Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Death of Photojournalism: 1 Day Later

Dirck Halstead thought that maybe he came off as sounding more bleak than he had intended in our post yesterday, so he followed up with this much cheerier email we think is well worth sharing:

I am afraid that I have become increasingly realistic and therefore pessimistic about the future of our trade, which is not really my nature.

I find that when I get in these moods, the best thing for me to do is to go out and speak to young people. I had that chance today. Cornell University sponsors a summer program for what they consider to be "the brightest high school students in the land."

They split them up in three groups of twenty, and one of the groups is spending the summer here at [University of Texas].

I was asked to talk to them . These are not photojournalism wannabes. They are, however, at the exact age that I decided to run off to Guatemala for my first LIFE story. So I took it seriously, and after showing them some pictures, spent the next hour just talking about journalism and what a wonderful career it is to aspire to, that will open so many doors to so many different kinds of people.

They were very attentive and asked very good questions (which you don't normally get from college students), and the way I left it with them was this:

"Most of you will now be going off to four years in a college or university. Many of you have scholarships already. Thank God for this opportunity at this time, because while you are in school these next few years, EVERYTHING will change. From journalism, to business, to world affairs, to how crops are harvested. This will be the period of the 'big reset.' If you can huddle inside those ivy cloisters, do so. Bar the door. Ride it out.

"Because when you emerge in 2015, a lot of things will have been settled. There will be opportunities which have scarcely been thought of, and your time in college will allow you to prepare for this new world. Above all, don't be afraid. Dare to dream, and to work to make those dreams come true. The new future will be entrusted to you. Use it well."
Halstead's original article ("Revisiting the Death of Photojournalism, Ten Years Later") appears in the July issue of The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism that he has published for the past twelve years -- itself an indicator of his ongoing passion for, and commitment to, our eternally evolving field.

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