JACKIE LARMA SPENT so long in Israel, working as a photojournalist, that the place feels like home to her. Raised in Texas, she was immersed in the struggles and daily life of Israel for 17 years. She visually documented activity in the Middle East, and also traveled to Europe and Africa to tell stories from there. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for her images documenting the struggles of Rwandan refugees.
Now, she serves as the photo editor for the Associated Press here in Philadelphia. Here are a few things she said during her visit to class:
- She didn't have worked lined up in Israel after college. She just went.
- Before she went, however, she met with editors in the United States to make connections.
- "It's hard to remain neutral," she said of documenting struggles and conflicts. "Being neutral is ignorant, in some way."
- A journalist has to learn to deal with conflict and death in a professional way.
- "People will have a view of the world because of your pictures," she said of photojournalists. "That is a huge responsibility."
- She says that witnessing violence does not numb you. It makes you more sensitive to it.
- The images she created do not haunt her. But she thinks about those people every day.
- If she saw a person in trouble, she would help them. But she wouldn't become the story like Anderson Cooper did. "He's doing a job," Jackie said of Cooper. "He's going to leave when the next big story comes along."
- Photojournalism is the exact same job as being a reporter or broadcaster. You just use different tools to gather and tell stories.
- The best journalists avoid filters - rather than get official statements, talk to those who were immediately impacted.
- She would not lie to get stories or access to information. That is against the Associated Press' code of ethics.
- She did joke with a police officer once, saying she worked for Playgirl.
- She has been detained by authorities on multiple occasions. She knew that her phones were often tapped.
- Danger surrounded her during her job. And, while serving as a photo editor, she frequently sent other photographers into harm's way.
- Being a journalist is similar to being a firefighter. "Journalism is just like any public service," she said. "We're civil servants."
What stood out for you?
6 months ago