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'What a time to be alive': OU Daily visual editor appreciative for wealth of opportunities and encounters with college newsroom

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'What a time to be alive': OU Daily visual editor appreciative for wealth of opportunities and encounters with college newsroom
Trey Young

It all started with pictures of some books.

I texted my cousin and OU Daily alumnus Scooby Axson on April 17, 2019, after deciding to change my major from computer science to creative media production. At the time, he was writing for Sports Illustrated, and my goal was to capture the photos he would use in his stories. Though it was a lofty and unfounded goal, his initial advice was that I should consider working for The Daily, and he said there was no way he would be doing what he was if he hadn’t worked at the paper.

Nearly five months later, I sent him a picture of me carrying our ever-professional press passes to my first assignment: the bookstore on Campus Corner.

"Credential"

The image I proudly sent my cousin and OU Daily alum Scooby Axson while walking across campus to the Campus Corner Store on September 3, 2019.

Campus Corner Store

My first ever picture for the Daily was of some relatively-expensive textbooks, taken at the Campus Corner Store on September 3, 2019.

From there I went on to shoot my first live sporting event, alone … in 16:9.

16:9

I froze former OU volleyball player Brianna Kadiku mid-air in 16:9 during a game against TCU on September 25, 2019. 

I didn’t know any better at the time, but honestly, even now I don’t think it was a bad look. Neither did Caitlyn Epes, the former visual editor who brought me on as her assistant. Though we didn’t get to spend a lot of time working together, she dumped her photo brain into mine and took me along for the only remaining and feasible away game, Bedlam.

Bedlam

Former OU Daily visual editor and current Arizona Cardinals team photographer Caitlyn Epes led me through the chaos of Bedlam in Stillwater on November 30, 2019.

I also had opportunities to cover 2016 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren — from which I took one of my favorite pictures ever — and to cover three events related to OU in Oklahoma City across six days.

OKC events

These are events I was able to cover in Oklahoma City, with the last 3 being covered across a period of six days. Top left: Democratic Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks at her alma mater on December 22, 2020. Top right: Former OU women's gymnast Anastasia Webb performs in the Cox Convention Center on February 21, 2020. Bottom left: OU men's basketball plays Texas Tech in the Chesapeake Energy Arena on February 25. Bottom right: former OU basketball player Buddy Hield and the Sacramento Kings play the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 27, 2020.

Reflecting back on all this, that’s what I really believe The OU Daily is about: opportunities. There isn’t a strict curriculum on what we do each semester, and the qualities and quantities of our works are a direct result of what we put into it. Sometimes a story will fall into your lap and make national news, but often, the content we created came from using our communication and connections within the community to deliver the information deeper than your favorite talking head might have gleaned. When the people and players of the town recognize and trust you, that allows you to take your content to the next level.

That is, of course, until you have to stay 6 feet apart.

OU vs KSU

Sports editor Mason Young and I attempt to cover the OU vs Kansas State football game from a cordoned section of the stands on September 26, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged and continues to challenge all of us in media to find ways to engage with the community, with limited physical engagement with the community. From learning how to work as a team creating a weekly newspaper at home (thank you, copy and design desks!) to reporting and photographing football from the student section, we strove to uphold the standards. There also were protests and unrest within the city and state, giving us opportunities to shed some light and accountability on larger issues of national significance.

BLM Paper

The Back To School edition of our paper that ran starting August 24, 2020. I created this illustration by masking the letters of the phrase with images I took over that summer

It all meant this academic year involved many simultaneous firsts and lasts for me. The "short away game" football season meant my road trips with the barrels of fun from the sports desk (shoutout to Mason Young, Chandler Engelbrecht and Austin Curtright) were limited to about six hours, and unfortunately, I never got to visit Morgantown, Ames or Lubbock. It was still a historic season in so many ways, from my first Red River Showdown (talk about a first impression) to waiting at Max Westheimer Airport an entire day for a private jet bringing new head football coach Brent Venables to town. It was also my first and last time covering NCAA Tournaments for men and women's basketball, as well as men and women's gymnastics.

Collage

This is a collage of highlights from my last year working at the Daily. Top left: a selfie with Austin Curtright, Mason Young and Chandler Engelbrecht in Bill Snyder Stadium before the Kansas State vs Oklahoma football game. Top right: Former OU football quarterback Caleb Williams dons the golden hat after a historic comeback against Texas in the Red River Showdown. Bottom left: Freshly-hired OU football head coach Brent Venables walks through fireworks with his family as he arrives at Max Westheimer airport under the dark of night. Bottom right: The OU women's basketball team huddles as they prepare to host one of the first March Madness tournament games. 

I want to thank Edward Reali and Ray Bahner for acting as my bowling alley bumpers and Justin Jayne for shooting videos so clean that you could screenshot them and use the stills as photos. I also want to extend a special thanks to our newsroom adviser Seth Prince, for so many reasons. He always pushed me to try new things I hadn’t thought of or wasn’t fully sure of, and I can’t ever remember a time when I asked him a question and he responded with “I don’t know” — though it might have taken him a second to gather his thoughts, once he was ready to respond, his wisdom just never stopped flowing.

I'm also thankful for not only everyone who's come and gone on the visual desk, but also all the great people and places The Daily has connected me with. I have a box in my bookshelf at home full of credentials and lanyards (probably totaling something north of 51) representing all of the opportunities I've had here. I'm not entirely sure where I'm headed next, but I'm going to do everything I can to keep chasing those opportunities and adding more tags.

If you're interested in keeping up with me you can view my work on my website or follow me on my photography Instagram, otherwise it's time for me to pass the torch. 

WCY III, "Trey"

Reflecting pool

A selfie I took in the sculpture of AT&T Stadium's reflecting pool before the Iowa State vs Oklahoma Big 12 Championship Game on December 19, 2020.


Trey Young served as a photographer from September 2019 to November 2019, as the assistant visual editor to Caitlyn Epes from December 2019 to May 2020, and as the visual editor from May 2020 to May 2022. He is a creative media production graduate with a minor in military science.

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