Dean O'Brien's Blog

Day 11: Working at the Coventry Telegraph 19/4/11

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As with most days here I arrive early and start checking the diary to see what jobs are booked in for today.


My first job is in Radford where I am going to photograph a Ricoh arena security officer who was attacked along with a colleague.  They were attacked by a drunk who was trying to gain access to the Coventry versus Millwall game.  They were both hospitalised with their injuries.  I attended the shoot with reporter Cara Simpson.  As Cara interviews the security guarsd I scan the room looking for the best place to take the images.  As they are being interviewed in a conservatory there is plenty of bright difused light which is near perfect.  I take individual head shots which show their injuries.  Then I go for full length body shots.  As with the previous shoots I use a 70-300 for the head shots to give a shallow depth of field  and then shoot wide with a 17-40.  Shooting wide was essential in such a confined space to fit both subjects within the frame.

Steve Williams from the Newsdesk had spoken to me before the shoot and told me that this could possibly be a cover story or a page 5 (possibly both).  I needed to take a variety of shots and to keep in mind that more than one would possibly be used.  I take his advice on board and it helps me to create imges in the style that are expected.

As with going out with other reporters I get the chance to ask Cara more about the job.  She knows that this field of work is going through massive changes and agrees that doing work experince is a great opportunity to work in this area.  Cara herself haddone plenty of work experience and believes that it benefitted her greatly.


I pair up with reporter Sam Dimmer and head to the Co-operative Theatre in Wyken.  The players are launching an appeal to replace their stage.  It’s currently crumbling away with wet rot.  As the shoot is in a theatre I decide to make the most of any backdrops and stage props.  I take wide and portrait shots which need to tell the tale of the problem without words.

On the way back Sam and I discuss interns at the paper and their purpose.  Sam has no problems with interns coming to work at the apper providing that they show dedication and commitment to the job.  Its no good coming to work at the paper just to tick a ‘work experience ‘ box for university.  To succeed requires a great deal of enthusiasm and people skills.  Sam is obviously passionate about his job and expects those who come into the industry to show the same amount of dedication.

I head back to the office to get my images edited and uploaded to the ‘picdar’ system.  Once up on the screen Lee Busby gave me some pointers on my images and things to be aware of when shooting.  On a few of the theatre images from earlier I had left maybe too much of a gap between the subjects.  I also could have shot from a few different angles or maybe shot through something.  The images were acceptable as good enough to use but I could have done better.  Creativity is something that I still need to work on.


I am requested to go up to Millenium Place and take a few images as there has been a massive screen placed there to show the Royal Wedding.  Luckily the sun is shining behind me so I position myself nicely.  Shooting nice and wide I capture the screen and surroundings.  I take a variety of shots from different angles and head back.

I also requested a byline for todays images.  Credit for images is not always given at the paper when images are printed but I obviously need this whenever its possible as it will strengthen my portfolio.

In todays paper I had an image printed on page 5.  This was of Ann Muirhead who is Head of Fashion at Coventry University.  This image is one of the best that I have taken so far I feel.  I still get a buzz every time I see my images in print.


Written by Dean O'Brien

April 20, 2011 at 7:36 am

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