by Serina Zheng
photos by Edith Lu

Photographs should tell stories about people, said Pulitzer-winning journalist William Snyder in a lecture at Hong Kong Baptist University today.

“Focus on the people,” he said nine different times during the talk.

Storytelling is key, he said. Photos help the audience care about the news, he said showing images of his team’s disaster coverage of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

William Snyder, Professor and Chair of the Photojournalism Program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, starts his talk by raising questions "how do you hit that emotional pole in your readers and how do you make them care about a news story," which leads students to be lost in thoughts.

“How do you hit that emotional core in your readers and how do you make them care about a news story,” photojournalism William Synder asked journalism students.

“We want our work to mean something, to do something, and to have impact,” he said.

“The most impressive thing for me is that the photos are about people, not the situations,” Cristina Hu, a journalism student, said. “It is easy to understand his approach and I will keep in mind when I take photos later.”

Another student, Joy Zhong, said, that she learned simplicity works in photojournalism. “The point is that you should always care about the people in your news stories,” she said.

Snyder has won four Pulitzer Prizes, including three in photography, and is now Professor and Chair of photojournalism at the Rochester Institute of Technology.