Covering the 2012 presidential campaign - Part II

The call came unexpectedly - and provided nil notice; it was from a source that I had developed in this county’s Republican Party organization - who was at the level at which the “official” Republican Party and the Tea Party interfaced and seemed to merge, providing good information on both. The source told me that Mitt Romney’s son Tagg was going to be appearing locally to campaign for his father - in a couple hours - at county GOP headquarters.
What the source didn’t know was distances, whether a campaign bus would come, or other details essential to choosing which lens to use - my 24-70mm or my 70-200mm, the latter of which I’d used at a Newt Gingrich campaign stop in April during the fading days of Gingrich’s own presidential campaign. In the end, I chose the 24-70mm - which proved to be an excellent decision.
When I got to county GOP headquarters to cover this story, the place already was packed - very different from all the earlier events that I’d covered there during the presidential campaign.
Tagg Romney arrived - and, with a huge campaign sign as backdrop, spoke to the crowd as I shot photos. He was a far better speaker than his father the candidate - never a good situation for a presidential candidate! The next morning, my photo of Tagg Romney speaking in front of that huge sign (below) was running atop three stories in the London Telegraph. A headshot photo of Tagg Romney that I’d shot there ran in the London Daily Mail. Unfortunately, what I’d say was the best photo I’d shot there - a “shot for the Jumbotrons” photo of Tagg Romney, who’s been urged to run for Congress, autographing yard signs - has yet to run.


Covering the 2012 presidential campaign - Part I

2012 - as an election year - provided plenty of top stories; this was especially true in the spring - while there still were numerous arguably-credible contenders for the Republican nomination.
As I had developed a source in the county Republican organization two years earlier - when the Tea Party was becoming big - I had an edge on covering the 2012 Republican contenders. I learned that Newt Gingrich would be the keynote speaker at an April 14 “Tax Day” rally of the Tea Party in Greensboro, N.C.
Newt Gingrich spoke (below) - complete with the Secret Service detail then the only hint that his then-dying candidacy still was a presidential candidacy. For their part, the two Secret Service agents provided a photo opportunity - as it also was the height of a Secret Service scandal then in the news.
As for the rally, attendance was noticeably smaller than in past years for the same event. But it also provided opportunities for covering what was - after all - another normal Tea Party rally, and a small girl protesting Obamacare (below) provided the photo of mine that ran in Scandinavian newsmagazine Illustreret Videnskab Historie.

Gingrich’s campaign would soon end - and I’d soon enough be covering the winning Republican contender’s campaign: Mitt Romney.


My first work to run big - Kodak's bankruptcy


My first work to run big was Kodak’s bankruptcy. Hearing on a radio I was listening to over my shoulder that Kodak then was likely to file bankruptcy within weeks, I prepared to do a photo package on the story..
I got a group of Kodak products with Kodak’s logo, name, or color scheme on them to shoot. One was an old cartridge of 35mm film - which I shot on a background, held in exactly the correct position by a powerful magnet under the background, with the film itself coming out of the cartridge. That photo was symbolic of how Kodak had gone broke - a dependence on repeat resale of consumable products that had worked great in the film era, but was hopeless in the digital-photo era in which memory cards are reused over and over. I then uploaded the package to a news photo agency.
The day Kodak filed bankruptcy, my photo of the 35mm film cartridge (below) ran in the New York Post - both accompanying the story and as a thumbnail on the front page of the paper’s Web edition. It also would run in the Web edition of California television station KSEE-TV.


It was my first work to run in a top-market daily.


My breakout work - the full story.


My breakout work - John Edwards at his trial - began by accident, literally. I was waiting to pay at a place here in N.C. that I had no idea he stopped in at - when I made an unknowing wisecrack to someone else often there, and was told he’d recently been in!
Over the next two years - with Edwards and his scandal in and out of the headlines here in N.C., where he and I both live, long before his indictment - I developed multiple credible sources, one a top-tier campaign donor of his who knew him well. I also read any archived news story relating to his political career I could find.
Needless to say, I stopped in that particular place often - finally once seeing him there, extremely casually dressed but still with that Hollywood-perfect hairdo. I worked it the first morning of his trial, hoping for a unique photo - but he didn’t show. It soon became obvious he was going straight from his home to the trial - and straight home from it.
However - one day partway through his trial - I was uploading photos shot on spec to a news-photo agency for that day, and had two shot less than a quarter of a second apart. One showed him looking down in the dumps - and the other showed him looking like Hollywood’s hottest superstar; the “Hollywood look” one I uploaded as an afterthought - as it seemed so surreal. The next morning, my daily Google search found the “Hollywood look” photo (below) was running on four continents - appearing in news outlets from Boston to Burma.


That photo took me to on-assignment work - including top stories such as the Petraeus/Broadwell scandal for the New York Daily News.