In his book, “A Whole New Mind,” Daniel H. Pink makes a great case for the artistic mind in today’s business world, I agree. I am often asked “How relevant are your photojournalism skills in business and new media?” I refrain from the puzzled look then respond, “Extremely!” You need to be analytical, social, open to change, part geek, part therapist and part artist. I am a trained photojournalist, experienced manager, MBA and professor. The first career trained me for all the other accomplishments.
Photojournalists are typically the gadget geeks in the newsroom. This lends itself to ease of learning when faced with new equipment and software. We have also navigated a series of industry changes. The transition from dark rooms to PhotoShop, the near death of the film camera and learning to shoot and edit video all while producing quality audio required a lot of flexibility. The photographer in me has learned to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades and master of many! Simply put, successful photojournalists are fast creative problem solvers with technological savvy and people skills.
Photojournalists have to deal with an awful lot on an assignment. We need to document the news visually and be artistic about it. We meet and relate to new people every day. Often we deal with people at the single worst moment of their lives, so empathy is a given. Building relationships quickly gains us the trust needed to photograph naturally apprehensive subjects. The deadline pressure is often insane, so the fast pace of new media suites us just fine. Did I mention you need to find ways to get into places that are not necessarily safe for the general public, and avoid injury or equipment loss? I’m not going on the record about how useful these skill are! Suffice it to say I’ve been hit by a NASCAR and still made the picture. We are professional, behaving appropriately on Air Force One. Photogs are natural competitors, comparing our photo play daily in news outlets across the country.
Photojournalists do much more than this. We have breadth and depth of experience that easily translates into today’s tech heavy business world. New media, no problem. With the trials of the newspaper industry, it is worth it for photogs to consider a new path. So colleagues, while this is a trying time for photojournalists across the country, have no fear there is a place for your training in the private sector! Employers, it may just be time to start hiring “A Whole New Mind.”