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Steve Wilson didn’t want to be a sheriff, it wasn’t his dream. But it happened in 1996 when he was elected sheriff of Walker County, Georgia.
Seventeen students, six editors, one mission: visually document one county.
Known more for the man-made Lake Hartwell that straddles the Georgia-South Carolina border, students from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Documentary Photography course set out to see what life inside Hart County looked and sounded like. Gathering in the newsroom of the Hartwell Sun on the last weekend of February, the students spent a frenetic three days chasing stories, lights and even the occasional police car.
This was the seventh edition of the UGA Photojournalism Weekend Workshop and the six visiting professionals dove in fast and helped craft the stories linked below. Funded by the Hearst Foundation, the workshop has become the definitive moment for students in the Journalism Department’s Visual Journalism emphasis.
Joining the students were three veteran workshoppers and three rookies. Sarah Bates, from the Medical University of South Carolina, Mike Haskey, from the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, and international photojournalist Billy Weeks all reprised their roles as editors after previous students raved about their assistance. Joining them for the first time were Scott Bryant, of the Statesboro (Ga.) Herald, Paul Kapteyn, of the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette, and noted photo editor Akili Ramsess, all three of whom earned stellar reviews, too.
The Hartwell Sun’s publisher, Robert Rider, and editor, Mark Hynds, acted as hosts and guides, giving the teams access to both their newsrooms and their news sources.
Here are some of their stories: