Ohio University

Alumna Spotlight - Maddie Meyer, BSVC '14

Alumna Spotlight - Maddie Meyer, BSVC '14

Editor's note: This feature, originally published in January 2020, has been updated to include a question on coronavirus impact in June 2020.

Hometown: Arlington, Va.

Year Graduated: 2014

School: School of Visual Communication

Major: Photojournalism 

Current job title and location: Photographer, Getty Images, based in Boston, Mass.

What do you do? I am a sports photographer for Getty Images, based in Boston, Mass. I spend most of my time covering the local teams, the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox. I also get the chance to travel internationally. I've had the opportunity to cover the Men's and Women's World Cups, Summer and Winter Olympic Games, and the World Swimming Championships. Getty Images provides photos to clients from newspapers and magazines, to major organizations like FIFA and the USOC. I work by myself, or with a team of other photographers and editors to cover sporting events all over the world. 

What made you come to Ohio University? Were there other places you considered? I knew I wanted to major in photojournalism and that Ohio University has one of the premier programs in the country. I looked at a few other schools, but, after having an interview with Marcy Nighswander and Stan Alost, I knew this was the place for me. It was obvious to me they hold their students to a high standard and under their guidance I would be pushed to dramatically improve. I love the intensity of the program and the tight-knit relationships between students. I saw that this was a place that would give me all the tools I needed to succeed, it was up to me to get as much out of it as possible. I knew that the program would be rigorous, and I would graduate a much better photographer than when I started!

How did the Scripps College of Communication equip you with the skills you needed to succeed? I continue to be surprised by all the ways my Scripps classes pop up in everyday life. I use things I learned in my photojournalism classes every day. I carry with me information about composition, storytelling, sequencing images, and the technical side of using cameras and software like Photoshop® every day I go to work. I'm also thankful for classes like Media Law and our Intro to Journalism class. The journalism core classes forced me to learn my rights and how to express myself through writing. I am a much more well-rounded journalist because of it. 

What about your experiences here was so memorable? Studying photojournalism at Ohio University is a unique college experience. The class sizes are really small, so my graduating class became very close. We all pushed each other to be better and were extremely dedicated to our assignments. I lived with a bunch of classmates off campus my junior and senior years—one house was even in the upper parking lot of Siegfried where VisCom used to be located! My fondest memories came from working on large group projects like Soul of Athens or putting together an edition of The Post. While at OHIO, I felt supported and understood by my classmates since we were all working toward the common goal of becoming successful photojournalists. I'm still in touch with many of them today, and I am so excited when I run into them on assignment. 

Tell us about your career path. While at OHIO, I worked for the athletics department. Highlights for me included having the chance to travel a little bit with the football team and set up remotes to cover basketball games. My favorite homework assignments were always sports-related—to the point that, in one class, I was banned from using sports images to complete assignments! I didn't know if I could pursue sports full time as my career, but I wanted to try. I had several internships during my time as a student, including at The Washington Post, Seattle Times and at Getty Images in New York. I learned so much from all of those experiences, but being at Getty felt right to me. I loved the pace of working for a wire service and the excitement of being at major sporting events. The coworkers I met had a tight-knit relationship like I had with classmates at Ohio University. I loved how well they knew each other and pushed each other to improve. I kept in touch with my boss after my internship ended, and the stars aligned in that there was a job opening after I graduated. I finished up school December 2014, moved to Boston two weeks later and have been here ever since. 

How has your work life and or focus changed due to the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. and resulting precautionary measures? I am a sport photographer for Getty Images based in Boston, Mass. This time of year, I'm usually busy covering the NBA and NHL playoffs, and MLB regular season games. This year was going to be really exciting: I was scheduled to cover the US Olympic swim trials and photograph the Olympics in Tokyo. Of course, everything has changed, so my day to day has shifted a lot.

I now help the news team as much as I can. That involves photographing testing sites in Massachusetts and daily life features of our "new normal.” In order to stay healthy, I wear masks on assignment. They're required here in Massachusetts now anyway, so that has been an easy adjustment. I also always carry hand sanitizer with me and am sure to sanitize all of my equipment when I get home. 

If I'm covering something with a lot of people, like the protests following George Floyd’s death, I bag all of my clothes by my back door and leave it for three days before washing it. Much less of my work now requires long lenses like sport, so I'll often bike to avoid public transit. It’s also a really nice way to decompress through all of this. 

What advice do you have for current students? Take advantage of all the amazing opportunities on campus! I worked at The Post and for the athletics department, which taught me so much. Get out into the community! There are so many stories to be told in Southeast Ohio if you get off campus. My senior capstone project was on the football team at Trimble High School, and those are some of my favorite football games I've covered to this day. But most of all, take the time to get to know your professors and classmates. Not only can they become good friends but also great resources as you progress in your career. Lastly, go easy at the bars on Court Street!