COBURN DUKEHART // An Editor's Insight (#004)

 Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism Watchdog Awards in Madison, WI on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

All you younger photographers, all you independent photographers, all you freelancers – break out the notebooks because this episode is not one you’ll want to miss. While we’ve talked in previous episodes about making photographs and crafting stories that are meaningful, we haven’t really looked hard at how to get that work seen by the world. (Don’t worry, in a future episode of Photo Forward, we’ll be talking with an expert on pricing and the financial side of creating your work.) But today we’re taking a brief detour from photographers to take a deep dive into the other side of visual storytelling: photo EDITING, with today’s guest Coburn Dukehart.

Coburn Dukehart is the Digital and Multimedia Director for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism where she directs its visual strategy, creates visual and audio content, manages digital assets and trains student and professional journalists. Our conversation centered around her decades of distinguished work at national news organizations as a photo editor for National Geographic, National Public Radio, and The Washington Post among others.

Coburn has received numerous multimedia awards from the National Press Photographers Association, POYI and the White House News Photographers Association. Her multimedia work also has been honored with a Webby, a Gracie, a Murrow and duPont awards, not to mention a nomination for a national Emmy.

In this episode, Coburn and I talk extensively about a number of visual storytelling topics like: what to do and what NOT to do when you’re making a story pitch to an editor, why building trust with the individuals in your photo stories is critical to making meaningful visual work, and how understanding the ethics of shooting and publishing photos (even captioning them!) can make a key impact on how visual media is viewed. You can find show notes with photos we talked about and links online at . So, without further ado, our interview with Coburn Dukehart.



QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments!

SHOW NOTES: Coming Soon!

JEROME POLLOS // Don't be trendy; Be timeless (#001)

Don’t be trendy; Be TIMELESS.


Jerome Pollos (@TheRomer) is an award-winning Northwest photojournalist specializing in documentary work, weddings and portraits for clients who love timeless, candid moments.

Joining the U.S. Navy right out of high school as a self-described "troublemaker", he was sent to journalism school in Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN, studying broadcast journalism, TV and radio; writing, and a two-week course on photojournalism — which he unceremoniously failed. After a deeply emotional photography assignment, while stationed in Washington, D.C., he saw the true power of photography and his love for the craft grew assignment by assignment. Pollos had an illustrious 13-year career at the Coeur d'Alene Press in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, but searching for greater creative control and financial freedom, took the freelance plunge in 2014. After a rocky start, he has excelled as an award-winning editorial, wedding, and portrait photographer in the Idaho and Northwest. 

When I was thinking of how best to start this weekly series, at first, I gravitated to the idea of interviewing a “big name” photographer, capitalize on their status and get listeners hooked from the get-go. But I realized early on that didn’t jibe with my whole philosophy for undertaking this – I’m in it for the long haul. Obviously I want to connect with incredible photojournalists the world over, but the soul and purpose of this show – educating photographers on the art of visual storytelling, from photographers with stories of their own that fascinate me.

So, when I stepped back to thinking about photographers with fascinating stories, unique philosophies, and with whom I’ve got a personal connection— it was actually pretty obvious who to invite first. My mentor and friend Jerome Pollos – who gave my career a massive kick-start at my first internship at the Coeur d’Alene Press back in 2010.

In this episode we unpack a ton of interesting stories about finding your visual style as a photographer, how to totally screw up a long-term documentary photo project, and making the earth-shattering move from a staff photographer position to a full-time freelancer (and not losing your mind and bank account in the process). I hope you guys get as much out of this listening as I did recording it.




QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments!