(SUN VALLEY, IDAHO) July 7, 2011 – My esteemed colleague www.SeattlePI.com staff photojournalist Josh Trujillo pointed out to me recently, ‘you’ve been at every major news event in the region recently … you’re on fire!’ Well, I’ll be the first to admit that it has had to do more with luck than skill, but nonetheless, I have to admit that the past three months have been a whirlwind of newsphoto reportage for me. May 2011 found me once again on the back of the Photo Moto(rcycle) covering the 2011 Amgen Tour of California pro bike race. June 2011 found me in the middle of a mob of 117,000 hockey fans rioting in Vancouver, B.C. after the deciding Stanley Cup playoff game #7. Who would have thought that July 2011 would find me in Sun Valley, Idaho at the heart of the largest media scandal and major newspaper closure announcement in recent history?
It’s been several years since I covered the annual Sun Valley Conference (aka: CEO/billionaire/think-tank summit) where about 100 of the world’s most powerful, influential, intellectual and wealthy leaders converge to discuss the future of global politics, economics, technology, academics and central-Idaho fly fishing. My assignment for Reuters News Pictures covering this year’s conference started with a cellphone call to me from West Coast Photo Assignment Editor Sam Mircovich on Sunday, 3 July 2011 as my photojournalism colleagues Janet Jensen/Tacoma News Tribune and Melina Mara/Washington Post and I were descending from alpine mountain climbing/randonee skiing down Mount Shuksan in Washington’s North Cascades. Sam said, “Antman, you’re going to Sun Valley, Idaho … immediately.” After covering one day of the 1957 Chicago ‘Cold Case Murder’ suspect’s bail hearing here in Seattle http://theimagearsenal.com/2011/seattle-july-4-2011-chicago-1957-cold-case-murder-suspect-appears-in-king-county-jail-courtroom.html , I was on an airplane from SeaTac to Hailey, Idaho on 5 July 2011 to start my coverage of the Sun Valley Conference.
My initial coverage of the event would be as any of my colleagues Scott Olson/Getty Images and Julie Jacobson/AP and I would do over the first day of the event shooting environmental scene-setting images along with the ‘red carpet’ arrival of global leaders such as Warren Buffet/Berkshire-Hathaway, Bill Gates/Gates Foundation, Jeff Bezos/Amazon.com, Michael Dell/Dell, Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook and Oprah Winfrey/O Network. What I did not expect during those first few days of the conference was to be at Ground Zero of breaking news that the two-million circulation newspaper the News of the World phone-tapping scandal and the resulting announcement of the immediate closure of the newpaper by Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch who was AT THE SUN VALLEY CONFERENCE!
The iPhone self portrait above shows my colleague Chicago-based Getty Images staff photographer Scott Olson and I finding shade in the rising morning Idaho sun waiting for Rupert Murdoch to ‘walk the media gauntlet’ on 7 July 2011 the day after the News of the World announcement and the day after my initial reportage of images of Murdoch arriving for the first day of the conference on 6 July 2011. Just like the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot the month prior, because I was able to hustle and file (transmit) my images on the wire immediately, my photos of Rupert Murdoch went viral getting extensive, prominent display globally as the News of the World story broke. It was difficult for me to realize the worldwide magnitude of this breaking news that the 168-year-old London-based newspaper closure lay primarily on the shoulders of the 80-year-old billionaire that I photographed the day earlier here in the idyllic rural setting of the Central Idaho mountains.
Since pictures speak louder than words, I’ll let your mouse do the speaking. Here are some of the newspaper front pages and lead online photo-galleries that prominently displayed my photo reportage:
London Free Press ~ http://www.lfpress.com/news/world/2011/07/09/18397781.html
Expressen (Göteborg, Sweden) ~ http://www.expressen.se/kultur/1.2492979/stilenlig-sorti
National Post (Canada) ~ http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/07/news-of-the-world-to-shut-down-sunday/
Montreal Gazette ~ http://www.montrealgazette.com/story_print.html?id=5065187&sponsor=
Vancouver Province ~ http://www.theprovince.com/news/Murdoch+shut+tabloid+wake+scandal/5065187/story.html
Vancouver Sun ~ http://www.vancouversun.com/story_print.html?id=5065305&sponsor=
Calgary (Alberta) Sun ~ http://www.calgarysun.com/2011/07/09/murdoch-flies-to-london-to-tackle-phone-hack-crisis
Windsor (Ontario) Star ~ http://www.windsorstar.com/news/News+World+shut+down/5069937/story.html
Victoria (B.C.) Times-Colonist ~ http://www.timescolonist.com/story_print.html?id=5071041&sponsor=
Special thanks to my Sun Valley Conference photojournalism colleagues that made the ‘scrum’ there covering both the event and the Murdoch news bearable: Scott Olson/Getty Images, Julie Jacobson/AP, Peter Foley/Bloomberg and colleague reporter Sarah McBride/Reuters. See you all next year!