Thursday, February 24, 2011

Photojournalism: Two skills, one class

   It's seven weeks into the semester and the students finally have their first shooting assignment. The timing couldn't be better. They are instructed to document the weather, so this weekend should give them lots of photo opportunities. Toledo is supposed to get up to nine inches of snow.
   This shooting assignment will challenge the students in many ways. First, they are tasked to approach strangers dealing with weather, like shoveling or sledding, document the activity and collect caption information. That's the journalism part. The photography part is knowing how to take photos in the snow. Knowing how to properly meter a white scene is key to accomplishing this assignment successfully.
   That's the complexity of this class: photography (math) + journalism (writing) = photojournalism. These are two distinct skills that are learned in one class. The wonderful writing in their blogs prove they are ready to use their cameras. Like one student blogged in her most recent post, "I am a photographer...I did not sign up for grammar."
   Yes, you did, Kathy, and you're doing a wonderful job.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

More on Ethics

   I want to thank Madalyn Ruggiero for being our guest speaker yesterday.
   Madalyn is a local freelance photojournalist who has been published in the Detroit News, the Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, and the Toledo Blade (where she interned). She also is an Associated Press stringer. We looked at her website and her Denali the Dog blog. Both had wonderful examples of her work. It's important students see that news photographers can also have personal projects that keep them inspired.
   When asked what keeps her working in a weak economy, she said tenacity and persistence. The students need to hear that it's possible to be a freelancer these days, as long as they are marketing savvy, and ethically fit.
   Speaking of ethics, she did talk about her experience as "the legs." The students should know the harsh consequences of unethical behavior. Read about this story by going to this link.
   This week we started talking about ethics and law. Next week: caption writing.

Discussion board Comment of the Week

   Every week the students are required to post a comment on the Discussion Board in their class Blackboard. This adds to their communication skills in writing and sharing information. Every week I will pull a comment to share on their class blog.
   The question every week relates to their weekly lesson. This is a comment on blogging from Holly Omlor.
   "I think to a certain extent this class will be good for me. I have always been under the impression that bloggers were people who sat at home with nothing else better to do than talk about stuff that most people could care less about!
   "I know, it sounds kind of harsh, but that is how little I knew about blogs! Most blogs I was familiar with were ones people put out there to whine about things they didn't like, or business owners who bragged about how awesome they were.
   "From doing a little searching of other blogs, I am starting to see how a blog can be much more than that. It can give a cause a voice. It can bring attention to injustice. It can inform people about what is going on when they didn't know anything was going on."                                      

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blog URLs

   The students have finally created their blogs. They would be happy to have followers! Included in their blogs are essays on what they are learning about the news business, photos (soon to come), and a blog roll of their favorite photojournalism blogs.