Photo editor manages demanding work week, still able to watch sunrise
By Madison Nabity
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
A job title in the newsroom is not always as it seems. No one knows this better than Jeff Bundy, the director of photography at the Omaha World-Herald. His responsibilities on the job are constantly changing.
Bundy oversees the paper’s use of photographs, its online and radio operations, and its video production. He even spends time on the corporate side of the business, often dealing with the paper’s budget and finances.
With so much on his plate, Bundy rarely has time to take pictures of his own anymore. Yet, photography remains something that has sparked his curiosity since he developed photos in his parents’ dark room in the basement of his childhood home.
“I was interested in photography at a very young age,” Bundy said in a phone interview. “I was shooting pictures when I was in grade school, and throughout high school.”
As a student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, he worked as a freelance photographer for the Associated Press while majoring in English and world religion. His career at the Omaha World-Herald began in February 1990, three years before he had graduated from college.
Through the years, Bundy’s role as the director of photography has changed with the growing online presence of the World-Herald. These days, he is in charge of 12 visual journalists, who deal with both video and photographs for the World-Herald. Bundy takes pride in helping them as journalists in a variety of ways. He delegates both in-state and out-of-state assignments, gives constructive criticism and advice, and organizes meetings to keep everyone on the same page.
“There’s a lot of hours, but it is all so that I can put my staff in the best possible situations to make great photos for the paper,” Bundy said. “People have strengths and weaknesses and you need to play people’s strengths and put them in situations where they can succeed and there are opportunities to learn.”
He also constantly looks to challenge his journalists, sometimes going out of his way to do so.
“If you never challenge people professionally, they will never get better and be happy with their craft,” Bundy said. “I challenge them by making them go out of their comfort zone.”
Bundy does all he can to help his staff be the best they can be. He talks them through assignments and after they have finished the assignment he will touch base to see what happened and whether the assignment met the expectations that he wanted.
“When you are talking through with the person that was on the assignment, it’s not why didn’t you do this, it is what could we have done to make the situation better,” Bundy said.
Despite a job that often keeps him busy for 10 hours a day, he still finds time to compete with his three Labradors in the American Kennel Club hunt tests and field trials. His favorite thing to hunt with his Labradors is waterfowl, both ducks and geese.
“You sit in a blind with your friends and you visit, watch the sun come up and listen to the water run by, and let your brain relax,” Bundy said.
And for a man as busy as Bundy, that might be exactly what he needs after a hectic week in the newsroom.