A photographer’s impact on a business news operation
Doug Fruehling of The Washington Business Journal writes about photographer Joanne S. Lawton, who is retiring from the paper later this year after 28 years.
Fruehling writes, “I met Joanne in 1996, when I started as a reporter at the Business Journal. In those days, reporters and photographers got to spend a lot of time together, driving to far ends of the region for interviews and photo shoots, and that was especially true of the commercial real estate beat. We talked a lot on those trips and became friends, not just colleagues. If I needed to escape an editor’s wrath, I’d abscond to her darkroom. I’d hang out with her young son, Joe, if he was out of school for a snow day.
“She helped me through a lot, both as a reporter and a friend. When we went on interviews together, she would always ask the subject the one question I forgot, often extracting a crucial anecdote or fact. And about my personal life? It was like I had my own personal therapist. Coming out, breaking up, buying a house. She was there.
“I’m not alone. Ask any current or former WBJ employee and you’ll get the same answer.
“She’s been a confidant and career counselor to many of us. She’s the first to celebrate an engagement, cradle a new baby or provide a shoulder to cry. She held our organization together during a devastating death in 2007, and we in turn helped her through her own personal losses.”
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