At the end of a half-hour interview, Dartmouth native Pete Souza told me what he wants people to know about his friend, Barack Obama, the man he photographed every day for eight years in the White House and around the world.
"This was a guy who always tried to do, I think, what was best for other people," Souza said of the 44th president, for whom he served as chief official photographer.
If a moment was worth capturing, Souza was likely present to capture it. He took only one sick day in two terms on the job. Sure, some days he wasn't feeling his best but he always showed up to work out of fear that he'd miss something important.
Here is a man who realized he had one of the coolest jobs in the world and he loved every second of it. Which is why it might surprise you that he said this:
"I don't miss it at all.
"I was ready to leave. Eight years is long enough. ... It just consumes your life. On Jan. 20 (2017), I was probably one of the happier people in the country even though the election didn't go the way we all wanted. There was a sense of relief."
You can hear Souza talk about his favorite photos, his relationship with Obama, his childhood in Dartmouth and a lot more in the latest episode of "Dartmouth Digest," a new podcast I host with my colleague and Standard-Times reporter Aimee Chiavaroli. I caught up with Souza recently at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, where he was promoting "Obama: An Intimate Portrait," a glossy, 352-page collection of the most memorable photos from the Obama presidency.
Our unedited conversation — sandwiched by some in-studio, behind-the-scenes details from me — is available for your listening pleasure below, via Facebook.com/TheDartmouthChronicle and on iTunes, among other sources. The same goes for all the episodes in our series, each of which (so far) runs about 30 minutes and is downloadable for zero dollars, everyone's favorite price.
Aimee and I, who work at opposite ends of the same newsroom, have been dropping by each other's desks to talk about what's making news in Dartmouth for a while, so the progression to doing that, only on microphones, was natural. We usually stick with one topic or guest per episode — we've covered places to eat, the town's age-friendly initiatives, Dartmouth High marching band with student Abigail Michaud — and try to inform while keeping the conversation casual.
We have big plans for the podcast and are just getting started, so we hope you'll not only tune in but feel free to contribute ideas, suggest guests (maybe yourself) and tell us what you think.
— Phil Devitt is editor of The Chronicle and managing editor of Hathaway Publishing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PhilDevittChron.