Adopt a Multimedia Journalist: Josh Haner

Today, there are so many people who consider themselves journalists because they share and contribute to articles they find on Facebook. Journalism has lost street cred these past few years, and by adopting a multimedia journalist for this blog post I hope I will be able to bring good journalism to light in a small way.

The journalist I am putting the spotlight on is Josh Haner.

Haner is the current Senior Editor for Photo Technology and a staff photographer for the New York Times. His photography has also been published in Newsweek, Time, Rolling Stone, and Fortune.

Outside of photography, Haner involves himself in video and documentary projects. He is also a founder and editor of The Time’s Lens blog.

The Standford graduate with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and a B.A. in Studio Art exemplifies what it means to be a multimedia journalist. Don’t believe me? Take a look at my evidence below!

1. “A Marathon Comeback”

To go along with writer Tim Rohan’s story Beyond the Finish Line: The Recovery of a Boston Marathon Bombing Victim, Haner collaborated with Catherine Spangler and Rohan to create a 5:35 minute video. The video is about Jeff Bauman, one of the marathon runners, and how his life has changed since the tragic explosion and loss of both of his legs.

Haner opens up the video without showing Bauman or his injury, keeping viewers intrigued by the mysteriousness of it. Viewers know that the marathon changed Bauman’s life for good, but they don’t find out until about a minute in. Before the revelation, Haner shows footage from the marathon after the explosion as well as close ups of Bauman in everyday life, like at the gym. This technique draws viewers in and keeps them interested by keeping tension. Along with building up the tension, it gives the main subject, Bauman, an opportunity to tell his story instead of his injuries speaking for him.

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2. “A Marathon Survivor Starts Over”

There’s a reason that Haner won a Pulitzer for his photo essay about Bauman. Haner captures Bauman in every aspect of his new life: in pain, in healing, in therapy, in the parking lot tailgating with his buddies. Although he was behind a lens, he went beyond the surface of the story. Through this photo essay, every dimension of Bauman’s life is revealed rather than simply the easy route of documenting Bauman’s pain and suffering. Haner took a different road than was expected of him by viewers and journalists by reminding everyone that Bauman is not his injury- he is still a person, just with a different life this time.

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3. “52 Places to Go: Canada”

Haner’s 360 video of 52 places to visit in Canada is another example of multimedia journalism because of the several platforms of multimedia journalism he includes in it. The 360 video and imagery puts viewers in Canada without having to purchase a plane ticket- all viewers need is a screen. Along with the imagery, there is audio of people expressing their wonder around Canada and the sounds of every destination. This example of Haner’s work goes beyond simply words on a screen. It taps into the senses to fill in the gaps of viewers’ imaginations that words cannot do on their own.

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4. “Sandstorms and Broken-Down Four-by-Fours: Drone Footage in the Tengger Desert”

By writing in first person, Haner gives readers his account of how he feels being alone in the Tengger Desert. He describes everything from the breathtaking scenery that makes him feel helpless to the how long the journey was, telling his readers about the spot he chose for his next project. If his compelling descriptions weren’t enough, readers have a drone video of the desert starring some curious camels as well as photos from his excursion. By incorporating three multimedia elements in one article, Haner draws in different types of readers and provides each one with a different element that intrigues them.

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5. “Climate Refugees: Bolivia”

In this 1:42 minute video, Haner reveals the tragedy that has resulted from the disappearance of Lake Poopó. Haner uses photographs with startling detail of the disappearance as well as images that pan in and out to show the enormity of the loss. Along with these images, Haner paired simple and easy to read text throughout the video. Haner also includes a map in the video that shows the gradual disappearance of the lake. With all of these elements, Haner and readers don’t need a narrative voice to create tension and spread the news. The images themselves are enough and have been edited to create a compelling video.

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6. “You Asked, Hillary Clinton Answered”

Haner video tapes Hillary Clinton answering a reader’s question. This is another example that represents the diversity Haner exhibits as a journalist. His editing skills in this shine through by the various angles and close-ups he uses throughout the video. Another thing I personally liked was that when Clinton stumbles over her words while answering a question, he doesn’t edit it out which I think adds a rawness to the video that would not be present if he made her appear to be the perfect candidate with the perfect answers.

