As an intern at the Statesman, I’ve been given a great opportunity to work with professional journalists. I decided to take advantage of this by sitting down with some of the journalists at the Statesman and talking about their experiences working here.
Nell Carroll, Statesman Director of Photography
Chloe Gonzales: What is something you wish you knew when you started working at the Statesman?
Nell Carroll: [Laughs] I wish I had more knowledge of what all the gazillion acronyms in this damn town are. My first meeting I was hearing about MUDs and – I just can’t remember all the acronyms – but I sat in the meetings for three weeks just befuddled, going “What’s a MUD?” I finally started asking. As far as on a broader scale, I can’t really think of anything. I came into this job pretty well-prepared.
CG: How long have you worked for the Statesman?
NC: It’ll be 18 years in November. It’s crazy.
CG: What has been your favorite assignment to work on while working here?
NC: I don’t really take too many pictures, and most of the ones I get to do, I pick and choose. I guess when I was working when we had Real Magazine, that was kind of fun because I could do all the studio things. I really love shooting studio work, and none of our staff really does.
Then also, we had these little small-town vignettes, so it was my birthday and we realized we didn’t have good pictures of Smithville. So I was like, “Okay, I’m gonna go take pictures of Smithville!” And like, “It’s your birthday!” “I don’t care. I’m gonna go get my kid!” And I picked him up from school and we went and had a little photo safari in Smithville, so that was kinda fun. But my shooting has been pretty limited here because I came in as a photo editor and we have such a talented staff anyway, you know. Why should I shoot?
Nell Carroll, Exploring the wonders of Smithville
CG: What do you think is one of the most important things you’ve learned while working here as a photo editor?
NC: Always listen. Listen, listen, listen. To everybody! Listen to reporters, listen to your staff, listen to the bosses. Listen, listen, listen! It’s so hard in this day and age to sit and listen to what people have to say. Don’t just listen – hear it, absorb it. Repeat what you’re hearing back to them, so the person that’s talking to you knows you’ve been listening and not zoning out.
It took me a long time to learn that. I get very excited when I’m in a conversation with people because things pop into my head that I’m afraid I’m gonna – like, “I have to get this out before I forget it!” So I have a tendency to interrupt. But it’s been a growing experience. I think that’s been the most important thing.
CG: How do you think that’s helped you in regard to managing your staff and working with other people here? Has it affected your work a lot?
NC: I think so. It’s made me have to slow down, for one thing. I am a break-neck speed kinda person. Doesn’t mean I’m not accurate, I just work quickly. I like to work solo. But it’s made me be more collaborative. It’s made me, I think, understand the needs of the people around me that I’m working with. And try to help them better, you know, get what they need and want solved or understood. I can’t solve every problem, but at least I can hear it and explain why something is how it is. It might not be the best answer [laughs], but I do definitely think it’s helped me slow down and be more collaborative.
After the interview, I asked Nell what one of her favorite videos from the internet is. She sent me an adorable video that she took of her son tap dancing on bubble wrap.