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Roommates: From Western to The White House

March 13 @ 6:15 pm - 9:15 pm CDT

Follow the life journey of two Western Kentucky University photojournalism students and see how they landed a career documenting the biggest election in a century

Western Kentucky University’s School of Media and Communication and The John B. Gaines Family Lecture Series present an exhibition of photographs and an evening presentation showcasing Jabin Botsford and Demetrius Freeman’s photographic journey From Western to the White House.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

6:15 p.m. Photo Exhibition, Jody Richards Hall Gallery, Western Kentucky University

7:00 p.m. Evening Presentation, Jody Richards Hall Auditorium, Western Kentucky University

NOTE: Parking is free after 4:30 in the Chestnut St. lot at the end of Regents Ave.

A little over a decade ago, Western Kentucky University students Jabin Botsford and Demetrius Freeman shared an apartment on Park Street. Their ambition to make a name for themselves in photojournalism was high as they worked their way through the strenuous rigors of academic life. After graduation, they each went their separate way, Botsford landing his first job at The Washington Post while Freeman cut his teeth as a freelance photojournalist and eventually a staff photographer for the New York City Mayor’s Office.

Botsford has documented the Trump Presidency since the beginning, capturing many of the iconic images that became highly discussed news revelations. For four years he reported daily to The White House providing some of the most comprehensive visual documentation of the Trump Presidency. In 2020, Freeman was brought on as a staff photojournalist for The Washington Post. Botsford was assigned to document President Donald Trump and Freeman was assigned to cover Senator Joe Biden’s campaign for President. Following the 2021 Biden inauguration, the two former roommates were back together again, this time on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Both photojournalists will discuss their journey from Western to The White House and photojournalism’s role in political news and its importance during an election year. Presidential campaigns are highly staged events, and they will talk about finding a split second of reality in such high-pressure situations.

A gallery exhibit of over 60 photographs, will showcase their work spanning their career, both in and out of the White House. The gallery will remain on display through April 19.


Our Guests

Jabin Botsford is a staff photographer at The Washington Post.

He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY with a degree in photojournalism and sociology.

Jabin began his career at the Washington Post March 2015 and was assigned to cover Donald J. Trump’s first presidential campaign that summer. Once President Trump took office, Jabin was stationed at The White House throughout his term covering the Presidency.

He was named 2019 and 2017 White House News Photographers Association Photographer of the Year.

Jabin has interned for the New York Times in both New York City and in their Washington DC bureau. He interned at The Los Angeles Times in Los Angeles California and for The Washington Post in Washington DC.

Jabin participated at the 2012 and 2013 Mountain Workshops. In October of 2013 he was a student at The Eddie Adams Workshop XXVI. He has been recognized by Pictures of the Year International, College Photographer of the Year, The William Randolph Hearst Photojournalism Award program, the Associated Collegiate Press, the National Press Photographers Association, the Kentucky News Photographers Association, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, and many others. His images and multimedia have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, AARP, and numerous other publications throughout the country.

As a student he placed first in the 2014 Hearst National Journalism Awards Championship photojournalism shootout as well as receiving awards for best photo and best portfolio. He has been named Student Photographer of the year two years in a row by the Kentucky News Photographer’s Association and named Sports Photographer of the Year two years in a row by College Photographer of the Year. Jabin has also been named Student Photographer of the year by the Ohio News Photographers Association, the White House News Photographers Association and The NPPA Southern Short Corse.

Jabin is currently based in Washington, DC.


Demetrius Freeman is a Staff Political Photojournalist at The Washington Post.

Demetrius holds a BA in photojournalism with a minor in political science from Western Kentucky University. He has studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and has completed an international master’s program at the Danish School of Media & Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark.

Demetrius began working at The Washington Post in August 2020, covering Joe Biden’s presidential campaign during that summer.  Once President Biden was elected, Demetrius started photographing more often from The White House.

He has worked as a photographer for the New York City Mayor’s office, under Mayor Bill de Blasio. He has also worked as a freelance visual journalism and creative director based in New York City before being hired fulltime by The Washington Post.

He has held internships at The Chautauquan Daily, The New York Times, and The Tampa Bay Times. He also worked as a photographer for the New York City Mayor’s Office.

Demetrius has participated in several workshops and seminars including The Mountain Workshop, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, The New York Times Portfolio Review, The New York Times Safety & Security Workshop, The Missouri Photo Workshop, and is an alumni of The Eddie Adams Workshop XXVII. Demetrius is a member of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and Diversify.Photo.

Contacts for lecture series and gallery exhibition

If you need more information about the lecture series or want to connect with one of the speakers, contact organizer Jonathan Adams jonathan.adams@wku.edu.

The photo exhibition will be on display March 13 – April 19, from 9-5 M-TH when WKU is open. For more information about the photo exhibit please contact Tim Broekema tim.broekema@wku.edu.

About the John B. Gaines Family Lecture Series

The John B. Gaines Family Lecture Series, launched in 2004 in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Gaines’ family-owned newspaper, the Daily Newshas brought several award-winning international journalists to WKU.  Previous lecture participants include the Indianapolis Star Pulitzer Prize-winning team that uncovered the USA Gymnastics sex abuse cases; The Cincinnati Enquirer Pulitzer Prize-winning team that documented the addiction crisis, journalism icon John Seigenthaler and his son, former NBC network news anchor John Seigenthaler Jr.; Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts of The Miami Herald; and Chicago Tribune photojournalist and official White House photographer Pete Souza.


March 13
6:15 pm - 9:15 pm CDT
Event Categories:


Tim Broekema
View Organizer Website


JRH Gallery / Atrium and Auditorium
1665 Normal Drive
Bowling Green, KY 42101 United States
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