What to leave behind

I ended up covering an historical marker unveiling event over the weekend, primarily to take photos.

I tool a LOT of photos. It was an hour-long event and I probably got 250 shots. Speakers, crowds, backgrounds, unveilings, conversations, group photos. Multiple angles, different lighting, various zoom levels. On and on.

In this week’s paper, we’re using exactly one photo. Appropriately, it’s a picture of the unveiling itself.

I’m glad I was able to offer our team some choices, but I clearly overdid it. (Maybe we’ll get to use a few more images online.)

It makes me appreciate the professional photojournalists who navigate their way through events all the time, capturing a lot, looking for that special shot, knowing only one or two pics might actually end up being publicized.

Similarly, it makes me appreciate the reporters who sit through hours long meetings knowing that they may only get 300 or 500 words to capture the essence of all that was said and happened there, and to try to make it relatable and accessible for the reader.

By its nature our work is about condensing, compacting, rewriting and leaving things out so that the important and useful stuff can be seen and absorbed more fully.

It’s hard, it’s time consuming, and it’s an art form that I love.

Chris Hardie is a journalist, newspaper publisher, software developer and entrepreneur based in Indiana, USA. Read more from Chris on this site, learn more on his personal website, subscribe for updates or follow Chris on Mastodon.

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