Photojournalist Daniella Zalcman on Herself and Her Work

Daniella Zacman 1

Daniella Zalcman speaks to Janna Anderson’s reporting class on her book, “Signs of Your Identity.”

Daniella Zalcman

Daniella Zalcman speaks to Janna Anderson’s reporting class on her book, “Signs of Your Identity.”

Photojournalist Daniella Zalcman, who hosted a lecture earlier today, Wednesday, November 1, in the School of Communications at Elon University, spoke about herself to Janna Anderson’s Reporting for the Public Good. In this more intimate setting, journalism students were able to ask Daniella questions on how she got started, how she chooses her topics and how best to work with sources who are narrating past traumas.

Daniella is an award-winning photojournalist based in London and New York. She reports chiefly on human rights issues around the globe, especially focusing on underrepresented populations in remote locations, women, at-risk LGBT asylum seekers, and on the legacies of western colonization. While talking about her work, Daniella said:


“Sparking outrage is my main goal.”

Even though Daniella wanted to be a journalist since she was 12, she began her passion for long-term assignments on humans rights issues in 2012, much later in her career. She believes it is important to tell such stories because the institutions that are responsible for storytelling, like journalism, are not always good at representing everyone equally and telling our histories and the histories of oppressed peoples accurately and holistically.

The long-term assignments that Daniella has taken in the past have focused on thing such as the LGBT community in former British colonies, specifically, Uganda. Presently, she is continuing her work narrating the experiences of survivors of Indian residential schools in Canada and the United States.

The things that Daniella exposes have a sense of urgency to her, and for her are eminent to share. She told the class that things like the Indian residential school systems that wreaked havoc in indigenous communities in Canada. Things like the kidnapping and subsequent forcible assimilation, rampant emotional, physical and sexual abuse that thousands of indigenous children went through. Things that occurred until the late 1900’s, are not included in the narratives that we share about North American history.

She sees this lack of narrative primarily within the middle to high-school educational institutions in the U.S. Part of her grant with the Pulitzer Center, Daniella talks about her work and the experiences to middle and high-school students. She explained to Janna’s class this morning how horrified the kids were that we never talk about this and that so much of our focus in indigenous history is only about things that happened millions of years ago.

Signs of Your Identity

A photo from Daniella’s 2016 book. Source: Daniella Zalcman,

Her current project, “Signs of Your Identity,” which is supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and in which Daniella explores the legacy of the Canadian Indian residential school system, helps her expose unexplored narratives. In this project, she puts together multiple exposure portraits to depict survivors still fighting to overcome their haunting residential school experiences. She published these portraits alongside the survivor’s direct interview excerpts in a book last year. Called “Signs of Your Identity,” it won the 2016 FotoEvidence Book Award. An annual award presented to photographers whose work demonstrates courage and commitment in documenting social injustice.

Daniella firmly asserts that the United States as a country cannot move on until its citizens acknowledge that the country is built on stolen land.

In regards to how to properly treat sources who have gone through arduous trauma and on how to properly report on them, Daniella urged the class to remember that protecting their sources is always the most important thing. She does so by being completely honest and transparent to her sources about her process and the impact that her work will have. Additionally, she told the class that she always makes sure to include the backstory and history of her photos to the audience. In doing so, she creates a fuller narrative that does justice to both her readers and her sources.

To see more of her work, to go:

“Together We Will Set the Next Horizon for Elon’s Destiny” promises Connie Book, president-elect of Elon University

By Ana Gabriela García

This morning, Elon students, faculty, staff and extended community woke up with the news that the search for the next president-elect had officially ended.

Before being named president-elect of Elon University, Connie Book distinguished herself on campus by leading the creation of the Student Professional Development, the Global Community. She also served as a presidential faculty fellow for strategic planning, which focused on the development of the Elon Commitment strategic plan and the department chair and associate dean of Elon’s School of Communication. Prior to being associate dean, she taught as a faculty member.

Fred Young, Elon’s seventh president, said before the event that he’s really excited about the new president.

“She brings exactly what we need at this school. I am excited to admire her work as I did president Lambert’s.” Young said, “It’s been a joy to watch him and admire his skill. A joy to see Elon progress and make a reality of dreams that were items on a wish list when I was here. I hope this is only the beginning.”

 “I am excited to admire her work as I did president Lambert’s. It’s been a joy to watch him and admire his skill. A joy to see Elon progress and make a reality of dreams that were items on a wish list when I was here. ”

– Fred Young

Connie broke the mold as being the first female Provost in the Citadel’s 175-year history, and as Elon’s first female president. The announcement of Connie’s induction was made this morning at 8 a.m. Despite the last minute announcement, the event had a large turn-out as senior staff and leaders in the Elon community, both former and current came early to see her speak.

During her time at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, she served as the Provost and Dean of the College, the school’s second-ranking official and was a tenured professor in the department of English.

Connie’s selection was unanimous, on both the part of the search committee and on part of the Board of Directors. Laurie Lambert, the wife of Leo Lambert, Elon’s current president, said that she’s really excited for the Elon community. “I think Connie is a great choice.”

“I think Connie is a great choice,” Lambert said.


From left to right, current president Leo Lambert, president-elect Connie Book and former president Fred Young.

Vanessa Bravo, assistant professor of communications, was especially excited to see that Connie had been selected because she will be Elon’s first female president.

According to a 2011 report by the American Council on Education, only a quarter of college presidents are female.

“She has the academic background, is a great human being and knows Elon,” Bravo said. “I’m delighted that she’s going to be the new president.”

The Chair of Elon University’s Board of Trustees, Kerrii Anderson, said she believed the search committe met the expectations of the Elon community. These were  to look for an academic leader who is student-centered, has integrity, holds a global vision, will bring new resources and create a truly global community at Elon.

On her return to Elon, Book said,

“This is an exciting time for me and my family. I had a strong sense of coming home.”

Her sixteen years living and working at Elon are fondly remembered by her and her family. That was evident as she recounted anecdotes on how Elon had helped mold her children’s childhood and their interests. For instance, her daughter, Bella Book, attended her first lecture on feminism when she was 13 years old, something which she said  influenced her daughter’s studies and future life.

Near the end of her speech, Book addressed the entire Elon community, promising that,

“Together we will set the next horizon for Elon’s destiny.”

Leo Lambert said he has faith in Book, and presented her with a carved acorn.

“I give you this with our confidence that you have everything within you to be Elon’s might oak.”

“I give you this with our confidence that you have everything within you to be Elon’s might oak.”