Starting as a reporter/photographer on Wednesday, Oct. 2, after 24 hours of driving from California, Joseph Barkoff is the newest reporter for the Capital Journal newspaper.
“I first got into the field because I hate expository writing — English and literature classes. So when I started college, I tried to avoid it and took a Journalism 1 class. Journalistic style — inverted pyramid information order or not — is a single thought per paragraph, not blah, blah, blah.” When he entered college, Barkoff already had three years in the Navy and many years in the food-service industry.
Though able to write and quickly find typographical errors, he was quickly drawn to a different aspect of journalism. “You all have cameras here!,” said Barkoff, who admitted he knew how to use a camera, “but I didn’t know how to use a camera for ‘realsies’.” He learned, and learned well. “I loved the idea of photography, and in getting my bachelors was only three classes from a journalism degree as well, so I took them all.”
While in college he participated in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. “It has been a distinct privilege and pleasure having Joseph Barkoff as a student in the Military Science program. As an embedded photo journalist with the ROTC program, Joseph was a tremendous asset,” said Lt. Colonel Thomas MacMillin, Western Kentucky University.
Taking photos and writing is now what he does. “A newspaper is a community’s conversation with itself; and that is how you should do your news,” said Barkoff.
Why he is doing his chosen career in South Dakota, specifically the Pierre area is because, “I am a no-name fish in a huge pond of journalism. The Capital Journal took the chance on me. I am ‘old’ and maybe other papers don’t want an older person, with them thinking ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’,” said Barkoff.
Those new tricks included by-line stories and by-line photographs by him done on his first day in Pierre. “I do well in fast-moving environments,” said Barkoff. “And, I think it’s beautiful here. Everybody I work with is super cool. We might not see eye-to-eye, but I have met a bunch of nice people here. I’ll talk to anybody and everybody.”