Capturing moments

Scott Jensen-KTUUThe best photojournalists often talk about “moments” in their stories–specific shots or sounds that highlight turning points or discoveries. Scott Jensen, director of photography at KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska, is a master of the “moment.” Jensen is this year’s winner of the NPPA TV news photographer of the year award–for the second time–and as Beth Bragg writes in the June issue of News Photographer Magazine:

Not only does he have an eye for detail, he has an ear for sound and empathy for people. These qualities help him tell stories filled with natural sounds, seamless transitions, and moments of unguarded emotion.

To capture those moments, Jensen invests both time and effort. KTUU news director John Tracy remembers wading into knee-deep, freezing water carrying Jensen’s tripod so he could get steady shots from the middle of a river. He used only about four seconds of what he shot there, but those few seconds set the mood for the entire seven-minute piece. Jensen says his stories these days are all about characters and moments:

When you first start, you’re hot and you’re flashy. Then you learn the viewers don’t remember the sizzle. They remember the people.

What else has he learned over the years? Jensen tells Digital Journalist:

We have a pretty powerful medium and if we’re able to put pieces together in the right way we can cause people to feel something, feel emotion for the things that they care about or the things that we care about.

So what’s an award-winning photojournalist doing in market 150? Enjoying being home. Jensen’s worked in a top-20 (for KARE-TV in Minneapolis), where he won his first photographer of the year award. But he grew up in Alaska and he’s happy to be back. Check out the Digital Journalist feature to hear Jensen talk about his work and watch a couple of his favorite stories.