Photojournalist Chuck Rapoport honoured by the National Union of Journalists
19 May 2017
Photojournalist I. C. (Chuck) Rapoport has been awarded honorary life membership of the National Union of Journalists (S E Wales Branch), in a ceremony held at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
The award was in recognition for the way in which he reported from the traumatised community of Aberfan in 1966.
His association with Cardiff University goes back to last September when he delivered a powerful presentation at the School’s conference on reporting trauma in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster – which he reported for Life magazine.
Opening his acceptance speech, he said, "This photo assignment – the one that moved me to come to Wales – was borne on the wings of sensitivity. From the very first television images on that Friday evening in New York, I felt a very strong compassion for people unknown to me – people in the small mining village of Aberfan.
"I know first-hand about the poor treatment of the grieving parents and brothers and sisters, having heard it from the very ones who were suffering so greatly. I didn’t understand it then and I still don’t understand it, nor will I try to. I am not a social scientist. I was and still am a journalist – and as such – commanded by profession to search out truths as best I can. And upon discovery, capture it with camera and lens to record it forever."
His speech also championed the role of journalism by highlighting how press freedoms are coming under attack and legitimate news sources being labelled “Fake News”.
"I am proud to be part of this community of truth seekers, of colleagues with pens and cameras, who put not only their reputations on the line – but many times – their lives as well. I will cherish this membership in the NUJ." A full version of Chuck's comments can be found on the School's blog.
Broadcast lecturer James Stewart, who helped organise last September’s conference titled ‘Aberfan – Remembering, Forgetting and Moving On: A discussion’ will soon be releasing a number of the presentations in conjunction with the School’s Tom Hopkinson Centre for Media History. Details of their release will appear on Twitter.
Photo by Tracey Paddison.