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Peter Zuzga   [save as a favorite?]
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Image © 2017, Peter Zuzga || Democratic Presidential Candidate Vice President Al Gore addresses supporters during a campaign rally held at General Mitchell International Airport Sunday night in Milwaukee. (Peter Zuzga/Freeman Staff)
|| General Information: || Portfolio:
Peter Zuzga: Photojournalist: Laid off and looking
Address: 1741 Dolphin Dr., Waukesha, WI 53186, USA
Phone: (414) 899-6334- cell
Peter Zuzga's Message: A week ago right about now, 5:54 AM to be exact, I was struggling to breath, my eyesight was blurry, my hands shook, and I was desperately trying not to vomit. I was just called on the phone and told my job at the paper of almost 17 years was eliminated and I was fired effective immediately and that I needed to come into the office and turn in my company issued gear. No warning, no inclination that it was about to happen, just an out of the blue gut punch that in some ways I’m sure I’ll feel the effects from for the rest of my life. Seven of our newsroom, including fellow photojournalist and lifelong friend Todd Ponath, were fired in the small blood bath.
It’s been as great a run as I could ever have dreamed it would be, 27 years at two papers getting paid to meet new people, do cool things, and report on my neighbors as a community journalist.
I’ve never been naïve, the writing’s been on the wall for over 20 years. I chose a great career in a dying profession, but a profession I loved, so I rode the wave and battled the rapids. In May 2001 I was laid off from one paper and went to work for another almost seamlessly. Along the way I’ve survived so many downsizings, lay-offs and pay cuts I’ve lost track of the number. At one point I ended up in the Emergency Room having a panic attack in the lead-up to one memorable staff cutting because of the stress.
The work load grew continuously, the hours got even crazier, the pay lower, and I never have felt truly safe in my job since 2001. That adds up to one hell of a lot of stress.
The last two years have been a sprint to the edge of the cliff in retrospect. I’ve had 24-year-old reporters look me in the eye and tell me “the only reason we have photographers is to shoot standalones at night and on the weekends and for sports” and management encouraged that line of thinking. What at the start of my career was a four picture assignment became a 15 picture gallery, then the gallery plus Tweets, then the want to do the previous plus put images out on other social media platforms, and the great video push. I never said no and worked almost continuous split shifts because I knew my job was on the line every day.
The truth is that the era of the small market photojournalist is over. Big publically traded corporations now own the local papers and consider them part of their broad based profit and loss plan based on sterile numbers from across the country without thought to local demographics.
I’m trying to stay positive and not take it personal and get angry and bitter, but that’s almost a minute by minute struggle at this point.
It has been a true honor to report on my neighbors for 27 years and I’ve made a difference in peoples lives. I’ve fought the good fight for over half my 49 years, but my time in the media is sadly now over and I’m not going back.
I’m excited for my future and finding a new adventure where my skills can make a difference, enrich both my future employer and myself, but my time in the media is over. It’s time.
10 highlights from a great 27 years of meeting new people and being a witness to history.
Last Update: 19 days ago
Member Since: 6.26.2003

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The images below are from the portfolio of Peter Zuzga. They are presented here for your viewing pleasure. These images may not be used elsewhere and are protected by copyright. To see these images, click on the icon and you will see a much larger image.
1 "Gore"
Democratic Presidential Candidate Vice President Al Gore addresses supporters during a campaign rall...
2 "9/11 plus one"
Bella Smith, 2, waves an American Flag from atop the shoulders of her brother Sean, of Greenfield, d...
3 "Bush"
Campaign Rally, 2008.
4 "Sandal"
Milwaukee County Executive F. Thomas Ament, center, waits to address the Milwaukee County Board Thur...
5 "All Star Game Tie"
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig gestures his frustration before calling the 2002 All Star Game a tie...
6 "Chmura trial"
Former Green Bay Packers tight end Mark Chmura talks to his lawyer Gerald Boyle following a session ...
7 "Grief"
LaRon Bourgeois, left, and Ayanna Bourgeous, right, parents of the missing Alexis Patterson, support...
8 "Governor Walker"
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his wife Tonette share a moment as they stand in line to vote ou...
9 "Sikh Shooting"
Members of the Sikh Community and people from throughout Wisconsin gather near Miller Pond for a can...
10 "Officer down"

|| Peter Zuzga's Recent Forum Posts:   [ Detailed Forum Stats ]
10.07.15 10:54 PM Best "Real" Backpack Camera Bag
10.19.13 10:55 PM OT - If you were to own one film camera
3.01.13 11:34 PM A bit of film nostalgia
12.11.12 11:20 PM Al Bello Goes Extra Rounds Gets TKO
11.27.12 7:27 PM Hungry for a Canon
|| Peter Zuzga's Additional Galleries:
2014 Favorites:
John's journey:
2011 Favorites:
2010 Favotites:
Friday night:

Getting paid to eat pizza, smoke cigars and drink beer? One lucky photog ::..