By Stephanie Paul
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Danny Gawlowski, 35, found fulfillment in his life when he became director of digital imagery and innovation for The Seattle Times.
“As a photographer there is a direct satisfaction by creating your own work, but as an editor you get a satisfaction of fulfillment by the work of others,” Gawlowski said in a phone interview.
Before Gawlowski was the director of digital imagery and innovation, he worked for nine years as a photographer.
One of his first internships was at The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He also interned at The Dallas Morning News, Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, Evansville Courier & Press and The Plain Dealer.
After graduating in 2004 from Ball State University with his bachelor’s in journalism and anthropology, Gawlowski became a freelance photojournalist and then a staff photojournalist at The Bellingham Herald in Washington.
While working at The Bellingham Herald he attended the Seattle Film Institute and studied in the documentary filmmaking program.
He later joined The Seattle Times, where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 and 2015.
He won the first Pulitzer Prize in 2010 in the breaking news category, for his role in the staff reporting of the Lakewood police killings. He received a second Pulitzer in 2015, also in the breaking news category, for team coverage of a 2014 landslide in Oso, Washington.
Gawlowski says it's best to be accurate, not necesssarily first, with the news.
“It's better to be fast and right than being just fast,” said Gawlowski.
Gawlowski also volunteers for the Kalish. Now, Gawlowski is the director of the five-day-workshop. As the director of the workshop, he is trying to get new sponsorship and a curriculum for next year's Kalish.
“The Kalish helped me understand that I could become a editor,” said Gawlowski.
As an editor, Gawlowski makes judgment calls almost daily, but one of the most memorable was when one of his staff members came up to him to talk about a climate change story he was working on.
Gawlowski saw the potential that the story could have, so he got the photojournalist training and the equipment he needed to make the story a success. The project, published in 2014, won the Alfred du-Pont Award and a Emmy Award nomination.
Gawlowski became a journalist to tell other people’s stories, he said.
“I really like the ability to inform people and I really am committed on telling the truth,” said Gawlowski.
After being in the journalism field for over 16 years, Gawlowski reflected on the changing face of journalism.
“It took a long time for newspapers to see themselves as a news organization. I think finally now our news organizations are now just catching up to where people’s news consumption habits are, but we still have a ways to go,” said Gawlowski.
With today's news consumption habits, a story can pop up on someone's phone or social media any time of the day, which keeps journalists on their toes. Because social media is so popular for news, Gawlowski said, “News is more of a conversation now than a lecture.”
Being a journalist in the social media age has made Gawlowski appreciate social media. He uses social media to listen to what people have to say. The Seattle Times uses social media to deliver its stories, which is important, he said.
“We (as journalists) expect we can just put up our stories on our websites and somehow people are supposed to just come and find the stories," he said.
He said newspapers can deliver stories directly to readers now. This is particularly important for niche stories that affect groups of people who don't typically visit The Seattle Times site on a daily basis, he said.
For the next generation of journalists coming out of college, Gawlowski wants to remind them that, “if you are never failing, then you are never moving at all.”
A note about the content: This site showcases the final projects of University of Nebraska-Lincoln editing students. Each semester, students pick a journalist or communications professional to profile. This is their work.
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