Photojournalist Experience by Sandi Jaya Saputra
In the early 2009 Oxfam GB assigned me for the second time to cover the life of Lamongan’s fishermen in Surabaya, East Java. From the resume that I’ve got, Oxfam GB was focusing in the climate change issue in 2009. They got the info about the Lamongan’s fishermen from one of the biggest media in Indonesia. The info was about the extreme climate happened to Lamongan’s fishermen. It was said that they suffered, they fish catches decreased and there’s also happened fishermen’s boat accidents as a result of the extreme weather.
Then from that issues and articles I began to do social cultural research about the Lamongan’s fishermen. I also got in touch with the local journalists for adding some additional info. My first day in Surabaya, I went straight to Lamongan with 1,5 hours travelling and approximately about 40-50 km distance. Arriving in Lamongan, I immediately contacted some sources to arrange a meeting the next day. The arrangements went well. We were scheduled to meet up the next morning in one of Lamongan’s fish market.
Before meeting the sources, I walked around the fish market to observe the situation and had a little talk with some local people to get another perspective about the climate change and Lamongan’s fishermen lives. I met the first source; he was the fishermen’s cooperative chief. And after that, I also met up with the second and the third sources. After meeting with those 3 sources, I still did not have the data that I needed. It ended up for me meeting the last sources, the ship owner whose boat caught an accident. From this last source, I finally got astonishing fact from my observation.
The first fact, they didn’t know that there’s a relation between climate change and the declined of their fish catches. They said that it was not the right time to sail, so it was natural for not having many catches at that time. The second fact, the fishermen boat accidents weren’t not because of the extreme weather, but because they were hit by coal barges. So what should I cover as the story angle? I then contacted the Oxfam GB coordinator and explained what was going on. They finally found the real fact. It was a big lie that was made by journalists and it could made the reader fell into the mistaken issues. I finally took some photo samples of the Lamongan’s fishermen lives as my responsibility, and used my time left to have my holiday there.