Hitoshi Oikawa, managing editor of the Audio-Visual News Department of Kyodo, Japan’s largest independent news agency, explains how his career as a war correspondent helped him to grasp the significance of photography, and what impact a good photo can make during times of trouble.
Hitoshi Oikawa was born in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture in 1961. In 1985, he graduated from Waseda University and that same year he joined Kyodo News.
In 1995-1997, he served as its Belgrade Bureau Chief, and in 1998-2002, he worked as its Moscow Bureau Correspondent.
Among his achievements, Oikawa won the Vaughn-Uyeda Memorial International Journalistic Prize in 2001.
Later on, in 2003-2004, he was Kyodo’s Baghdad Bureau Chief and in 2006-2009, he served as the Cairo Bureau Chief.
In addition, he moved on to serve as Kyodo’s Deputy Managing Editor at the Audio-Visual News Department in 2016-17, and then in 2017 he acted as Deputy Managing Editor at the News Department until 2019.
Since early 2020, he has been in the agency’s Audio-Visual News Department as its Managing Editor.
Why did you choose this profession and what inspires you in the photo industry now?
Originally, I had not been employed as photographer, but as correspondent. I worked in the former Yugoslavia, Russia and Middle East from 1995 until 2009. Then, I covered many wars like Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003-200, and so on. There I often witnessed the power and impact of a photo at the scene. So now I’m proud of working as the managing editor of the Audio-Visual News Department.
What made you decide to join the jury of the first international NEWS PHOTO AWARDS. OVERCOMING COVID contest?
A: OVERCOMING COVID, this is war and an unprecedented, enormous challenge for us, human beings. It’s really essential to be reporting the scenes of overcoming COVID-19 through photographs for reporters and media.
Why do you think this contest is important?
The reason why I think this contest is important is I described above. Journalists, especially photojournalists in the world are confronting an unprecedented huge challenge. I do believe this photo contest will be a good occasion to view the power and impact of photos as human beings who are struggling against COVID-19.