It’s been a tough, whirlwind past 24 hours for the Boston University community. If you aren’t in Boston or haven’t heard by now, 23-year-old Christopher Weigl, a photojournalism graduate student at BU, was killed in a bicycling accident on his way to class yesterday morning.
Chris was one of the five of us grad students in the BU photojournalism program this year. It’s never easy to hear about loss of life, but when it’s someone from the community you’re a part of every day, it hits close to home.
It’s difficult to find words, and everyone has their own way of coping with things. Chris was a photojournalist, an incredibly talented and hard working one, so personally, I’m finding solace in keeping myself busy doing the work that he loved to do: learning, shooting, editing, interviewing, blogging, thinking about new ideas and ways to change the game.
A few days ago, Chris was there with the rest of us photo kids in the lab in COM’s basement. He loved the technical aspects of photography, and was working on one of his camera reviews that he was regularly hired to write. As we all shot the breeze, he showed a few of us a website that he had created himself and was working on. It was a new camera and lens review site that he built from scratch and hoped to expand and grow. That’s what I liked best about Chris. He always seemed to be thinking one step ahead of the game, and had an intelligent grasp on the state of journalism now and where it’s going.
I’m amazed and moved by the response and support of the BU community, particularly within the College of Communication. The gathering last night in the COM building was difficult to be at, but was also comforting, and showed that we’re all here for each other and we’ll all get through this together.
I’ve been trying to find just a sliver of something positive to think about, and this is what I’ve come up with. The night before the accident happened I was talking to Chris briefly. He had just come off of a 12-hour editing session to finish his final project for his Multimedia class – a profile on a Unitarian/Universalist co-op in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He told me that he was genuinely happy with himself and proud of the job he did on the piece. It’s small, but that’s a nice thought to latch on to. It’s a reminder of something that I think all of us journalists – or anyone doing any type of work, for that matter – should think about every once in awhile. Take pride in your own work. Feel good about it. Give yourself a pat on the back. Know that the work you’ve done made a difference.
A few things for you to look at:
Here is Chris’s portfolio. It’s a lasting record of the journalism he produced throughout his career.
Here is a memorial website that’s been set up by the Boston University News Service. There, you’ll find ways to look at Chris’s work and sign a guest book.
Here is a multimedia profile on Chris done by Sarah Ganzhorn, a fellow photojournalism grad student, earlier this semester. Watch it, and you’ll get a sense of what type of person Chris was.
Finally, here is the multimedia piece he had just finished.
My thoughts are with Chris’s family and friends. The photo above is one I took several weeks ago during our visit to the newsroom at The Boston Globe. Chris is on the far right, smiling as usual.