A Competitive Field

A few weeks ago in SJSU’s MCOM 72 (Media & Society), which is taught by Professor Rucker, The Apprentice was assigned as a JAM (Journal Analyzing Media Strategies). The class was asked to discuss what was expected out of today’s youth in the business world. To many, The Apprentice demonstrated how cutthroat and competitive the “real world” could be. It seemed as though your equals would be willing to do anything, either behind your back or to your face, in order to get closer to their own goals. I assumed that these people on television were only so competitive because that is precisely what it was, a competition. Surely once you have your staff job on a daily newspaper it is more of a family that supports one another…

On Sunday, April 10, SFBAPPA held its awards banquet for the 31st Annual Newspaper and Television News Photography Competition. While there was no boardroom wheeling and dealing as in The Apprentice, I was surprised at the apparent lack of camaraderie between fellow photojournalists and television news photographers. It seemed as though, with a few exceptions, photographers would only applaud winners from their own company, not to mention a lack or respect for the student winners.

Of course, there are always two sides to a coin. I have met nothing but open arms in contacting photographers and educators for this blog and for photojournalism related questions. Photographers such as Dai Sugano and educators such as Jenni Goldman have not hesitated in responding to my inquiries, meeting face-to-face, and assisting in my education.

And so I am left with a few questions. Do photojournalists view students only as potential competition? How much camaraderie exists between fellow photojournalists? How would a competitive/collaborative work environment affect a photographer’s drive and the quality of work produced?

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