School of Communications to host Pulitzer-winning photojournalist for May 1 lecture

Marcus Yam, a Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent and photojournalist, will present an on-campus lecture in Turner Theatre sponsored by the National Press Photographer Foundation.

A digital graphic promoting Marcus Yam's on-campus visit at Elon University.As Randy Piland, the School of Communications’ resident photojournalist, scrolled through Marcus Yam’s Instagram account, the senior lecturer in communication design marveled at one breathtaking image after the next. Yam’s posts during the past month delve deeply into the war in Gaza, offering an unabridged look into the tragic and polarizing conflict.

Marcus Yam smiles in headshot.
Marcus Yam, a Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent and photojournalist, has an interesting career path. Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he left a career in aerospace engineering to pursue photojournalism.

“What is most impressive about Yam’s photography is his ability to get into the thick of conflicts and issues, where he is up close to the action,” Piland said. “Yet, he is also very sensitive, caring and empathic about the people that he photographs and the work that he does. He definitely has a caring spirit about the people he tries to document. And impressively, he seems to be everywhere. Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Mexico. Really everywhere.”

The School of Communications will host the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist for a Wednesday, April 1, lecture titled, “From conflict, to mass shootings, to environmental stories: How to engage folks with an open heart and sensitivity.” The event, which begins at 4 p.m., will be held in Turner Theatre. A short reception will follow in Snow Family Grand Atrium.

During his lecture, Yam will discuss his role as a Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent and photojournalist, which includes recent coverage of the war in Gaza. But as Piland mentioned, Yam seems always present at world news events. In 2022, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for images documenting the U.S. departure from Afghanistan. In 2023, he was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his stirring photographs of the war in Ukraine. Additionally, he is also two-time recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, notably in 2019, for his unflinching work showing the everyday plight of Palestinians during deadly clashes in Gaza.

Marcus Yam photo
This photo is lead image in a photo gallery titled “West Bank Unsettling” on Marcus Yam’s website,

Sponsored by the National Press Photographer Foundation (NPPF), Yam’s visit is part of the foundation’s Morris Berman Lecture Series, which brings talented visual journalists to college and university journalism programs across the country. Piland serves an NPPF board member.

In addition to the lecture, Yam will conduct several classroom visits and speak with students while on campus.

“We are excited for this great opportunity to bring a high-level photojournalist to campus and share his experiences with students,” Piland said. “And Yam’s asking for any opportunities to meet with students. He wants to look at their portfolios and offer feedback, which will certainly benefit them.”

The NPPF’s Morris Berman Lecture Series is named for the late Morris Berman, a former National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) president, one of the association’s founders and a long-time member.

For more information about Marcus Yam, visit his website, For details regarding Yam’s visit to campus, contact Piland at