A newsworthy reporter “Gökşin Sipahioğlu”

A newsworthy reporter “Gökşin Sipahioğlu”

A journalist, deemed worthy of the medal ‘Art et Letters’ by the French Government in 1994 and awarded with the “Order of Merit” by the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey in 2000. A pleasant conversation with Gökşin Sipahioğlu, inventor of the early printing system, the founder of SİPA; the largest photo agency in the world, whose news takes place in the world press and one of the first photojournalists in Turkey, in the lobby of the hotel he stayed…

sipahioglu.goksin- foto2OA: How did transition to journalism happen while you loved sports much enough to set up a team?

G.S.: I set up Kadıköy Sports Club , a club not a team. I started journalism as a sports correspondent at İstanbul Express Newspaper as I played basketball. I continued sports after I became a journalist as well. When I was an editor, I used to play basketball. However, love of journalism overweighed of course. Anyway, you can’t constantly play basketball. I had to quit when I started travelling.

Early printing system was a reform.

O.A.: Everybody would like to make a difference. However, you have made a lot of differences such as Kadıköy Sports Club, SİPA Photo Agency and Early Printing System. Furthermore, you are one of the first war correspondents. Are the things lying behind being able to do all these ingenuity, not accepting ‘no’ and a strong resistance?

gs-foto1G.S.: SİPA photo agency was not a first, there were many other photo agencies, but ours was the biggest of all. I even made my first interview for another agency. However, Early Printing System was a reform in  Turkish press. Not many people know much about it. During my first years in journalism, newspapers would begin to rotate at 05:00 or 06.00 in the morning.

“News is the same news, nothing changes.”

During Vatan newspaper period, I said  “For god’s sake, the news is the same news. Nothing changes. The governmental agencies and ministries in Ankara close at 17.00 at 18.00. Let’s rotate the newspaper earlier then.” and we rotated the newspaper at 18.00. Thus, we arrived in Ankara one day earlier and in Anatolia two days earlier than the other newspapers. And this doubled even tripled our printing.

Speaking of being a war correspondent, the first great war correspondent in Turkey was Feridun Es and he and his wife were perfect journalists. It was the Korean War time, and I did my military service in Korea, so I first worked as a war correspondent there. To be a good journalist, it is important to love your job, to take risks, to have good relations and sources and to have luck of course…

gs-foto2aO.A.: If you had a chance to start your job at the same age but with today’s opportunities, would you change anything about your career or would anything change spontaneously?

G.S.: No, nothing would change about my career. I don’t think so because I loved journalism very much. I even published my own newspaper in Turkey, but I used to take photos at cocktail parties to earn money when first went to Paris. They would give me 250 Francs when I took cocktail photos. However, changes would happen from technical aspect, of course. In the past, we used to deal with lots of difficulties to make news or to send photos. We had to either find a passenger or send them by cargo. Once, we even had to hire a plane. Now you can do many things you want more easily.

A woman leaning against a tree, a soldier wearing his darling’s scarf and a belly dancer…

O.A.: Which is the photograph you love the most of the photos you have taken and the news the most important to you of the news you have made?

G.S.: Among my photos, I particularly love some such as the woman leaning against a tree, which I took ın China, a soldier wearing his darling’s scarf, which I took in Vietnam and a belly dancer in a tent. As an interview, Cuba interview is important to me because it made the headlines in many newspapers in America and a journalist’s making such important news to make the headlines in all newspapers is rare.