad about it though, I will learn my lesson and always get phone numbers and emails of the men and women I meet on the streets.
The second lesson is more like one refined, instead of one learned. I’ve been nervous about approaching people as I’m always expected to get a big fat NO and then be called bad things (there are a few choice words for journalists that always come to mind).
I’ve been trying to change my insecurities since I was given some rather good advice at Pacific Forest Rally. I asked a fellow journalist how he overcame his nervousness about approaching people. He replied with something along the lines of “You’re there to do a job and people understand that”. This quarter, I really tried to embody that mentality in all of my classes and projects. I was there to do a job and, dammit, that’s what I was going to do.
My third lesson from the quarter has got to be to always think outside my niche. I’ve really concentrated on a Auto’s, Outdoors, and a variety of News … Gee, I wonder where my business name came from… but I rarely venture outside of there. This quarter has been full of projects outside my normal purview of coverage and I’ve loved each minute of it; whether covering Ursulmas or marijuana.
Opening my available beats of coverage, will only help me in the future, too.
My greatest challenge with visual journalism is much the same as my greatest challenge with my written works – I am my own worst enemy. I am not the kind of person who thinks that all, or even some, of my photos are Pulitzer prize winners and I’m the best photographer in the world… instead, I think they’re all crap. Worth only the delete button and the trash bin.
Many of the photographers who I’ve met have said much the same thing – that my photos are nothing special or nothing that your average citizen photographer couldn’t accomplish. However, hearing from my teacher, Erika Shultz from the Seattle Times, and from others who came to the class and saw some of my work, made me feel hopeful for my visual journalism future.
Luckily, there are plenty of inspirational people in the area that have done just what I hope to do: take their niche media dream and make it into a successful reality. And hearing from some of those people, such as Daniel Berman and David Ryder, who have both made if big from starting their own businesses or brands, has given me the dedication and knowledge to keep going.
Not only have the professionals who have come to class to speak with us in class inspired me to pursue my dreams, but also the people I spoke to. I wouldn’t have come into journalism if I didn’t enjoy speaking with other people about what impassions them, fuels them to action, or makes them want to change society. And I got to see that while in the class, but through a new lens… literally, my camera isn’t that old. Plus, I looked for stories in new places, too. Seeing their lives through a new lens.
Hearing and showcasing the stories of those I encounter is always fueling me to learn more, listen more, and share more. It is why I got into journalism in the first place – to share the stories of those without a platform with the world.