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Professor, students capture SBC story

[SLIDESHOW=40708,40709]COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) — For Bob Carey, coming to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting each year provides an opportunity to see old friends and offer an educational opportunity to his students.

“We enjoy covering assignments and fellowship together for the week,” said Carey, chairman of Gardner-Webb University’s (GWU) department of communication and new media, who brings students to help cover some of the events around the SBC.

Carey was invited in 1990 to be part of the Baptist Press photo team. Assigned to cover Houston’s Crossover, he went from event to event taking photos of the evangelism outreach efforts. At the time, he was the Crossover’s only photographer.

“My first year, I think I captured what many have told me was an iconic image of Crossover,” Carey, a member of Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C., said. “I was in a park near the Houston Galleria and an evangelist was using a white board to share Christ. They had been expecting a very large crowd, but rain had made the park vacant except for one young boy who was focused on the presentation.

“I shot from behind the boy showing the evangelist and the wide open field of the park. To me, it shows that even just one is important to Christ.”

Carey, who began teaching at GWU in 1997, was hired to help start the university’s journalism and photojournalism program. He has been chairman of the department for 11 years.

“About 10 years ago, we moved to teaching from a convergence concept in all of our majors in the department,” he said. “We teach our students to utilize all aspects of media to tell stories. We’ve been extremely successful in our photojournalism program, having students intern with the [International Mission Board], a National Geographic photographer and Sports Illustrated.”

It was about the time the program began to change that Carey started bringing students with him to cover Crossover and the SBC. Each year two to four students help with coverage.

Prior to Crossover, Carey says he tries to “gather as much [information] on the planned events and decide which ones seem to be the most unusual or visually interesting.”

Current coverage includes four teams consisting of a still photographer and a student who shoots multimedia. The teams, which included students from GWU and one from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., use their images and video to produce multiple stories on Crossover.

During the annual meeting, the teams “alternate shifts shooting everyone who comes to the podium of the annual meeting,” he said.

“This allows us to make sure that if a state paper or someone else needs for example a photo of someone who opened a session in prayer that we have it.”