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Letter to the Editor
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End of year reflection: Cayla Rivas



Photojournalist comments on personal growth

Photojournalism creates confidence, maturity, and a greater understanding of photography.

For the first few months of my junior year, I became overwhelmed and constantly stressed with the new task of covering news on the Fresno Christian campus. Unsure of ways to find time, I continued to struggle completing all of my schoolwork and Feather assignments. I began to realize my time management skills needed to improve immensely. Photojournalism forced me to find ways to use my time more effectively instead of wasting it.

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I came onto The Feather understanding some basic manual camera settings, but had little to no Photoshop experience. Ending the year, I further my knowledge of Photoshop and how to use it. I gained experience with Camera Raw and Bridge, both of which I never incorporated into my photographs prior to committing to The Feather.

Photojournalism adviser Kori Friesen presented many new skills to me; photo editing became one of them, and I began the year uncomfortable and unsure of how to properly edit a photo. Now, editing pictures is one of my favorite aspects of photography, allowing a creative side to come out; pictures are now uniquely mine. Learning basic editing this year helped me begin to find my own style and add an extra element to my pictures.

This year, I traveled to many of the San Joaquin Town Hall meetings with Feather adviser Greg Stobbe. I began lacking any experience of interviewing people in a public atmosphere. Shadowing the journalists helped me realize, I have to be confident and assertive if I want to get anything done. Shyness and timidness will be overlooked and not taken seriously. Professional mannerism while on the job is a major part of journalism that can make or break a great journalist.

One of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken was a trip to New York with The Feather to attend the CSPA journalism convention. I never experienced true backpack journalism until this point in my life. We walked the streets of New York bundled up in the below freezing weather all day, and were expected to come back to the hotel with pictures and a story to tell.

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I’ll never forget when Friesen asked me to take a picture standing in the middle of the street as our team crossed the sidewalk. She proceeded to stop traffic for me, and ran over to hold up an umbrella over me and my camera gear to protect us from the snow that continued to fall. The hilarious image of me and her huddled in the middle of the street with our umbrella flipped upside down from the wind remains one of my favorite pictures from this year.

In that moment, I realized what journalism was really about. Journalism is about capturing a moment or an emotion. The best pictures aren’t usually easy to capture, but that’s what makes our jobs so enjoyable. It’s being innovative and capturing what nobody else can in a picture. This is what makes a great photojournalist.

In the future, I plan to continue studying photojournalism. I would like to go to college to gain more knowledge and experience. What began as a hobby has now developed into a passion that I would love to continue to pursue. It would be a dream to take my photography as far as I can in the journalism world.

I have always been encouraged by my parents to use my creativity, and if people could see my work, that would be a plus. In the meantime, I’ll continue playing around with my camera, taking pictures of my friends and family.

Upcoming photojournalists! Be prepared, I never expected journalism to be so much work. But the work is well worth it. An amazing work ethic in every aspect of your lives is the result. I suggest coming onto The Feather with mental strength and a willingness to learn. Be coachable and open to anything Stobbe and Friesen have to say; they really do know what they’re talking about. They bring very valuable life lessons and are always willing to invest time in you. Many come out of The Feather not only better writers, but also well-rounded in many other aspects.

Friesen and Stobbe not only equipped me with the necessary skills I need to be a successful photojournalist, but they’ve taught me a lot about myself. They pushed me past what I thought were my limits and helped me to realize the potential I really have. There were times I was completely discouraged, but those were the moments that helped me grow as a person and a journalist.

In those moments, I explored how I could become better and what more I could do to improve my skills. I now feel prepared for whatever my school, sports, racing, or colleges present me. It does not mean that any of these tasks are easier, but I now know I can do anything I set my mind to.

The Feather is a confidence builder for those who passionately pursue their dreams. It may take a lot of work, but I am ready and willing to continue through my high school career, or whatever life has to throw at me with strength and perseverance, with my Lord by my side.

Thank you, Friesen and Stobbe, for all that you’ve done for me this year, teaching me and investing your time in me. I appreciate all you have done and continue to do for me and our team.

Here are a few of my favorite images I’ve taken from this year.

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To read more End of the year reflections, read Kaylie Clem’s reflection.

For more Feather photos, visit media, photos 2016-17.

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    Kaylie ClemMay 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Great job Cayla! You are an amazing photojournalist!