I attend the best School of Journalism in the country and arguably one of the best in the world. We pride ourselves on innovative teaching methods and being a front runner in the race to have the best technology. Attending the worlds best (and first I might add) J-school definitely has it’s perks. One of which I got to experience yesterday.
The Picture of the Year International (Poyi) contest began in 1944 at the Missouri J-School. Since then it has grown into conferences, workshops, and an event that photographers and journalists look forward to each year. Yesterday, instead of learning how to use audio recorders that look more like a taser than a device to record audio, our professor took us to the judging of POYi.
I know what you might be thinking. Going to watch four people talk about a bunch of stories told through photos. And not being allowed to talk. Did I mention the room was pitch black? Sounds like a real snoozer.
Except it wasn’t. It was one of the most amazing things I have gotten to experience in my college career thus far. I guess it would be like a soccer fan getting to practice with David Beckham or an aspiring politician getting to sit in on a meeting at the Oval Office. Yes, I found it that exciting. I don’t know if it was because I have a new found love for photography or that I was in the mere presence of the judges who are all famous journalists in their own right.
Anyway, one of the judges was Barbara Davidson. Davidson has been a staff photographer for the Los Angeles since 2007. She recently won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on “innocent victims trapped in the crossfire of Los Angeles’ deadly gang violence.” As a native to the Sunshine State, I’ve been reading the LA Times (or the LA Slime as it so affectionally called in my family) for several years now. This was a story that she pursued for four years and she recently had the chance cover the trial the young man who fell victim to the woes of gang violence. “This is my life piece” Davidosn said to the room of multimedia students yesterday.
In a world where Debbie Downers think the Journalism industry is falling off the charts, that is such an inspiring thought to hear. As journalists, it is our job to leave the public feeling moved. I want to be a journalist because I want to inform people. But also, I want to tell stories that ignite a flame in readers that will spark a fire of change. Stories like Davidson’s reminds me that I will find that piece that will have such an overwhelming impact on me that I want to devote my life to it. I will be forever on the lookout for it and until I find it, you can find me at the J-school, latte in hand and iPad note-taking app at the ready.
For more information on POYi, check out the link–http://www.poyi.org/#section
P.S.–Just wanted to share this graphic. This is one of my favorite depictions of my hometown. I’m feeling a little homesick as many of my friends are getting ready to head home for the weekend-a luxury that I don’t get to experience being 1,700 miles away from home.