Paul Lester, Ph.D. Memorial Contribution

Photograph by James W. Brown

Dr. Paul Martin Lester died November 12, 2023 after a long illness. He was a Professor of Instruction at the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication at UT Dallas and a Professor Emeritus at California State University, Fullerton.

After an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and employment as a photojournalist for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Lester received a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in mass communications.

He authored or edited several books including: Visual Ethics A Guide for Photographers, Journalists, and Media Makers Second Edition(2022) with Stephanie Martin and Martin Smith-Rodden, Visual Communication Images with Messages Tenth Edition (2022), Digital Innovations for Mass Communications: Engaging the User (2014), Visual Communication on the Web with xtine burrough (2013), On Floods and Photo Ops: How Herbert Hoover and George W. Bush Exploited Catastrophes (2010), Visual Journalism: A Guide for New Media Professionals with Chris Harris (2002), Desktop Computing Workbook A Guide for Using 15 Programs in Macintosh and Windows Formats (1996) and Photojournalism An Ethical Approach (1991).

From 2011 until 2014 Lester was the editor of the AEJMC publication Journalism & Communication Monographs published by Sage. From 2006 until 2011 he was editor of the Visual Communication Quarterly, a publication of the Visual Communication Division of the AEJMC published by Taylor & Francis.

In 2021 his film, The Calendar, was awarded in monthly competitions Best Documentary Feature Film by the Rome Movie Awards, Best Editing by the Cannes World Film Festival, and the Award of Prestige for Best Editing from the San Diego Movie Awards. It was awarded an official selection or finalist for the Marina del Rey Film Festival, the Las Vegas Movie Awards, the London International Monthly Film Festival, the LA Indies, and the Chicago Indie Film Awards, and the Dallas Movie Awards Festival.

For several years, he co-wrote a monthly column, “Ethics Matters” for News Photographer magazine for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). In 2022 he received the John Long Ethics Award for “an individual who has, through his or her efforts, upheld, shaped, and promoted ethical behavior in all forms of visual journalism.” In 2015 he was honored by the NPPA with the Kenneth P. McLaughlin Award of Merit for “rendering continuing outstanding service in the interests of news photography.”

Lester has given speeches, presentations, and workshops throughout the United States and in Australia, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey. His research interests include mass media ethics, emerging media technologies, immersive storytelling, and visual communications.

His contributions to photojournalism education will stand the test of time and will continue to educate students in the future. He made a particularly strong contribution to the discussion of photojournalism ethics.


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The following people have made contributions to the National Press Photographers Foundation in memory of Dr. Paul Lester.


Lauren Applebaum
Lori Bergen Organization: University of Colorado Boulder
Paul Blankenmeister Organization: Retired
Mary Bock Organization: The University of Texas at Austin
James Brown Organization: Indiana University (Emeritus)
Viola Burrough
Nikki Chauhan
Anthea Danby Organization: The Ladies of SpringPark Sets in The Suburbs
MTEI Faculty Organization: Mandel Teacher Educator Institute
Anthony R. Fellow
John Freeman Organization: University of Florida
Elizabeth Gallagher
Bette Kauffman
Natalie Lavery Organization: Lavery Family
Shelley Lawrence Organization: Schoolhouse Collaborative, Inc.
Ann Lester Walker
John Long Organization: NPPA Ethics Chair Emeritus
Lawrence Mullen Organization: UNLV
Michael Murphy Organization: Los Madrones
Michael Murphy Organization: Los Madrones
Kimberly Paul Selber
Waleed Rashidi Organization: California State University, Fullerton
Moises Saman Organization: Magnum Photos
Marilyn Starrett Organization: Retired
Susan Techman
Marilyn Waligore Organization: University of Texas at Dallas
Laura Novak Winer