Featured Professional: John Ficara and “Black Farmers in America”

WASHINGTON, DC, 3 September 2010 — John Ficara is the latest Featured Professional on American University’s Backpack Journalism Project web site. I selected John, a friend and former Newsweek Magazine colleague, because his path to backpack journalism resembles that of so many of us now practicing the craft.

John’s book, “Black Farmers in America,” is a work of quiet but heart-breaking power. The image above, my favorite, is one of many from the book.

What we define today as “backpack journalism” is based largely on the tradition of documentary photojournalism as practiced by people like John Ficara. It’s a very specific application of multiple skills appropriate in certain circumstances that yields very unique results.

– Bill Gentile