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7. Haner’s blog, Lens

Haner is a founder and photographer of The Times blog, The Lens. In this blog, he is currently exploring and reporting the effects of climate change throughout several countries. The blog has a Twitter and Facebook account to brief readers and other curious cats on the next thing Haner is about to reveal about the world. Other writers and photographers for The Times contribute to the blog with their stories, but the defining voice comes from the startling photographs.

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8. Twitter accounts: both personal and The New York Times

Haner’s own Twitter account follows the pattern that most journalists take on this platform: tweets with links to his stories and photographs, retweets about his stories and photographs, and the rare reply to readers. The New York Times’s official photography account has much more variety and updates than Haner’s personal twitter account. Both get Haner’s name and work out in the world and easier for the viewing eye to catch and follow.

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9. Facebook account

Haner’s Facebook account is much more current and interactive than his Twitter account. He makes a majority of his posts directly on his timeline rather than in albums which I think is more effective because readers will see it pop up on their own timelines more often rather than if everything was collected into one album. This is a great platform for Haner because his followers and readers actively react to his work and provide comments and support.

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10. Instagram account

Haner’s Instagram account is the most current and well-kept of all the social media accounts I chose to highlight in this blog. He uses his own photographs to not only spread the word about his stories and his photography skills, but also incorporates witty captions that are relevant in the Instagram platform. Because he is a photographer, it is no surprise to me that his Instagram is #thriving. He doesn’t quadruple post on the regular, but he does keep his followers up to date on his latest projects and daily events accordingly.

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I still haven’t won you over yet? Allow me to give you my final 2 cents- or rather, my final 500 words or so:

Pardon my French, Murley, but this is our final project and this is my blog so I am going to say exactly what is on my mind: Haner is a kickass journalist.

Out of all the evidence I provided above, Haner’s Pulitzer winning story illuminates his strengths best.

Being a journalist is more than writing- it’s about being charismatic and trustworthy. It’s about being a people person. Haner managed to establish a relationship with Bauman that prompted Bauman to be comfortable enough to not only show his vulnerabilities to Haner, but to the entire world as well. Even more so, Haner didn’t focus on the vulnerabilities alone. He focused on Bauman entirely. He focused on who Bauman is now after the Boston Marathon through photographs that follow Bauman through his daily life, which includes still includes happiness and normalcy among the newfound obstacles he has been faced with.

Haner exhibits Bauman’s journey through three multimedia platforms: photographs, video, and writing. This can be the ultimate triple threat if all three are done correctly, and Haner blows it completely out of the water.

As I explained above, Haner’s video of Bauman starts off without showing Bauman or his injury right off the bat. This create tension and mystery, cementing viewers to the screen. This also reveals to viewers that Bauman, like other people who were injured in the Boston Marathon or suffer from similar injuries, is not his injury- he is still a functioning human being just trying to do what we are all doing: survive the life we have been given.

Haner’s portofilio screams diversity. The man takes pictures, records video, runs a blog, maintians a presence on social media, owns a website, and writes.

I have always been told how important it is, especially now with how competitive the journalism field is, to be able to do a little bit of everything. After adopting Haner as my final project, I have never been more inspired to get out there in the world and dabble in everything. Because of his diverse portfolio, Haner has won awards, has been featured in several major publications, and has seen the world. Aren’t those three things that every journalist wants to be able to check of his or her bucket list?

The only critique I have for Haner involves his social media. Haner has an awesome website to showcase all of his work, but the best way to advertise it more would be if he kept his followers on Twitter and Facebook more up-to-date by being more active on those platforms. From what I gather, he seems like a busy guy but social media is meant to be quick and easy. A simple share of an article from a fellow photographer or a retweet from a writer he admires would not only keep Haner’s followers more in the loop about what he’s up to but also keep him in the loop on what is going on around him as well.

At the Daily Eastern News, the motto is to “Tell the Truth and Don’t Be Afraid.” With that being said, I encourage myself and other journalists to uphold that but do so by going outside print and telling the truth through all of the wonderful multimedia platforms that are available to us now.

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