From part-time, overnight camera operator in market 83 to best TV news photographer in the country in just six years: How did Nathan Thompson do it? Natural talent? Not at all, Thompson told NPPA’s News Photographer magazine. Instead, he credits hard work and a deliberate, methodical approach to learning on the job.
When he started at WTVF in Nashville four years ago, Thompson carried a notebook everywhere he went, writing down editing tips, areas for improvement, station deadlines–you name it. “Anything I’d learned I’d just write it down so I could go over it later and just secure it in my memory.
“The key is not assuming you know how to do everything–even if you’re good, you could be wrong and the person you learn from could be younger or less experienced than you,” says the 2012 winner of NPPA’s Photographer of the Year award. “You have to be humble enough to say I am able to learn from them.”
Thompson also believes his success is partly due to his commitment to finding great characters and sticking with them. “The key to making your stories interesting is to make the people in [them] interesting.” he says. “People matter.”
You can see how he does it in this story that was part of his POY award-winning entry:
It’s a shame Thompson won’t be entering the POY competition next year. He’s left the news business to form a video production company, Contrast Visuals. “I’m not sick of news,” he told the NPPA magazine, “but it’s a new opportunity and a new challenge and I have to take it.”