Advocacy and Anecdotes

It’s been almost ten years since I left journalism to test the waters of non-profit communications. I loved the pursuit of truth and giving a voice to “average” people offered in the newsroom USA TODAY. I worked with many talented and dedicated writers, editors and artists, and learned the practical and human side of photo editing thanks to hundreds of freelance photographers. So when it came time to move on, it was scary to think that I might never be able to return. What would journalism even look like in 10, 20, 30 years? (Spoiler – not even ten years later it is VERY different!)

What I discovered at my new communications job at The Pew Charitable Trusts were passionate professionals doing good work, and advocating for myriad causes with hard data. Data connected to trends. Trends connected to people. People connected to stories – with vibrant visuals and rich sound. Images and sound that told a story. It was all very familiar … had I stumbled into a different type of newsroom?

This brings me to Earl – the Iowa farmer above. Earl’s farm in Panora, Iowa was selected by a project team advocating for sustainable practices and human health in the industrial farming industry. Until then, this numbers-savvy staff had relied on sterile or overtly saccharine stock imagery and a hodgepodge of rouge phone photos to illustrate their work. My visit to Earl’s farm was one of the first of its kind. The photos and video collected, and the multimedia piece that resulted were a milestone. This was the moment when Pew caught the storytelling bug.

I would take many more trips documenting the varied non-profit work done at Pew. I watched as a strong multimedia presence would would give color and life to quotes and numbers. And eventually, I would catch the entrepreneurial bug that led Joe and I to the creation of Maple & Main.

Now it’s time for us to help other non-profits enhance their outreach. Non-profit advocacy directly affects people, and there is no greater tool to connect those stories to your audience than images. Authentic, original, on-message, goal-achieving images. Take a spin around the Library section of our portfolio for more examples of our suites of images. (And click here to see more from Earl’s library of images.)

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