Capturing the present and determining her future

By Phoebe Fries, page editor.

Josie Norris beams after she is awarded 2nd place for College Photographer of the Year at the annual Michigan Press Photographer Awards held in Lansing Feb. 18. 2017. (Photo courtesy of Josie Norris)

Josie Norris beams after she is awarded 2nd place for College Photographer of the Year at the annual Michigan Press Photographer Awards held in Lansing Feb. 18. 2017. (Photo courtesy of Josie Norris)

Josie Norris, Delta Collegiate’s editor-in-chief, was awarded second place for College Photographer of the Year by The Michigan Press Photographers Association.

Norris’s passion for photography began at the age of eleven. Her roots in the field begin at Delta where she attended a homeschool co-op class on photography.

“I remember taking pictures of absolutely everything, with the help of positive feedback and my general interest, it kind of just took off and grew into something I never imagined or anticipated for my future career,” says Norris.

Norris has always wanted to work in a creative field, but was unsure how she wanted to do it. She says she fell in love with photojournalism after spending time at the Saginaw County Fair with her camera. That’s where she met Sammy Jo Hester, a photojournalist working for MLive Media Group/The Saginaw News.

“Her opinion about me possibly looking into photojournalism changed the course of my life,” says Norris.

Norris says it was her quest for knowledge that furthered her focus on journalism for a future career.

“I remember one family Christmas I showed up with a personal questionnaire and I sat down with every family member and interviewed them. I wanted to learn about people, I wanted to know the why’s and how’s of any and every situation,” says Norris.

Norris job shadowed Hester the following fall. The unpredictable life of a journalist made Norris question the idea of becoming a photojournalist.

Norris states, “Sammy Jo was in Flint for six months and then Saginaw for another six months and then who knows where else. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like that instability.”

Months before Norris was supposed to start college at Saginaw Valley State University, which according to her she wasn’t excited for, she had yet to narrow in on a career path. Her general attitude about the university was also questioned.

“I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel like home,” says Norris.

Norris explains the moment it clicked for her was while attending the Saginaw County Rodeo.

“I remember feeling this high after every snap and I remember feeling so good. That was the first time I put a name to it, those un-posed, natural moments that I so enjoyed capturing, was photojournalism,” explains Norris.

She decided to start off at Delta College and two weeks in Norris was hired by the Collegiate.

“I finally figured out who I am. I am a journalist.” says Norris.

Norris explains the humanistic side to journalism that drew her in and continues to inspire her work.

“Without journalism I wouldn’t have met some extraordinary people. My camera gives me courage to go up and talk to people. It gives me a reason for being a visitor to different spaces people allow me to come into,” says Norris.

She started working for the Collegiate in the fall of 2014 and within a couple of year she went from staff photographer to photo editor and is currently the editor-in-chief.

Last May Norris was hired as an intern for the Saginaw News.

“I had never wanted anything more. When I found out I was in the top three I was astounded. They originally offered the job to someone else, however, the recipient took another job position so I received the intern spot,” explains Norris.

Norris took a semester off from Delta to solely focus on the internship. She credits her time with the Saginaw News as the reasoning behind her placement at the MPPA’s.

She took home second place in the category of College Photographer of the Year for the MPPA’s.

“As they were judging, my heart was racing so fast. I almost started crying at the awards ceremony when they called my name for second place. That’s when I realized what a huge accomplishment this was and what it would mean for my future,” says Norris.  

Norris was also nominated to serve as a student chair on The Michigan Press Association.

“That was also really cool and very unexpected. I look forward to representing student voices and being a part of this journalism family,” says Norris.

She will be interning at The Tennessean in Nashville for eight weeks during the summer.

Norris says, “I’m kind of terrified, but also excited for the work I will be doing and all of the people I will meet.”

After the internship she will attend Central Michigan University to continue her studies of photojournalism in the fall.

According to Norris the award she received was an accumulation of many people.

“I don’t feel right taking credit for that award. So many people pushed me and believed in me and I can’t thank them enough for what they have opened my eyes too,” says Norris.

Norris continued to express gratitude for the people who supported her and saw her potential before she had the chance too.

“I’m starting to believe in the greatness [inside me] and it’s a really good feeling,” says Norris.  

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