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Kevin Udahl

16: June 2015

Kevin Udahl has been working as a photojournalism educator at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, Alberta, Canada since 2007.

Kevin began his journalism studies in 1989 at the very same school he now teaches at. After his first year of j-school, he discovered that he enjoyed telling stories with text and pictures, and eventually decided to specialize in photojournalism for his second year. Since graduating from the program in 1991, he started out as a reporter/photographer in the smaller weekly newspaper markets, eventually working his way through smaller daily newspapers, and finally landing a full-time staff photographer's position at The Calgary Sun where he has spent the bulk of his career.

Between those full-time jobs throughout the 1990’s, Kevin spent much of his time freelancing for a variety of editorial and corporate clients, while also completing an undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of Calgary. Specializing in comparative politics and the politics of developing nations, Kevin spent a portion of his third year in 1997 at the University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic. While in the region Kevin freelanced while pursuing his studies, heading back to Canada in the spring of 1998 to finish his degree. Shortly after coming back to Canada, Kevin was hired as a full-time photojournalist at The Calgary Sun daily newspaper. In 2001 the Sun finally made the jump to digital photography where Kevin played a pivotal role in developing a workflow and archival strategy for the paper's new digital environment.

Fast-forward to 2006, and the multimedia revolution in newspapers began to gain some momentum. Kevin had been working a lot with early multimedia platforms doing AV presentations for the Sun’s online presence. This early work in producing picture stories with audio was a great introduction to the larger world of multimedia. It was in 2007 when he was approached by SAIT to teach photojournalism, and Kevin has been teaching the next generation of visual storytellers ever since.

This new career direction has forced him to continue to expand his own skill sets in the area of multimedia storytelling. SAIT’s program is one of a small handful of photojournalism programs in the country, and Kevin has helped spearhead a number of changes in the curriculum, particularly as it relates to multimedia journalism.

Kevin participated in the June 2015 MediaStorm Methodology Workshop. He had the following to say about her experience:

The methodology workshop really painted a clearer picture of MediaStorm's process and philosophy of telling quality, character-driven stories that have impact. Brian Storm and his staff challenged my assumptions about what good multimedia storytelling could be. Brian brought up so many challenging and thoughtful ideas that our group discussed and debated at length. These sessions were extremely valuable. A focal point for me was the simple idea of collaboration. Brian really advocated this throughout the week - that when you bring a group of professionals together (as we did in this workshop), there is such a great opportunity to leverage that variety expertise to produce some great projects. The entire staff at MediaStorm has an obvious passion for in-depth reportage using a character-driven narrative. It’s no secret that this is what really sets MediaStorm apart. Their roots in the photojournalism tradition is apparent in their approach, and this is very encouraging to me as a photojournalism educator. As we continue to strive to help our students find their way in this digital media landscape, the workshop reaffirmed my own resolve to spread the ideas that are so central to MediaStorm's methodology - that quality storytelling will win the day.