Capturing events the Reuters way
An interview with Global Picture Editor, Rickey Rogers.
Photography is key to make your content more engaging. At Reuters, we provide live pictures as news breaks along with over 1600 news pictures each day and a vast network of award-winning photojournalists.
Behind each iconic picture, a team of editors works tirelessly to capture the essence, authenticity and significance of the event. In this interview with Global Picture Editor Rickey Rogers, we explore how our photojournalists cover the key events of our time.
RICKEY ROGERS, GLOBAL PICTURE EDITOR, REUTERS PICTURES.
Q. What does your role as global picture editor entail?
I have been picture editor since the beginning of this year. In a nutshell, my job is to work with regional editors, photographers, and managers to provide the most insightful and innovative picture service possible on global news and sports. I was previously head of pictures for North and South America, after having spent most of my career with Reuters in South America as photographer and editor.
Q. When managing the team, how do you decide who to deploy and where?
The decisions on who to deploy and where in a breaking story depend on the location and experience of available photographers.
Our global clients expect us to be the fastest in delivering the first images of any story, so we look for photographers (either staff or regular freelance contributors) who are closest. We also consider whether or not the closest photographers have the proper experience to provide the coverage we need. We send the more experienced photographers to lead coverage.
If it’s a hostile situation then we only employ photographers who have the proper training in personal security, awareness, and first aid.
We have been producing a regular stream of VR video and pictures for over a year, and are now delving into the use of drones for news coverage.
Q. Access is not as easy to gain due to restrictions and security policies. In addition, most people own a camera, can travel & take pictures. Where does Reuters photojournalist sit in this context?
Security measures have certainly increased in recent years, and I think one of the factors that makes photographers of all types less welcome is precisely the ubiquity of cameras in the form of smartphones.
The impact of a photograph on social media is so great that authorities, institutions and organizations that we used to photograph freely are much more careful about permitting access to any photographer. There are also fears concerning copyright law that affect our access in the digital age.
Reuters is very careful to maintain its reputation as a provider of unbiased, ethical, and fair news coverage, and that often keeps us on the ever-shorter list of permitted media organizations allowed to cover events. Simply put, we are a trusted source of real news. Even the UGC (user generated content) that we source from social media are carefully verified with full permission acquired before offering to our global news clients.
Q. Are there any photography innovations or technologies that you’re experimenting with?
Reuters Pictures has a long history of using new technologies to the benefit of its clients, especially in the delivery of images from urgent stories. Urgent stories include not only breaking news, but also sports and entertainment that global media are eagerly awaiting to publish.
“We stress that photographers be journalists above all, and that their work reflect that.”
Q. What’s Reuters stance on the digital alteration of pictures?
We don’t allow digital alteration of pictures beyond cropping and simple tonal adjustment. We consider any other alteration as the most serious of ethical breaches, and practice a policy of zero tolerance for any violation.
Q. In your opinion, what's the most unique photograph of the year?
Reuters chief photographer in China, Damir Sagolj, travelled to North Korea in April and in spite of being escorted most of the time managed to shoot some insightful pictures during his few days there. This coverage was unique not just in the quality of the images but also due to the multimedia production that was done for our Wider Image website and global clients.
Damir paired up with journalist James Pearson, who has great knowledge of North Korea, to write up extended captions which give much greater insight into what is in the photos, whether it was information about the actual vehicles and arms on display, or an explanation of the way flags were positioned and the way soldiers were facing in the parade. This was about forward planning and creative journalism, and the desire to report in a different way.
Q. How are Reuters photographers trained to strive for outstanding storytelling?
We also only employ photographers who have a high standard of aesthetics, and are ethical in their reporting and behaviour. Reuters Pictures editors and photographers are very focused on getting breaking news to clients as fast as possible, and then on telling the in-depth story behind the news. We constantly stress the need to invest the bulk of our resources in the top news stories and top visual stories that are important to our global clients and to the world.