Racine’s Hertzberg announces retirement

Mark Hertzberg, the director of photography at the The Journal Times in Racine, Wis., announced last week that he will retire at the end of this month. He has worked at The Journal Times for almost 34 years, first as a staff photojournalist and then in his current position since 1987. His final day on the job will be Friday, March 30.

Hertzberg was actively involved in the “cameras in the courtroom” movement – to make photography permissible in Wisconsin’s courts – in the mid-to-late 1970s. That battle was won in 1979 with the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s adoption of Chapter 61 of it’s rules, establishing statewide guidelines for “electronic media and still photography of judicial proceedings.” It also established a county-by-county media coordinator network to facilitate media access on a local level. Since then, Hertzberg has served as Racine County’s media coordinator.

In a one-hour interview (well worth listening to) with Gregory Berg on the WGTD-FM Morning Show, Hertzberg recalled a lifetime of photojournalism.

Growing up in New York City, Hertzberg knew early on that he wanted to be a photojournalist. At the age of 10 he received a Brownie Starflash camera (which he still owns today). In the late 1960s he enrolled at Lake Forest College in Illinois and, while a student there, served a summer internship at the now defunct Baltimore News-American. Returning to the Chicago area, he worked at Altman Camera, waiting as patiently as possible to get his first newspaper job. It was in that camera store that one customer, time-after-time, encouraged him not to give up on his dream. That customer was none other than legendary Chicago Sun-Times photojournalist John H. White.

It took a few years but Hertzberg finally got that first photojournalism job. In 1974, he went north across the Illinois-Wisconsin to work as the only photographer at the Beloit (Wis.) Daily News. “It was a journalism boot camp,” Hertzberg said of his four years there.

Since joining the Racine staff in 1978, Hertzberg oversaw major leaps in journalism technology and common practices: from black and white to color, from film to digital, and from stills-only to the age of multimedia.

Hertzberg became known among his colleagues for his interest in courtroom photography. “We are the eyes and ears of our readers, and we bring the reader face to face with the defendant or the attorneys in the case,” he said in his WGTD interview. “These are very difficult moments in peoples lives. It’s not another photo-op. It’s not another press conference to blow in and out of.”

An avid bicyclist and Frank Lloyd Wright aficionado, Hertzberg plans to stay in Racine. In his interview, he admitted his shutter finger will still be getting a good workout in retirement. He was recently appointed as the official photographer for an individual: his granddaughter Jane Virginia Hertzberg, born July 2011.

Please join WNPA in not only congratulating Mark on his lifetime of photojournalism work, but in thanking him for his work – such as “cameras in the courtroom” – that still benefits us to this day.

20 Responses to “Racine’s Hertzberg announces retirement”

  1. John Hart says:

    You’ve had a great run, Mark. Thanks for all you’ve done and for being such a fine advocate for the profession. I know your presence will be missed in Racine, but hopefully we can continue to stay in touch through WNPA. Wishing you all the best for a happy and rewarding retirement!

  2. Jeffrey phelps says:

    Congrats mark, you have done so much and so well,

    Enjoy the bike and time for yourself now

  3. Sarah (Tews) Brinkman says:

    Congratulations Mark! Here’s to the Next Chapter!

  4. Mark,

    Wow! Boot camp! Congrats on all you have done for civic literacy!

  5. Ron Page says:

    Best wishes Mark. Thanks for all the good work you’ve done. When you are biking around Lake Winnebago at some point, stop in at the paper so we can get you out for a celebratory lunch.

  6. I can’t thank Mike enough for the lovely photo he picked to go with this nice story. Context…major flooding in Racine a half mile from home. I rode my bike there because I knew that traffic would be backed up because of gawkers. I have no idea why I kept my helmet on! Borrowed the waders from the guy at whose house I locked the bike up. Take care, guys, it’s been a great run. Thanks for everything. You guys all help Wisconsin continue the standard set for the nation at the Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel in the 1940s on, and then in the 60s and 70s on at the State J and Cap Times, Journal Times, etc., etc., etc. Photojournalism in Wisconsin is in fewer hands, alas, but it is still in very good hands!

    hertz

  7. Karl, you can certainly vouch for the bit about Boot Camp Beloit. You were there on the front lines with me! I still remember you letter to the editor about the photographer in the green VW when I left the BDN.

  8. […] The Wisconsin News Photographers Association has the announcement – after 34 years in photojournalism, Mark Hertzberg is going to retire. […]

  9. Congrats, Mark. I think we met in person once, but the many email conversations over the last decade and a half have been appreciated.

    One other thing that isn’t in this story is the work Mark has done as moderator of the National Press Photographers Association’s listserv. While quieter now, his even hand has kept discussions about photojournalism and the industry on track for years.

  10. Michael P. King says:

    A few other NPPA things we really didn’t mention was Mark’s years in NPPA’s governance, as well as his role as press-police relations chair.

    We could only include so much information before it started to sound like an obituary…

  11. Dan Powers says:

    Congrats Mark!Hope you enjoy your well deserved retirement years to come. I just hope pick up a camera every once in awhile along the way…you know, nature pics along the biking trails!

  12. John Ehlke says:

    Congratulations Mark,

    It was a pleasure to shoot for you back in September. I hope you enjoy retirement and the time off. Enjoy the new gig with your granddaughter.

  13. Paul Gero says:

    Mark…

    Congratulations on your upcoming graduation — well deserved.

    Thank you for all you have given back to the photojournalism world and to your readers. You will be sorely missed.

    And finally, I want to thank you for taking the time to write back to me when I was a kid at Ripon College and your note encouraged me and inspired me to follow my own dream to be a newspaper photographer.

    As our mutual friend John H. White would say:

    “Keep in Flight!”

    Paul

  14. Whether or not Mark remembers me, our paths occasionally crossed at various NPPA events back when I worked for Agence France-Presse. Later I found myself in the Midwest and his work with cameras in the courtroom emboldened newspapers in Ohio and we finally got to maximize photo coverage for our readers. After being transferred to Pennsylvania I discovered that there is no such access and one of our Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photographers was somewhat stunned covering a case in Ohio involving Amish beard-cutting when he was asked to enter the courtroom. Thank you Mark for your active involvement in the world of newspaper photography.

  15. You da man. Congrats!

    Thank you for helping to bring cameras to the courtroom as well as your other visual accomplishments.

    Corey

  16. Bob Daugherty says:

    Thanks for your advice and council Mark, but most of all, your friendship.

  17. Gary Klein says:

    Mark,

    It look like you can get off the deadline train.
    Take time to take in things that you’ve neglected.
    Above all else enjoy!

  18. Jack Corn says:

    Mark,
    I have great memories of working with you on NPPA business. I hope you enjoy your retirement as much as I have mine. I suspect a go-getter like you will find plenty to do
    Congrats on A GREAT CAREER.
    Jack

  19. Congrats, Mark, but you are too young to retire. Thanks for all you have done for the profession and good luck in your next chapter in life. Come to Texas some time for a visit.

  20. Jerry McCullough says:

    Mark, Please come to Arkansas and visit us. As you know I cannot come to Racine because you never fixed that parking ticket. You certainly have gone a long way and are retiring as one of the best photojournalists I have run across. Bud

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