I don’t talk about it much, but I studied political science at Northwestern University and worked for a year in Washington D.C. for a non-profit watchdog group. My belief about power, then and now, is similar to that of Peter Parker’s uncle in Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.” So when the Better Government Association asked for a video that could be used as a means for fundraising, my company Three Story Media was all in. The fact that many who work at the association were former Chicago Tribune employees with whom I used to work was an added plus.
The Better Government Association, for context, is a full-service watchdog organization. This means that not only do they conduct investigative journalism projects in Illinois, but they advocate and involve citizens to keep up the pressure on state and local officials once those projects are published. So they appear in the State Capitol in front of legislators, and they sue the government when needed. They’re the only non-profit in Illinois dedicated to government transparency. And they do amazing work.
This week I had the opportunity to be on WGN 720AM with Andrea Darlas on her show, “Andrea and the Reporters”, where she interviewed former Tribune photojournalist Nancy Stone, photographer Will Byington and myself on a range of topics regarding our photography. Andrea (center, middle) is such a pro. Have you known someone so nice and so good at what they do that by the time you’re done with something that might stir some anxiety, you’re like, “Wow, that was too easy!”? We talked about storytelling, favorite pictures, why keeping your outtakes is so important, the kindness of strangers, and generally how our careers got started. It was a fun conversation. I hope you can put it on in the background this week sometime and give it a listen.
Just wanted to give a heads up that tomorrow, Saturday May 18, I’ll be speaking at the Prism Photo Workshop at Columbia College. If you can make it, I’d love to see you. I’ll be speaking at 11am for about an hour about how to take photojournalism and storytelling into other areas to expand your influence and business. I was added a few days ago to the keynote spot when my friend John White had to attend to a personal situation, hence the last minute notification.
For those interested, the Prism Photo Workshop was started by Michael Zajakowski, Alyssa Schuker and Michelle Kanaar with the mission to “provide resources and support for young photographers of diverse backgrounds to tell the stories of underrepresented people and communities with dignity.” We believe it is imperative that news organizations — and the journalists who represent them — are credible, diligent, and reflect our communities accurately and faithfully.”
Over 100 people have already signed up online, and you can do so too. Or you can show up at the door. Hope you can join us!