Du Cille Named Chief of Post's Photography Department

Two-time Pulitzer winner Michel du Cille, 51, joined The Washington Post in 1988.
Two-time Pulitzer winner Michel du Cille, 51, joined The Washington Post in 1988. (Julia Ewan - Twp)
By Joe Holley and Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Michel du Cille, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and longtime editor and photographer at The Washington Post, has been named assistant managing editor for photography, it was announced yesterday.

Du Cille, 51, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, and a professional news photographer from the age of 17, joined The Post in 1988 as picture editor and deputy assistant managing editor under Joe Elbert. Du Cille and Elbert, whom he succeeds, built a department whose members have won two Pulitzers and several national photographer of the year awards.

"At a time when visual journalism is more important than ever to the future of The Washington Post in print and on the Web, we are fortunate to have Michel leading the way," said Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. and Managing Editor Philip Bennett.

Du Cille said he is assuming his new position, one of the top posts in the newsroom, as the newspaper industry undergoes great change, much of it occasioned by the Web.

"Modern times require new thinking for photojournalism," he said. "It is time for photographers to be lifted to a higher level of responsibility" as journalists who think more than ever of providing stories.

Stories will be told, he said, through audio and video techniques as well as traditional still photography. The unifying thread, he said, will be storytelling, and it "will be stressed" to all photographers that their assignments will be "to develop stories, not just pictures."

At a time of enthusiastic response to photography on The Post's Web site, washingtonpost.com, he said, his department will carry "increased responsibility to provide great journalism" in print and online.

Du Cille and Elbert have worked together for 27 years, dating to when Elbert was picture editor and du Cille was an intern at the Miami Herald.

After becoming a member of the Herald's photography staff, Du Cille received Pulitzers for his work there. One was awarded to him and Carol Guzy, who is also at The Post, for spot news photography of a 1985 volcanic eruption in Colombia. The second was for du Cille's 1987 photo essay on crack cocaine addicts in a Miami housing project.

While in high school in Gainesville, Ga., du Cille worked full time as a photographer for the Gainesville Times. He joined the Herald after receiving a bachelor's degree in journalism from Indiana University. He also has a master's degree in journalism from Ohio University.

After working at The Post as Elbert's deputy for 17 years, he returned two years ago to shooting photos and was credited with memorable images for the front page and The Post's "Being a Black Man" project. He was also involved in creating photo galleries for the paper's Web site, including one that showed conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Elbert said last night that he will become a photographer at the paper and that he is looking forward to doing sports photography and working on projects that include video.

Du Cille's appointment takes effect Nov. 1.

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