For this week’s Media Monday, we’d like you to meet Erika Schultz, staff photographer at The Seattle Times. Schultz was a part of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning team for Breaking News Reporting at The Seattle Times and has also had her work recognized by the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, National Edward R. Murrow Awards, Best of Photojournalism, The Alexia Foundation and Society of Professional Journalists.
- How did you find yourself as a photojournalist?
In high school and college, I always was drawn to photography, researching and writing. While in college in Flagstaff, Arizona, I met a photojournalism professor who helped me understand how visual journalism can help connect people, build empathy and create deeper understanding in communities.
- Which of your photos are you most proud of?
Hard to say. I’m proud of the photographs where the subjects of the image feel like they are represented in a way that represents them fairly, with heart and in a visually impactful way.
- What is your favorite thing about your job?
The best part of my job is to learn about our community and issues that face our neighbors, often in a personal and very human way. We live in a place where the human experience is vast in a small area. We have billionaires who live on Lake Washington near apartment buildings that house refugees from around the world. We live among the tech giants in South Lake Union, and family farmers in the Snoqualmie Valley. Some days, ordinary people open their lives to us, and it’s a gift to spend time with them in their homes, at work or in their places of worship. This job continues to be a scholarship to the world.
- What do you look for in a story or photograph?
Real moments. Humor. Subtle beauty. Often we try to share how people are more alike than different.
- What is your day like at your job?
Everyday is different. Some days, I’m filing photos on a sidewalk in downtown Seattle, inside a courtroom or the sidelines of a sporting event. Other days, I’m working with a small team filming short video documentaries. Sometimes, I’m researching ideas for stories or having coffee with community contacts.
- Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
People who look at the world with curiosity, fresh eyes and that conduct their reporting in the field, versus by phone. Journalists who report on difficult topics like inequality, racism and gender. Reporters who shine light in dark places, and journalists who are experts in their beats.
- What is your favorite news outlet?
Locally, The Seattle Times, Seattle Globalist and South Seattle Emerald.
- Fill in the blank:
- If I am not reporting, I am…exploring the Northwest, teaching at UW and catching up with my fiancee, close friends and fuzzy cat Weebler.
- If I could photograph anyone, it would be…Patty Smith or Beyonce.
- My favorite thing about Seattle is…long, warm summer nights. The NW Photojournalism community. Access to beautiful trails in our backyard.
- What is your guilty pleasure?
Bakery Nouveau. Dim Sum. Vermillion gallery.