by Mark Hertzberg
Director of Photography
Racine (WI) Journal Times
As our newspaper's Director of Photography, I've just finished filling two vacancies, our first in five years. 32 people applied for the two jobs, from as far away as the Philippines and England.
It's a bit strange to think of the effect I can have on people's lives in this regard.
They put their plans on hold until they hear from me.
They put their heart and soul into a portfolio that they think is a sure winner, but I have to let most of them know that they are not in the running for The Job.
I looked for two people who have the right mix of talent, a desire to learn, an ability to take constructive criticism, motivation, the ability to work independently with often-annoying work schedule demands, and a personality that will be a good fit for each other and their newsroom colleagues. There are 1001 other traits that go into the mix, but that's a start.
A former intern who moved to another paper for a good part-time job came up to me at an assignment in April, and told me that he would like to come back to work for us if we ever had an opening.
I told him I'd just learned that we'd have an opening in November. I called him in late August when another opening suddenly came up and we talked about the possibility of his coming back to work for us right away.
He understandably said he had a lot to think about before deciding for sure. Two days later he accepted our offer, an offer he initially thought he wanted more time to think about, and he told me that he felt very much at peace with his decision.
Hiring people isn't something I'd ever envisioned doing when I starting taking pictures, but it's just as much a part of my job as shooting and editing pictures.
Hiring rhymes with firing, a job responsibility I hope I never need to exercise. I prefer to look forward, to the excitement of having two new staff members bring their vision to our readers, carrying on the rich traditions of The Journal Times photo staff.
The postscript to this is that Ron Kuenstler,
the first of our two new hires, won the state AP Picture of the Month contest
in September, just five weeks after starting work for us. Welcome aboard,
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