[PLEASE NOTE THAT AGENDA HAS CHANGED: We are sorry to announce that André Liohn won't be able to attend due to an unexpected assignment abroad. At the same time we are honoured that Riccardo Venturi (World Press Photo 2011 winner) will be key note speaker together with Fabio Bucciarelli. Please see below the updated Agenda]
Journalism, Social Media, and Storytelling in Conflict Scenarios: New Roles and Challenges for Today’s Professional Photojournalists
ROME (June 17, 2013) – Award-winning photojournalists Fabio Bucciarelli and Riccardo Venturi will headline a special panel discussion at John Cabot University on July 17, 2013, on the changing role of professional visual journalists in war and conflict.
We depend on professional and ethical photojournalists to give a true and accurate picture of the back-and-forth of the world’s conflicts, whether the battle is raging in Syria or Libya or Afghanistan or Iraq. But today the role of the professional war and conflict photojournalist is changing rapidly.
Along with the impact of new technology and the evolving world of online storytelling, social media has changed the way some photojournalists do their job. In addition, the mainstream media’s economic situation is having an impact on the war photographer’s ability to earn a sustainable living while covering conflict.
In stories such as the Arab Spring, the civil war in Libya, the rebel uprising in Syria, and even the Boston Bombing, there has been a shift in how mainstream media outlets – newspapers and television broadcasts and Web sites – use the images created by professional photojournalists. The professionals are now in competition with pictures taken by “citizen” journalists – and sometimes they are even up against photographs that have been taken and distributed by the rebels and resistance forces themselves.
As a result, readers now often view the work of professional visual journalists displayed alongside images created by civilians, or by parties who have a vested interest in one side of the conflict or its outcome.
The crucial role of mainstream media’s editors as gatekeepers is also changing; often the pictures we see first on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are more graphic than the photos that will be published on tomorrow’s front pages. Why? Because editors fear offending the sensibilities of readers with graphic war photography. As a result, many readers wonder if the war and conflict pictures they see published in social media outlets are in some way more “truthful” or “accurate” than what they see in the newspaper or on television. And so a credibility gap is growing.
The world’s most famous war photographer, Robert Capa, documented the Allied invasion of Omaha Beach on D-Day during World War II for Life magazine, and died when he stepped on a landmine in Vietnam on May 25, 1954. But Capa’s name and reputation for courage live on through a prestigious annual award presented by the Overseas Press Club, which honors the most courageous conflict photography from the preceding year.
The most recent Capa Award winners – Bucciarelli (2013 winner) and World Press Photo 2011 Winner Venturi – are coming to John Cabot University to reflect on their experience as conflict photojournalists. They will address new challenges they’re facing that have been created by technology, social media, citizen journalists, and the economic crisis that is hindering global publishing and the funding of war reporting.
Bucciarelli, who most recently has been documenting the rebel uprising in Syria, is the author of a new book about Libya, The Smell Of War.
Venturi, who’s attention is mainly drawn towards countries in conflict, foremost Afghanistan (but also Kosovo, Somalia, Gaza strip, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Libya) is working with personal investigations and has often worked for, and in collaboration with, the most important humanitarian agencies in the world.
The two will be joined on the panel by Italian photojournalist and NGO director Antonio Amendola, founder of the social documentary nonprofit “Shoot 4 Change” (www.shoot4change.net), and American magazine editor and photojournalism author Donald R. Winslow, of News Photographer magazine and the National Press Photographers Association (www.nppa.org).
Founded in Rome, “Shoot 4 Change” is a worldwide network of social documentary photographers that has evolved into a platform for citizen journalism that is not a competitor to professional photojournalists. “On the contrary, many of its members are professionals who are as committed to storytelling in crisis zones as all the other professions,” founder Antonio Amendola said. “Shoot 4 Change fills the gap in the global media scenario when it gathers ‘sparkles of information’ from around the world.”
This special evening is free of charge and open to the public. College students, photojournalists and photojournalism students, and anyone interested in how the media covers and depicts conflict and war are encouraged to attend and to ask questions and afterwards to meet the panelists.
This special event is sponsored by John Cabot University along with Shoot 4 Change and the National Press Photographers Association. The program is also presented with the support of the Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy in Rome.
Fabio Bucciarelli is a freelance documentary photojournalist based in Italy who focuses his work on conflict and the humanitarian consequences of war. He’s covered war in Africa, Libya, Syria, and the Middle East. He began photojournalism with La Presse and the Associated Press in Spain, and today he frequently collaborates with Agence France-Press and various NGOs. His work routinely appears in The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and other major newspapers and magazines. He was the winner of the 2013 Robert Capa Gold Medal for courageous photography in combat. (http://www.fabiobucciarelli.com).
Riccardo Venturi was born in Rome in 1966. He started his career documenting Italian and European social issues like illegal immigration and the rising of Nazi movements in Germany, or the early years of democracy in Albania. In the mid 1990’s his attention was mainly drawn towards countries in conflict, foremost Afghanistan. Ever since, he has travelled to many countries at war among them Kosovo, Somalia, Gaza strip, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Libya. Over the last years Riccardo Venturi has kept on working with personal investigations and he has often worked for, and in collaboration with, the most important humanitarian agencies in the world. As a long term works, he realized in collaboration with the World Health Organization, a photographic project about the spreading of tuberculosis through the world and he has been involved in a project assigned by ANMIL (Italian national association gathering people who became disabled or mutilated persons in their workplaces) about the so called “white deaths”, work-related deaths and accidents. Most recently Riccardo Venturi has been covering the earthquake in Haiti and its aftermath keep on following the country over 2011. From 2001 Riccardo Venturi is distributed by Contrasto agency.(http://www.riccardoventuri.
Antonio Amendola is a both a photojournalist (http://www.antonioamendola.com) and the founder and director of the Rome-based NGO “Shoot 4 Change” (www.shoot4change.net). S4C is a global nonprofit organization whose members include professional and amateur photojournalists, designers, artists, and writers from around the world who share their time participating in humanitarian reportage for NGOs and other social organizations.
In his career of more than 35 years, he has worked at large U.S. newspapers such as The Milwaukee Journal, The Pittsburgh Press, and The Palm Beach Post, and was a senior photographer and editor for REUTERS covering Washington, DC, the White House, and major league sports and Olympics. Winslow teaches photojournalism in Rome at John Cabot University. He is currently writing a book about the iconic war photographer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Eddie Adams (famous for his image “Saigon Execution”) for the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin, where Adams’s photographic archive is housed.