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|| News Item: Posted 2009-10-04

Leading Off: For The Love Of Photojournalism
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Fresno Guide

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Fresno Guide

Fresno City College soccer game shot with a Nikon F2, 500mm f/8 mirror lens; Tri-X rated at ASA800 processed in Acufine.
I always love this issue.

Each fall the Sports Shooter Newsletter features a series of stories written by students called "Intern Diaries". These students chronicle their time working at newspapers, agencies and at other photography jobs, some large...most of them small. They write about the assignments they shot, the people in the communities they worked, the lessons they learned and the photographers they worked with.

What I love about Intern Diaries is that they take me back to my days in college and the start of my career. While the experiences recounted in the individual stories are different, they are all also very similar. They all have in common a feeling of the pride in not just their work, but in photojournalism.

I didn't have the opportunity of an internship while I went to Fresno State in the mid-70's, but I did get a full-time job working at a small daily --- a very small one --- my last year of so in school. The Fresno Guide was the local throwaway rag that was on every home's driveway, known for conservative politics and supporting developers' projects. But in '77 for some reason ownership decided to publish the Guide daily and to make it into a "real" newspaper. Sections were added, staffing increased and a more professional and aggressive style of journalism was encouraged.

I was making a whopping $175 a week, often working 50 or 60 hours covering local news, finding features and most importantly (at least for me) shooting sports. A LOT of sports. (I prided myself for covering three prep high school games on one Friday night, winning a bet from a sports writer.)

There were long hours ---city council meeting in the morning, community fund-raiser at noon, soccer game at 3, football game at 7…not to mention dunking the film and making prints. Bad, greasy food late at night --- most of the time at the Eagle Cafe. And a lot of learning on the job --- the highlight of my 18 months at The Guide.

I learned about working with reporters; finding stories in the community on my own; keeping my sanity while living on little sleep and lots of coffee (except for one scissor throwing incident in the newsroom); and what journalism is all about.

It was love at first sight.

It has been a tough couple of years for photography and newspapers. We have gone from trying to figure out how to get the most speed out of the film we shot to getting the most of the early 3.8 mega-pixel digital camera to integrating audio and video into our storytelling ... to now worrying about whether we will have a job tomorrow.

In all of the handwringing we have been doing about the fate of our jobs, I think we sometimes lose sight of why we got into photojournalism. The excitement and joy that the Intern Diaries exude is a great yearly wake-up call for me. It's a reminder that the cliché that my working as a journalist is not just a "calling" (as it is often described) but a privilege.

Internships are suppose to be a learning experience for the student. But there is something that we can all learn from them --- or maybe relearn --- in reading Intern Diaries: Our love of photography and our sense of purpose in telling stories big and small.

* * *

Our Intern Diaries were contributed by David Bond from Ball State; Abby Drey from Pennsylvania State University; Lance Booth from Western Kentucky University; Doug Strickland from Centre College; and Crystal LoGiudice from Louisiana State University.

I grew up in Fresno with Brad Shirakawa, listening to Tower of Power, Creedence, Santana, WAR, the Doobies, Elvin Bishop and most of all The Beatles. Music has always been an important part of my life, but music is Brad's life. Audiophile is an understatement in describing Brad. When the remastered Beatles catalog was announced, I heard about it first from my buddy Brad. So when I was putting together the lineup for this issue, I thought it would be fun and cool to have him write a piece about the new box sets from John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Matt Brown contributes an important piece on the importance of building relationships. Chase Olivieri writes this month's Sports Shooter Destinations on Easter Island. Brian Blanco offers advice and a checklist on covering protests.

* * *

On the nightstand is Crime Beat by Michael Connelly and Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman. Heavy rotation listening is Ray Camacho & The Tear Drops' "Best Of".

As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, Paul Myers, Myung J. Chun, Jared Dort, Josh Lehrer, Jordan Murph and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: Lance Booth, Abby Drey, David Bond, Doug Strickland, Crystal LoGiudice , Brad Shirakawa, Matt Brown, Chase Olivieri and Brian Blanco.

The comments, opinions and other nutty statements that the writers may have expressed, implied, imagined or made up are theirs and theirs alone. Sports Shooter, Inc. and published these articles in good faith with the purpose of education and inspiration.

Permission in writing must be obtained from Sports Shooter, Inc. and the author of the article before being reprinted.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at

The Sports Shooter Archives as well as tons of cool resources and information can be accessed through the Internet at

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