(ABC News) -- Most people have probably never heard of Henderson, Ky. At first glance, it might appear indistinguishable from any other town of its size across the United States, but fill that town with 5o-something visual journalists and what emerges is an intimate interwoven portrait of ordinary people living extraordinary lives. The classic journalism mantra proves true, everyone really does have a story.
In its 37th year, Western Kentucky University’s Mountain Workshops challenge participants to turn a name on a piece of paper drawn from a hat, into an intimate and interesting story. Each year in a different Kentucky town, still photographers, multimedia journalists and photo editors work with coaches, who are leading experts in their respective fields, for an intense five days of hardcore photojournalism. While newspapers continue to downsize and citizen journalism is becoming increasingly more common, the Mountain Workshops continue to uphold the traditional core values of the craft.
“A professional is someone trained in the art and not just the craft,” Tim Broekema, associate professor of photojournalism at WKU, said. “With technology these days, so many people have great cameras, and there is no way I can argue against someone actually being there witnessing something happening. But what the professional can offer are the stories beyond that, that reveal the fabrication of life. Viewers can understand the deeper meaning, and if we lose that, we won’t understand quite as much.”
Participants emerge on the other side with new skills, a few more friends and maybe even a better understanding of themselves and their own communities.
Multimedia participants shot video, collected audio and then edited their pieces using Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. Click here to see the videos.