By Caitlin Kelly
My husband, Jose Lopez, has had a career few can match — eight years in the White House press corps, photographing Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He’s flown on Air Force One and been in the Oval Office.
He covered the end of the Bosnian war, sleeping in an unheated shipping container, unable to shower for six weeks, his Christmas “dinner” a packet of chicken soup.
He traveled to Rekjavik to cover a summit with Gorbachev.
For a decade, he also chose and mentored young photographers through The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, creating a new generation of talent — some of whom now work at the Times.
His own blog, Frame 36A, is here.
And here is his story on the Times’ Lens blog.
He covered two Olympics and five Superbowls and then worked for 15 years as a photo editor in sports, Foreign/National, real estate, business and — lastly — as photo editor of the NYT Now app, working with men and women half his age.
He leaves the newsroom today — 31 years after arriving from his first few newspaper jobs in Texas and Colorado, a cocky young guy with a thick head of hair.
It was a very difficult decision for him to leave — he loves his work and his colleagues — and one we did not make lightly; great journalism jobs within great organizations have become unicorns.
But this buyout offer was munificent, and he still has excellent skills and boatloads of energy he’s bringing to his job search.
It was an emotional afternoon and evening as staff and freelance photographers, editors and reporters lined up to hug him fiercely and to wish him well. I was so touched, although not at all surprised — having written freelance for the paper for decades and knowing many of these people as well — to see how well-loved and deeply respected he is.
There were staffers barely out of college and retirees who came back to the newsroom — and a nearby bar after work — to congratulate him.
Jose blends the unusual and terrific mix of tough-as-nails under pressure and diplomatic, gentle manners. (Very Timesian!)
More essential to a job search in 2015 — he combines the gravitas and deep wisdom of a career news photojournalist with the most up-to-date digital skills he used selecting images for the NYTNow app.
On to the next adventure!
27 thoughts on “After 31 years, life begins outside the NYT newsroom…”
Congratulations, Jose! Retiring can be such sweet sorrow. 🙂
Yes,but…retiring only from that job…this is NOT retiring for good. We still have a mortgage and no plans to leave NY-area so he needs to keep working for another few years!
Wish him the best of luck for us.
Thanks! Will do.
I enjoyed reading about your husband. Best wishes as you begin a new chapter!~Rita
Thanks so much! 🙂
Spencer and I send Jose our best wishes 🙂 !
Has he thought about teaching? He’s had an amazing career.
Yes. He would love to — but he has no advanced degree and no plans to acquire one, so it needs to be a place that pays properly and does not demand an advanced degree. That is a rare combination — and a few adjuncting classes (which I now teach) would not provide sufficient income. He does love and is very good at it…we’ll see!
how wonderful and bittersweet. my best to both of you as you embark on the next page of your lives together )
Thanks! You know all about re-invention…:-)
Wow! Best of luck on the new adventures!
It takes more courage and vision to jump than to stay when it’s time. Sounds like he recognized it is time. And now, the fork in the road. Wishing him soft landing and beautiful scenery in his new path . . .
Thanks…you know newspapering these days…Colleagues think he got the last lifeboat out, that there will be only be more buyouts and layoffs but with much lower amounts of money offered. As someone who loves newspapers and making them, I find it heartbreaking.
I do too! Online reading is one form–but the pendulum has swung too far. I keep waiting for reason to kick in and for us to realize each outlet has its own merits.
Thank you for sharing this lovely story…and, as you say, onward!
Fingers and toes crossed — he has a big interview tomorrow.
On to better things! Best of luck!
Thanks much…Jose is very touched by all these good wishes. 🙂
Wishing all the best for Jose and for you too! (I just got a copy of Malled and am enjoying it very much.) You are both so very talented and skilled.
How fun! I hope you enjoy Malled…:-)
Thanks so much for the kind words. You know the challenges of this creative life. 🙂
What a wonderful career! You make a creative, and evidently collaborative, couple! All the best to you both for your next adventure.
Thanks much…Waiting to see what happens. 🙂
What a great farewell from the newsroom. Wishing Jose and you much luck in future endeavours!