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|| News Item: Posted 2011-05-24

The Kalish: 'It helped me refine my thought process.'
Wisconsin State Journal staffer Michael P. King was trained in visual storytelling editing.

By Kevin Martin

Photo by
The Kalish, in its twenty-first year, is four days of intense training in visual storytelling editing. Participants will learn how to establish a narrative, select media mix, edit the narrative and produce the story for online and print. The Kalish combines lectures, hands-on exercise, critiques, and group discussions to create a complete learning experience. The workshop is geared for anyone who handles pictures for online or print. Picture editors, photographers, professors, writers and designers will benefit. The workshop at Ball State in Muncie, Ind. will run from June 20 through June 24, 2011. The deadline to apply for The Kalish is May 31. Visit for more details. member and staff photographer for Wisconsin State Journal Michael P. King recently attended the Kalish. Here are some thoughts from him on how the Kalish helped his career:

1. Talk about your background and how you came to be in Madison.

King: "I'm a young pup... a 2007 graduate of Ohio University's School of Visual Communication (VisCom). My first job out of school was at The Post~Crescent in Appleton, Wis., where I had interned the prior summer. I got that job just as the economy was really starting to take a turn for the worse. For a couple years layoffs loomed, and in December 2008 I found myself out of a job. I was scared, but I got lucky. Two weeks later, I was hired up the road at the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

I stayed in Green Bay for almost three years before hearing about an opening on the staff at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, the second-largest newspaper in the state. I applied, got the job, and started in October 2010. In six months, I have covered a great share of Wisconsin Badger games, the Rose Bowl, and the Green Bay Packers returning victoriously from Super Bowl XLV. And when Madison became the national epicenter of a political battle and massive protests over public-sector union rights, my colleagues and I were right in the thick of it. It has been an absolute blast."

2. Why did you attend the Kalish?

King: "First, being a victim of mass layoffs and struggling through "the downturn" with furlough weeks and dwindling resources at work, it was really beginning to take its toll. It drained me, emotionally. It left me devoid of energy at the end of every day. At the time, I felt like the industry didn't care about me at all. I felt like it wasn't investing in me, my success, or my education as a journalist. I felt stuck. Sadly, I think I was on the path to becoming a cynical, resentful 20-something... and that's not supposed to happen until you're way older, right? :-) 

But regardless of my age, I don't think I was alone in feeling those feelings at the time. And I think many people in our profession still feel this way today.

Fed up with all of those negative feelings, I decided to invest in myself. Kalish had come highly recommended to me by my friends and colleagues, it wasn't too expensive, and it wasn't too far away. I decided to schedule my furlough week for the week of Kalish. I paid my own way and used my unemployment benefit check to help pay my expenses.

Secondly, I've always felt so strongly about learning. I loved college and vowed to myself that I wouldn't let graduation be the end of me learning new ideas, new techniques, and trying to get ahead of the curve. I knew with all of the changes happening in the industry, knowledge would be key to my success. I think I am a decent photographer with good instincts, but I honestly believe it has been my enthusiasm for learning, and my genuine interest in meeting others in the profession that has carried me the farthest.

Third, I really needed some guidance on how to work with others. I fully admit I've never liked group-work. I've always wanted to work on my own and not rely on others. But I quickly found out that the real world just isn't like that. In Green Bay, where I was working at the time, I held a non-management staff photographer position but was being asked to lead multimedia initiatives and educate my colleagues in the photography department and rest of the newsroom. I was encountering significant challenges and a variety of personalities. I needed help."

Photo by Michael P. KIng / Wisconsin State Journal

Photo by Michael P. KIng / Wisconsin State Journal
3. What benefits did you see in Kalish as a staff photographer?

King: "Some people say that Kalish is a management workshop. I think it is a leadership workshop.

Everybody needs leadership, not just managers. 

Leadership isn't barking orders. It's understanding what's going through the heads of the people around you – your manager, your editor, the photographer sitting next to you. It's offering your own solutions to problems. That is power. That's the ammo you need to get your ideas and thoughts understood and considered.

Kalish helped me refine my thought process. I practiced how to better communicate what I'm thinking. I learned how to contribute story ideas and how to work with others. I learned how to see problems and projects from others' points of view. And a great bonus: I had a lot of fun and came out of the workshop with handfuls of new friends and connections that I regularly keep in contact with. They have helped me so much."

4.  How did the workshop change how you approach your job?

King: "After the workshop, I "brought it all home." I think I became a much more understanding person, more amicable, more willing to help others at work; far less likely to feel discouraged and defeated; more likely to work proactively to prevent problems, and more confident in my ability to deal with the problems that occurred anyways.

Bringing those qualities to work each and every day, instead of the feelings of resentment that I described above, totally transformed me as a newsroom employee and as a human being."

5. Has Kalish changed how you cover sports?

King: "Ha! I wouldn't go so far to say that Kalish has completely transformed how I shoot a football game. But it has definitely changed how I see everything about my job, from the planning aspects, to the edit, to the page layout, even to expectations.

In Pasadena this year for the Rose Bowl, I was the only visual staff member sent from our staff for the week... all the events, press conferences and game coverage was all on my shoulders... still photographs and video. Managing expectations, editing, and being intricately involved in all of the planning was absolutely vital. Without Kalish's influence, I don't know that I would have truly appreciated all the work that had to go into our Rose Bowl coverage... and without that appreciation I don't think we would have been as successful as we were. I also think I was able to effectively suggest to my editors some ideas, strategies, and alternatives that prevented me from being completely overworked as a one-man band."

Related Links:
KIng's member page

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