Dean O'Brien's Blog

Day 1: Working at the Coventry Telegraph: 4/4/11

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After sending plenty of emails I finally managed to get myself some work experience at the Coventry Telegraph. This is a great achievement for me as I have wanted to work here for so long.  To see what it is like to work as a photographer for a real daily newspaper.

I arrive at 11am and am shown upstairs to the Newsroom where it all happens. The photographer’s are based in their own area and the main focal point is the diary. This contains all the jobs which need to be done for that day.


I finally get to go out on my first job shadowing photographer Joe Bailey. Joe has worked at the paper for ten years. Our first job is at a school for children with learning difficulties. They have been donated some new bikes so we are there to cover this. Also attending with us is Sam Dimmer, a reporter with the Coventry Telegraph. As soon as we get there Joe already starts looking at curves and angles to see what would make a good shot. Sam is already interviewing people and jotting notes in shorthand.


For the second job of the day we head to Radford in Coventry to take images of family members appealing for a missing member of their family.  This is a sensitive shoot so these circumstances have to be taken into consideration.  As we arrive at the house we go into the living room and we get to work.  Joe organises the family members for the shot and I assist by holding the flash off camera using a flash extension cord.  Joe takes a variety of shots so that all areas are covered.  The shoot is nailed within ten minutes.  I’m impressed.  Not just with the shooting side of things but Joe’s people skills.  He seems to have a great relationship with people and this does make the job easier.


Fot the third and final job we head to the Caludon Centre at University Hospital in Coventry where a disgruntled patient has driven a car through the front doors of the building.  Not only have they driven through the front doors but they carried on driving through the building until the car got stuck.  By the time we arrive the car has been removed but there is plenty of visible damage.  As we arrive at the hospital reporter Tina Junday is already there getting the story.  We continue to get the shots required.

Joe briefs me on what happens to the images after they have been shot. I was surprised to find that all the images for the paper are shot in jpeg and not RAW. This does however speed up the processing part. The processing part is quite simple and quick. Images are uploaded and just given basic levels and sharpening (if required) followed by cropping. They are then tagged with an individual code making them easier to locate.

Joe tells me that he likes to be creative when taking his shots and states ‘For your own sanity be as creative as you can.  Don’t just think ‘Oh that will do’.  It is vital that you do not fall or drop into that way of thinking’.  ‘Always take a shot for yourself.  It may not be the one thats ideal for the paper to use but it keeps you interested in the job’.  It made perfect sense.

Throughout the day we discuss many aspects of this ever changing industry.  We both agree that video will soon start to play a major role within the industry and  something that photographer’s will be required to do in the near future.

Towards the end of the day Joe gives me some positive feedback and tells me that he can tell that I am genuinely interested in the job and this type of work.  That was good to hear.  This type of placement is not just about photography.  Its about relationships with people and the subjects you are shooting.  I am looking forward to the rest of my time here at the Coventry Telegraph and learning from those working here.

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Written by Dean O'Brien

April 6, 2011 at 8:46 am

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