Surprising lessons on Journalism with Todd Panagopoulos

During my interview with Todd Panagopoulos I was surprised to learn that even with all his experience, he still came to the Chicago Tribune and had to work his way up to get to his job now as a Senior Photo Editor. I don’t know why I figured that was the job title he was initially offered. I was also surprised to learn that The Vintage Tribune was only run by two people, Marianne Mather and Robin Daughtridge, it seems like a hefty job to dig up photos and figure out where they could be used.

The best advice I received from Panagopoulos was when he said,

“I might only have ten minutes to make a portrait of you that I hope captures something of your personality so I think that’s a real skill set that builds people skills, basic communication skills, but then being able to visually assess something, in composition and light and then be patient for that moment to happen no matter how big or small it is.”

Capturing a photo takes patience, and ever since he said that I paid a lot more attention to waiting for the right moment in my photos and it’s been working out in my favor.

Doing the interview itself taught me a lot about reporting and it showed me the things that I could improve on. I learned transcribing is super time consuming and I will be aware of that next time I need to transcribe. Also, when I got a good look at all the responses I acquired, I wished I would’ve gone a little more in depth on some of them, like when I asked, “So what was one of the most exciting moments you had making a story, what was like, just say a baseball game for example, or like a Cubs game. Were any of those exciting for you?”

He answered very vaguely,

“Yeah, I’ve covered three Olympics with the Tribune and those were unbelievable experiences.”

I wish I would have had him elaborate a little bit about his answer on the Olympics. I could’ve acquired the location and what was exciting about it. After I read through it was when I really noticed areas where I could have acquired a better response. So I learned from this experience to be more aware of the places the person I’m interviewing mentions. After the interview I wanted to push myself to work harder on the projects I have set out for myself right now. Currently though I am preparing for internships by taking some time aside to get my experience at a photo studio, so I’m always trying to improve there. Panagopoulos’ description of the job didn’t give me any warnings I didn’t already know about. I’m willing to prepare for the job he describes. It was really interesting to me.

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