Atwood Chair 2012: Richard Murphy
"Now, with the digital age, everybody has become a photographer. Unfortunately, almost everybody has become a really bad photographer. So I beseech you, don't be a bad photographer. You don't have to be." –Richard Murphy, Atwood Lecture, April 11, 2012
Ask a professional photojournalist to deliver a lecture and, naturally, he's going to give it to you in pictures.
The 2011–2012 Atwood Chair of Journalism, lifelong photojournalist and recent convert to cellphone photography Richard Murphy delighted a packed auditorium with a slideshow of photographs, largely shot with his iPhone camera. While he showcased some of his own story in images, attendees were given a sense of Murphy's Anchorage neighborhood (part of a zip code project he assigned to students in his spring semester photography class) as well as a quick peek at what happens when you ask your wedding guest (who happens to be a professional photographer) to get some good shots of your wedding.
Problem: He may want to keep one hand free to join in those champagne toasts.
Solution: He'll use his cellphone so he can blend in with the rest of the guests and grab some free-spirited candids.
As the Atwood Chair, Murphy brought decades of photojournalism experience to share with students at UAA. He also brought his new iPhone and an open mind. Recently retired from the Anchorage Daily News where he led the photography and arts/graphics departments, Murphy immersed himself as an artist and mentor, trying new things right alongside students with surprising results.
"I started to look at things differently—I started taking pictures of things I wasn't taking pictures of before," he said, urging lecture attendees to take the time to familiarize themselves with the journalistic tool that probably already lives in their pockets. "I predict that there will be a time shortly where no working journalist will go into the field without a cellphone. Whether it's to record photos, to record video, to record audio. You're going to take one of these tools with you. It may end up being your main tool."
Just as lecture attendees enjoyed the opportunity to learn from an expert, so students enjoyed an enriching semester under the guidance of a veteran with an eye for new challenges.
You can view the complete audio slideshow of the 2012 Atwood Lecture on UAA's YouTube channel here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=abSldLWPnrI.
Atwood Chair 2011: Scott Jensen
Jensen is a two-time winner of the National Press Photographers
Association's National Ernie Crisp Television News
Photographer of the Year. He has experience in large television markets
such as Minneapolis/St. Paul and Seattle, but also has worked as
director of photography at KTUU Channel 2 in Anchorage. He is also the
recipient of numerous Emmys and earned a Sigma Delta
Chi Award for feature reporting from the Society of Professional
Journalists in 2008.
Jensen says now is the time for journalists to adhere to foundational storytelling theory. The concept he teaches in class is called commitment. Simplicity. Efficiency. Velocity. Journalists can survive in spite of the chaos ravaging their traditional mediums.
After his time as the Atwood Chair of Journalism, Jensen served as the chief photographer and managing editor of special projects at KTVA, a CBS affiliate in Anchorage. He then became chief photographer at KING 5 News in Seattle.
Atwood Chair 2009-2010: Pat Yak
Pat Yack's term as the Atwood Chair of Journalism made him into a believer—in journalism education at UAA and in the importance of the Atwood Chair position to enrich student study and connect UAA with the dynamic journalism community throughout the state.
Drawing on his 30+ years as a journalist, most recently as editor of The Florida Times-Union, Yack was able to bring an editor's eye and a veteran reporter's perspective to his classes.
Yack loved the opportunity to work with students in the Department of Journalism and Public Communications during his tenure as Atwood Chair so much that they've had no trouble getting him back in the classroom nearly every term since. "I love being on campus with the students," he says. Fall 2012 has him teaching JPC A204 Information Gathering.
Yack's continued work in the classroom is only part of his commitment to UAA. He is also an advocate for the Atwood Chair position. "I've been working to try and attract some additional interest and enthusiasm for the Atwood Chair," he says. "It's a phenomenal program." He's seen firsthand the mutual benefits gleaned by a community from having a strong, connected university—access to great athletics, library resources, visiting speakers and artists, to name just a few.
"In some communities, there's a real gap between the gown and town, as they say, and that's unfortunate because the college benefits from the community and the community unquestionably benefits from the college." Another charge of the Atwood Chair is connecting "the gown and town" through networking with local journalists and embracing public speaking opportunities.
"I've been fortunate to live in communities that have really vibrant universities, vibrant campuses," Yack says, referring to past hometowns Dallas, Texas, Eugene, Ore., and Jacksonville, Fla. "I'm just bullish on universities and love living in university towns." So, although he stays incredibly busy working as the vice president of public media for APTI (the folks who bring us KSKA, APRN and KAKM), he still makes the time to foster connections with UAA. "I've always felt it was important to give back in some way…That's been the reason for my involvement at UAA."
Atwood Chair 2001-2003: Gary Cohn
Atwood Chair 1997-1998: Byron Acohido
Atwood Chair 1992-1993: James Atwater
Atwood Chair 1980-1981: Cleve Mathews