Students Document Seattle P-I Photographers at the End

By Beacon Staff

This project is two fold. The Spectator’s ( the Seattle University student newspaper) photo editor Braden VanDragt documented and produced this very professional presentation, “Silent Presses,” which focuses on two Seattle Post-Intelligencer photographers and the final days of the newspaper. We get a view of the impact of a failing newspaper on its staff and community, but also a glimpse into how students are dealing with learning the journalism trade knowing their ability to find careers in the field is diminishing drastically.

This is how Joshua Lynch, editor-in-chief of The Spectator and brother of Beacon reporter Keriann Lynch, described it. Also, embedded below is the video presentation.

The week Hearst told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newsroom it would put the newspaper up for sale for 60 days, Spectator photo editor Braden VanDragt had to have an idea for a documentary project for a class we were taking. So for those 60 days, Braden got access to the newsroom and employees (no easy task), photographed and interviewed them. Shortly after 10 a.m. March 16—just hours before his project was due—the P-I reported the next day would be its last in print. Braden’s work had come full circle; he showed his video, “Silent Presses,” in the final session of the class that day. Braden made use of a tool many thought would revolutionize newspapers’ multimedia coverage: the Canon 5D Mk II DSLR, a still and high def video camera in one. Now there may not be many newspapers left to use—or afford—such equipment. But a comment in the video and the number of hits on Braden’s work highlight this fact: There is no shortage of demand for the work professional (note the word) journalists do. The business model is broken. Braden and I, and other students looking to enter the field, can only hope this demand can drive a new media business model. In the meantime, our graduating managing editor is planning on waiting tables, and I’m preparing myself for that to be the best option available. But word on the street is a few P-I employees may have beaten us to the punch.

Silent Presses from Braden VanDragt on Vimeo.

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