A sudden awareness of something wonderful! And it all came about because a former reporter asked where the reporters were in the photograph of newsreel cameramen that graces my facebook page. I responded that there were no reporters…just cameramen until the late 20s when soundmen appeared with all of their apparatus.


No reporters for a visual storytelling media. Wow.

Well, of course – just ask Amanda Emily of newsphotog.com – there were writers back at the main headquarters, who took in the reels shot by the field cameramen and with the help of editors turned them into fodder for the masses.

But the sole responsibility of gathering information and visuals was done by newsreel cameramen, who were looked up to heros of the day.

In fact (I’m guessing here folks – and I know Amanda WILL correct me if I’m off base) there probably weren’t any real in-front-of-the-camera reporters until TV happened along.

So those of you lenslingers, shooters, camera carriers, BPJs, one-man-bands, videojournalists out there, laboring without any apparent support. YOU are who I salute today. You can trace your roots back to a noble profession that broke ground at the beginning of moving pictures.

Now quit wallowing in your glory and pick up that fifty pounds of gear and get back to work.

6 thoughts on “Epiphany…

  1. “Man on camera” programs were a TV practice that was inherited from its radio heritage.

    In fact most of the more famous early TV reporters/commentators were former radio…see the “Murrow boys” for example.

  2. As for TV ombs….I have a 1963 NPPA flying short course flyer in my files in which one of the sessions offered was how to be, yes, a one man band. Though the person who presented it was a photog, reporter, editor, EP as well as an ND. Today’s OMB’s get off easy.

  3. Thanks…I knew you would come through Amanda. Anyone who reads this – Amanda Emily is researching and writing a book about the early days of visual storytelling when newsreel cameramen ruled!

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