Monday, July 29, 2013

Once a journalist always a journalist - - - Jeff Guinn covers Charles Manson

Is he a journalist or a historian? Simply an author? Exec Editor Jim Witt in the Op-Ed page writes how Jeff Guinn was simply a reporter when he was hired to be city editor in 1986 and Witt thought there were better writers on the staff. Today Guinn has published 15 books and will launch Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson in New York City this week.
   I worked on the photo desk while Guinn was a reporter and then when he got "promoted" to the book editor I was pulled by technology to prepress. We both call ourselves journalists.
   Witt has to start off saying how he was never that impressed by Guinn's prose, there were other reporters who he thought wrote better. Jerry Flemmons was asked to write the official biography of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram found Amon Carter, Amon: the Texan who played cowboy for America published in 1998. When he retired after 33 years at the paper, he wanted to write, teach and fight cancer. I remember reading an interview he had with a young TCU journalism student who told him how much she admired his work and him responding how depressed he was that nobody remembered the stories he wrote. That the words were only read and remembered for a short time.

MOVE 1979, what was they real story? jgdomke photo
 Being a travel writer didn't make the contacts for a career change, being the book editor certainly helped Guinn's future.
   Flemmons was his own worst critic, but Guinn has found a niche.
   Reporting on old stories! ? ! Old news is interesting.
   Bringing back information from many sources and putting it all together, giving time for the people involved to think about it. A journalist turned historian.
   I was pulled into photojournalism because I saw it as recording history. It isn't like the weather, it's chronically life, capturing a moment, freezing it in a still photo so we can understand it. Today and in the future. I thought photos did it better than words. It was the truth.
   But here the truth is shown to take time, sure the basic facts are interesting, but words pull it all together.
   Guinn is now working on telling stories of more recent events, events also covered by photojournalists. I hope he adds photos to help tell the story. Apparently the cover photo for the Manson book is an early school yearbook photo? I hope they have some family snapshots, too. I wonder if some newspapers can dig back and bring back some feature photos and maybe find some photos that have never before been published.
   There are a lot of photos, taken by pros, whether freelance magazine or newspaper photographers that didn't make the daily paper. They shouldn't be forgotten, or lost, these photos still tell the story. More so now that we, the reader, knows all the facts.
   Civil Rights pictures taken by Flip Schulke were viewed more in 2000's according to Schulke than when they were taken in early 60's.
    We are seeing how today's news doesn't go away. it's interesting to look back and pull all the pieces together. Not just words, but old photos can be seen and understood differently. Really tell a story and SEE what they have to say.
  As Guinn has discovered, " real history is more fascinating than fiction."
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