The Chuck Scott iPad App – by Christina Baird

Christina BairdChristina Baird is a freelance designer for web and print. She has a masters degree focused on interactive multimedia and a bachelors degree in photojournalism both from Ohio University. She loves to communicate with others, and saw photojournalism as a fantastic excuse to chat with strangers. Although she recently traded in her Nikon for a sketch book and some HTML she still loves the thrill of capturing a moment. In this guest post, Christina explains how she created an iPad app detailing the 55-year career of her grandfather, Chuck Scott, a veteran news photographer, photo editor, and co-founder of Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication. All proceeds from the app will go towards the Chuck Scott scholarship at Ohio University.

Ed Sullivan and Chuck Scott. Chuck appeared on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" TV program to receive a Look magazine photo award, March 21, 1954.

I have this clear memory of showing my grandfather my first published image. I entered his living room and walked towards his big leather chair holding my high school paper in my clammy hands and wishing this interaction to be over quickly.  When I showed him the image, he took a pen from his stuffed shirt pocket and began to mark all the flaws. When it was over, he gave me a signature Chuck phrase- “Ya done good kid and next time you’ll do better.” I had survived my first critique, which placed me in this elite group of photographers who had the privilege to be torn down and built back up by this legend. For the old man sitting in that leather chair wasn’t just my Grandpa he was an award winning photojournalist, renowned picture editor and co-creator of the nationally praised School of Visual Communication.


Chuck's favorite image. Chicago, Ill., smoke from the riots after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, April 5, 1968.

Since my first Chuck Scott critique, I’ve continued on a visual communication path.  My husband and I returned to Athens, Ohio for graduate degrees and Chuck insisted we move into his mother-in-law apartment. As we began to settle in Chuck slowly started sharing his stories with us, and they usually came out while we were in the garden. I had grown up hearing that my Grandpa was a legend but now I was hearing why he got that title. His stories run the gamut from terribly sad to hilarious. I joked with my family about creating the Chuck Scott Fan Club but graduate school swallowed my life and it wasn’t until I was madly searching for a masters topic that the idea reemerged.


Screengrab from the app.

My project looks at the 55-year career of Chuck Scott. To make that a reality I spent 13 weeks digging through a room that was filled to the brim with prints, negatives, letters, and newspapers. While I was locating his work, I also interviewed him. The project has both audio and video clips to paint a broader picture of his experience. My masters chair Julie Elman, who is a talented teacher and designer, looked at my sketches and quickly determined this was meant to be an app. I trusted her guidance and over the next 5 months, I worked to edit the content, design and implement the project.  To take my designs and make them into an app I used Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, a platform currently used by National Geographic, and Martha Stewart Living.

My grandfather has been so generous to me but what do you give an 87 year old who already has everything he wants? As a way of saying thank you for all his support, I’m donating the profits from the app to the Chuck Scott scholarship at Ohio University.


Screengrab from the app.

Using pictures from his own archive, recent audio and video interviews, this project traces the career path of Chuck Scott. Chuck worked as a news photographer for 16 years, winning more than 40 photography awards, including the 1952 grand prize in the National Press Photographer Association’s Picture of the Year competition. Chuck transitioned into editing with his next three newspaper jobs – at the Milwaukee Journal, Chicago Daily News, and Chicago Tribune. Among other accolades during his 20-year span as an editor, Chuck won NPPA’S picture Editor of the Year, Best Use of Pictures and the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial awards.

Chuck was looking for a soapbox to communicate with the next generation of photojournalists, and in 1978, Chuck, alongside his son-in-law Terry Eiler, co-founded the Institute (now school) of Visual Communication. The program was named a Center of Excellence by the Ohio Board of Regents and has been consistently ranked in the top three photojournalism programs in the country. Chuck worked as director of the school until his retirement in 1995.

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