Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Dream of Excellence

It is difficult to find a single journalist who does not dream of winning a coveted Pulitzer Prize. To win it, is to join an elite group of journalists. It is the Oscars of print news industry.

However, it is as difficult to have dedicated one's passion, work, and life to the single purpose of excellence in an industry which has lost its way and, for the most part, is barely able to sustain its existence with each passing day.

Miami Herald staff photojournalist Patrick Farrell has found a way bring excellence and prestige into a newsroom that often wept from lost rather from joy and jubilation. Farrell has worked at his hometown paper since 1987. Married with two children, Farrell has visited the island of Haiti several times and has produced some of the strongest visual statements about the nation and its people.

Surrounded by his wife, children, parents, and colleagues, Farrell did what came natural,he gave credit to others rather than himself. He asked that the suffering and plight of Haiti be not forgotten, and with that unselfish act he thanked his colleague, the veteran journalist Jacqueline Charles, and members of the Miami Herald photojournalism staff.

It would have been fine to just to have stop there, but Farrell did not because the story would not have been complete.

Standing aside, Luis Rios,the director of photography, quietly listened with pride. Like Farrell, he also shares the dream of excellence and the passion of visual storytelling. Farrell credits Rios for lighting the fire underneath him, giving him the critical guidance and leadership to produce the award-winning body of work. Rios has done this two times before at the Washington Post, and now has delivered on the promise of bringing great visual journalism and accolades to the Miami Herald.

For Farrell's sacrifices, he has been bestowed with the highest award in journalism.

For Rios' vision, passion, and excellence, well, he will be leaving the Miami Herald on April 24th, due to job cuts.

Iris PhotoCollective would like to salute two great journalists, Luis Rios, special projects manager and photo editor of Iris PhotoCollective, and Patrick Farrell. Thank you both for not giving up on your dreams, and allowing us to share in your excellence.