A graduate student at West Virginia University’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism is getting the opportunity to work as a photojournalist for the West Virginia Charleston Bureau of the Associated Press.
Lingbing Hang, an international student from Shanghai, China, began her role as a freelance photographer for the AP in August and already has covered events such as the opening of the Sago Mine Memorial and the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Hang said the AP became interested in her work last year when AP bureau reporter Vicki Smith asked Hang to shoot a photo for one of her stories. At the time, Hang was not allowed to be paid for her work since she is an international student and is already employed as a graduate assistant by the School of Journalism.
This year however, Hang is completing her curricular practical training required of international students. Upon her December graduation, Hang will begin her optional practical training and will remain in the country for one year, gaining additional photojournalism experience.
Throughout the years, Hang has taken hundreds of photographs and witnessed many important events, but some of the projects that are closest to her heart are the ones that she has done at WVU.
“With the multimedia website ‘Starting Over: Loss and Renewal in Katrina’s Aftermath,’ I was able to get hands-on experience covering stories of Hurricane Katrina evacuees in West Virginia. As a coordinator, photographer and multimedia stories editor, this program married my passions of journalism and love for people of this country,” Hang said.
Hang is especially passionate about her contributions to the School of Journalism’s documentary book, “Cancer Stories: Lessons in Love, Loss and Hope,” published in 2004. She said she was able to relate to the individuals featured in the book, since she lost a younger brother to bone cancer four years ago.
Eventually, Hang hopes to work full time for a news organization where she can use her photojournalism and multimedia reporting skills.