Education, fascists, photojournalism

PORTLAND, Oregon (30 October 2019) — For the past few years, I have been focusing on academia and placing less emphasis on journalism. I worked in student media, earning some awards from the Newspaper Association of Oregon and Oregon Newspapers Foundation for 2019: First and third place for best spot news photo and first place overall for best photography. 

I was proud of that, as I was proud when I was the photo editor of the student newspaper when I was in the first half of my education — then it was my second school, but before the 17-year break from my secondary education, walking away from school after wasting a 5-6 years of part-time classes, working full time … sometimes getting good grades, but often not. Way back then we earned awards for excellence among other professional accolades. It was a good time and I learned a lot.

This time around, I was able to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill to fund the second half of my undergrad degree, which was, in reality, starting from scratch but with a million credits. 

Still, all of these years later — I took my first photo classes in 1992, that photo editor position was something like 1997 — I always have a camera with me. I pay attention to light and motion and patterns, and I listen to what’s happening around me. I like to think this makes a better photojournalist while helping me to notice the small things that make life fun and interesting. 

My academic pursuits are in the area of communication, which includes philosophy and sociology, with small side dishes of textual journalism. Just like in professional journalism trade organizations and the photography world, photojournalism is ignored. We’re the first to be fired and the first to have our products outsourced to low-quality “user-submitted” content or something like sending news reporters or interns to get pictures with smartphones. 

That argument is for another time; besides, if you’re here you already probably subscribe to some sort of view that places an importance on photography and imagery as an important tool for communication. 

Referring to the various alt-right, white supremacists and white nationalists as “fascists” and “domestic terrorists” may not be the most accurate terms, and is the subject of debate among the professional news media. For my purposes, they are general terms and often close enough. While it is better to be accurate, it can also complicate reporting and even add legitimacy to certain groups to sugarcoat their ideology. Reality has a liberal bias and because a terrorist organization has a media-savvy talking head who wears a suit, it doesn’t mean their views should be normalized. 

They should be mocked, examined, uncovered, fought against.

It’s good to resist the false equivalence in assigning fascists and domestic terrorists the same respect as the subject of their ire and violence: the majority of the population when taking a wider view.