June 22nd, 2009

Chris Keeley

Talk to the Newsroom: Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally

Talk to the Newsroom: Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally

Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally, who oversees photography for The New York Times, is answering questions from readers June 22-26. She previously answered questions in July 2006. Questions may be e-mailed to askthetimes@nytimes.com.

Ms. McNally joined The Times as director of photography in June 2004 and was promoted to assistant managing editor in July 2005.

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A. Mr. Martinet: I am glad to hear you find the pictures inspiring.

I believe that the role of the photographer has already changed. Whereas photographers were always crucial in making events tangible and enhancing storytelling, now they explore a subject on multiple platforms. For years newspapers have had photo columns that were always in the photographer's voice, now the photographer can do audio over the pictures — truly in his or her own voice. A fine example of this is Bill Cunningham.

James Estrin shared a byline with the writer on the story about caring for Alzheimer patients during the night. He took the pictures, recorded the audio and wrote about his experience.

A photographer can suggest an idea, do the research, shoot the pictures, and shoot video as Chang Lee did here.

The newsroom is an ever-changing place and traditional roles no longer apply. The photojournalist of the future needs to be flexible and ready to go in any direction.

Thanks for your good question.