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Photo director says digital platforms are future for The Detroit News

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John Greilick is a photo director for The Detroit News.

By Bailey Ernst
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Like many others, John Greilick didn’t always see his future as an editor. It was something that just kind of happened to him.

After spending 13 years as a photographer for The Detroit News, Greilick stepped up as a photography director to prevent the job from going to someone from outside the department, or worse, outside the paper.

“I like being part of the big picture,” Greilick said. “When I was just a photographer I would get my assignment and do my assignments, but I was kind of in a vacuum.”

Greilick’s love of photography started at Pine River High School in northern Michigan where he was the editor of his school newspaper. His high school journalism career also extended to writing stories for his hometown paper, the Cadillac News.

From there, Greilick attended Ohio University where he studied journalism and wanted to be a news writer. He went on to intern at the Flint Journal, Kalamazoo Gazette, Cincinnati Enquirer, and lastly The Columbus Dispatch.

Before ending up at The Detroit News, Greilick spent time working in Yuma, Arizona, for The Yuma Sun and in New Jersey for the Bridgewater Courier News. After a little over six years, Greilick returned to Michigan as a photographer for The Detroit News.

A new job title comes with new responsibilities. Greilick said some of his biggest challenges since becoming an editor have  included working with new technologies and a veteran staff.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” Greilick said.

One of the biggest challenges facing newspapers across the country is how newspaper print circulation has fallen. At The Detroit News,  print circulation has dipped substantially since the paper no longer provides home delivery seven days a week. With print circulation falling, Greilick says that it is time to focus on the 90 percent of people who consume news online.

Greilick’s biggest advice for someone who is interested in a job in photo journalism or even photo editing: Versatility is important. It is important to be immersed in all the new technologies taking over the news world. Having both skills in video and photo and saying yes to every assignment can you get you far and having a good attitude goes a long way.

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