When I figured I'd take a shot at a career in photojournalism, I interned at a small newspaper in Washington DC during my last semester in college. The community oriented, bi-weekly paper was called The Common Denominator run by publisher Kathy Sinzinger. It was a small operation held together by her, maybe one or two staff writers, a couple of interns and contributions from political cartoonists and a couple of freelance photographers.
Although I had no idea what I was doing or how to cover a news event, it was a great experience. I didn't even know what a good news photo was supposed to look like because all I'd studied in my photo-j courses were Pulitzer prize winning photographs from war-torn countries and images of natural disasters. There was nothing like that going on in DC. Well maybe there was, but I wasn't covering it.
I don't remember what this particular story was about, but on April 16, 2005 I was assigned to photograph some students in a science lab at the recently re-opened McKinley Tech High School. I walked in feeling like a real photojournalist with my Canon Rebel XT and my 18-55mm kit lens. Spent about 30-40 minutes in science class and came away with this. Front page, baby. Too easy.
Seriously though, The Common Denominator and Kathy helped publish my first photo essay on boxers Lamont and Anthony Peterson and she introduced me to former head coach of Coolidge High School football, Jason Lane. And we all know how much I love Coolidge. So, shout out to community newspapers.