All posts in category Personal Essays

Bringing change into focus: ‘Photo-activist’ sets sights on Kenya Parliament

He once delivered live pigs to politicians to protest their outrageous pay. This week, the President conceded: salaries must be slashed. Meet Boniface Mwangi, the former Standard photojournalist making change happen. 




For a new library in Kenya’s largest slum: 3,800 books, and hope

Story, Photos and Video by Ron Reason




Advice for young (and seasoned) journalists? Ask some very recent grads

Grizzly grads tell us loud and clear: Get ready for digital-first publishing, heavy on social media, rocked by (and enjoying) constant change. [February 10, 2015, Missoula, Mont.] What an eye-opener it was for the journalism class I’m teaching this semester, “Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption,” to see #AdviceForYoungJournalists top the Twitter trends over the last 24 hours. Research they’d produced just the week […]




Need to transition? Move those feet!

Recently I was asked by DESIGN, the magazine of the Society for News Design, to contribute to its summer issue focused on theme of “transition.” SND President Sara Quinn suggested I frame my ideas around a series of photos that intrigued her in recent years, taken while looking down at my feet as I have […]




Through photography, conquering fear and inspiring your passions

Things I learned today: That Moby (one of my fave musicians/DJs/artists) had an uncle who was a photographer at The New York Times. And that he (Moby) first picked up a camera at age 10, set it aside in college set to pursue his music passions, and just picked up the habit again in earnest […]




At Yosemite’s Clouds Rest, a story of determination and hope

[The following essay is among tales of life away from work I share periodically on this blog. It was among those selected for publication in the book “Inspiring Generations: 150 Years, 150 Stories in Yosemite,” curated by The Yosemite Conservancy to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act.]




Thumbs up for Sun-Times’ backpage nod to Ebert’s legacy

“Do you go to work every day and try to master your job and feel deeply that it matters? Do you believe that you can, through sheer excellence, make it matter even more? Roger Ebert did.” When big news breaks (and in Chicago, Roger Ebert’s death has been big news), those who still love newspapers, […]




Goodbye to a lover (mostly) of local newspapers

[Mom and dad read the daily papers. Photo circa 1980s.] La Porte County (Indiana) newspapers may have lost their most faithful reader with the passing of my mom, Carolyn Reason, on Thanksgiving Day. Sadly, crosswords will now go unsolved. Typos will go undiscovered. Comics, columns and coupons will go unclipped; the tomfoolery of local officials […]




20+ things to never say to a photojournalist

In light of The Washington Post‘s achievement this week in scoring a Pulitzer for its excellent photo coverage from Haiti, I thought I’d dust off this list which originated in my days as Director of Visual Journalism, and faculty member, at Poynter. There, along with my colleague Kenny Irby, we tried hard to help gain/earn […]




At Burning Man, two alt weeklies stir up some dust

I’ve been in alt-weekly mode with several fascinating clients this year, and some work with the Association of Alternative News, so I was intrigued to find not one but two alternative weekly newspapers circulating at Burning Man, the annual desert festival of art-culture-camping-music-whatever in the remote desert of Nevada. Well, no wifi or cell phone service […]