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Photojournalist is remembered as innovator, problem-solver

In this Oct. 4, 2011, photo provided by Andy Dunaway, Jim Dietz works on a computer at the Eddie Adams Workshop in Jeffersonville, N.Y. Dietz, 53, a former Associated Press technology manager and photo editor and major events engineer at Getty Images died Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019, in Atlanta. (Andy Dunaway via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — Jim Dietz, who helped photojournalists to document history on the world's biggest stages, died while on assignment to cover the Super Bowl in Atlanta. He was 53.

Dietz died Jan. 30 while coordinating Getty Images' photo coverage of Super Bowl 53. His death was confirmed by the company and his loved ones. The cause of death was not yet known.

Before joining Getty Images, Dietz spent about 20 years with The Associated Press, photographing events worldwide, editing pictures, developing new products and coordinating photo coverage of major events.

Dietz was a creative innovator and a master problem solver, his former colleagues said.

"He was just kind of a genius at solving complicated problems," said David Ake, The AP's director of photography. "He was very good at innovative ways to get pictures out of a camera in unusual places and get them out to the world."

Dietz always strove to get the best pictures out fast, said Mike Stewart, an AP regional photo editor based in Atlanta. If photographers encountered a technical challenge, it was Dietz who would find a way to overcome it, Stewart said.

"In a fast-paced news world, especially big events, he would pull a rabbit out of that hat," recalled Jim Gerberich, director of the AP's Internet platforms.

"He really didn't have 'no' in his vocabulary and if there was a problem to be solved, he'd try to figure it out," Gerberich added.

Though Dietz spent much of his career dealing with technology and coordinating photo coverage at major news and sporting events, he would also shoot pictures while there, Stewart said.

"He was in both worlds," Stewart said. "He knew strong photojournalism and obviously was a master at IT."

Dietz grew up mostly in Ottawa, Kansas, and studied journalism at Kansas State University, said his partner Diane Turner of New York City.

Dietz learned carpentry from his father, and later designed and built furniture and restored old Victorian homes in Kansas, she said.

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He joined the AP's photo department in New York in 1991, and later managed products and projects for the news cooperative. From 2004 to 2007, he was chief picture editor in Washington, D.C.

"Watching him work was fun because he just had a sense of glee in figuring things out," Ake said. "The bigger the challenge, the more impossible it seemed to be, the happier he seemed to be."

A memorial ceremony is planned for Feb. 16 in Ottawa, Kansas, Turner said.

He leaves behind two daughters, Annalise Dietz and Alayna Dietz. He is survived by his parents, Dylce and Louise Dietz.

In his personal life, he loved to fix anything he could for others, Turner said.

"Jim was incredibly generous," she said. "More than anything, he loved to make other people happy."

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