Some civilians may be surprised to learn that the most poignant moments of military life are captured not only by Associated Press or National Geographic photographers but also by the soldiers and sailors themselves.
Through their deployments with the U.S. Navy, Petty Officer Second Class Justin Stumberg, a photographer, and Petty Officer Second Class Benjamin Lewis, a videographer, have documented the stories of military life, war and world cultures for the general public as well as the military’s historical record.
On Tuesday, September 24, Stumberg and Lewis will bring the emotion, beauty, triumph and tragedy of the U.S. military into sharp focus in their presentation, “Combat and Conflict: Through the Lens of the Military,” at 7 p.m. in 205 Martin Hall on the West Virginia University downtown campus.
Stumberg has used his camera to document some of the most memorable disaster and humanitarian relief efforts in recent history. In 2008, Stumberg deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he worked with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force to document combat support operations and humanitarian efforts. In January 2010, Stumberg was part of a quick response team who deployed in support of the Haitian Earthquake to document the U.S. military’s relief efforts there. He attended the Military Photojournalism Course at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications and is currently assigned to Defense Information School (DINFOS) where he teaches the Navy’s Basic Mass Communication Specialist course.Lewis has produced videos viewed by audiences in San Diego’s PETCO Park and the Staples Center in Los Angeles. He has spent time on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), participating in a Western Pacific Surge deployment and two Western Pacific deployments including support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Persian Gulf. Lewis served as a tour guide and provided historical documentation of flight deck and various ship operations. He also produced a 30-minute weekly newscast, video news stories, special events, commercials and training videos and wrote print news articles in support of the Ronald Reagan Strike Group. Lewis served as Ronald Reagan’s Site-TV supervisor until June 2010 when he was selected to attend the Syracuse University Military Motion Media program. Lewis is currently assigned to DINFOS where he teaches multi- service members video skills in the Basic Combat Correspondent course.
The public presentation is part of the WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism’s new “Future of MediaNOW!” series, which explores current and emerging forms of media being practiced by journalists, professional communicators and non-traditional storytellers.
“As the School’s programs evolve with the changing media industry, we want our students to be versed in the variety of opportunities available to them as storytellers and communicators,” said School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed. “This particular event will expose them to the high-quality work being produced by the military and show them how the government and other organizations are utilizing journalistic techniques and technologies to tell their own stories, no longer just relying on the media to do it for them.”
The event is also part of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between DINFOS and WVU signed in January 2013. The MOU established an academic partnership to facilitate the exchange of professional and scholarly knowledge between the School of Journalism and DINFOS.
DINFOS is the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier center for public affairs and visual information training. Members from all branches of the U.S. military, Department of Defense civilians and international military personnel attend DINFOS for training in such areas as public affairs, print journalism, photojournalism, photography, television and radio broadcasting, lithography, equipment maintenance and various forms of multimedia. DINFOS fulfills the Department of Defense’s need for an internal corps of professional journalists, broadcasters and public affairs professionals. It is a component of Defense Media Activity (DMA), the U.S. Department of Defense’s direct line of communication for news and information to U.S. forces worldwide. The agency presents news, information and entertainment on a variety of media platforms, including radio, television, internet, print and emerging media technologies. DMA informs millions of active, Guard and Reserve service members, civilian employees, contractors, military retirees and their families in the U.S. and abroad.
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