Saturday, March 26, 2011

Slices of life

   I was once told that the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is effort.
   It takes effort to learn the controls on a camera. It takes effort to take photos of total strangers. It takes effort to tell stories for the sake of journalism. So I applaud the effort put out by my PHO 245 students.
  I've chosen a few of their photos to share. The captions are attached to these copyrighted photos, which are posted on their blogs.
Feature photo by Holly Omlor

Sports photo by Dennis Oehler
Sports photo by Teri Birtwhistle

Photo by Katherine Cedoz
Weather photo by Kathie VanNess

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Foundations of scholastic journalism

Scholastic Journalism Foundations = poster material
Thanks to John Bowen, my Social Media class instructor, for posting this on the JEA's Scholastic Press Rights Commission blog. Great resource material for every journalism educator and student!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Social responsibility at work

   I think the weather photo assignment was a good wakeup call to the students about how hard it is to document real people in real situations. A common question in class yesterday: Do our photos have to have people in them?
   Well, yes and no.
   This week's assignment required them to turn in two photos related to weather. One had to be a scene setter, or a wide shot. The other needed to be tight, to show detail. As in all photography, the subject matter depends on the subject.
Photo by Holly Omlor
   Holly documented a new sledding hill at an area metropark. All of her photos captured happy people playing in the snow, so they were all willing to supply their names for caption information. On the other hand, Teri shot an electrical outlet box in a building with rain water  "gushing" over it. Is that a major safety issue? If so, I doubt the janitor would dare pose by it for obvious reasons. Teri thought this was a powerful photo that she was compelled to take, but was reluctant to turn it in because the photos should have included people.
Photo by Teri Birtwhistle
   I approved this photo because journalism is a social responsibility, after all. If she was working for a community newspaper, that photo would make a powerful statement about the dangerous mix of water and electricity. Who is responsible for the upkeep of that building?  What if the electrical box caught fire and caused the deaths of residents (if it's an apartment complex), or students (if it's inside a campus building)? This is a wonderful example of witnessing a problem and bringing it to light.
    This is social responsibility at work. Journalism's first loyalty is to its citizens, according The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel. This photo could help save lives. But first we must verify that the electrical box is a fire hazard. If it's waterproof, then it would be sloppy journalism to assume danger when one doesn't exist. So the caption information she collects on this photo will be paramount to the success of this particular static photo.
    That photo makes for a great teaching moment.
    If you're wondering why these photos aren't posted here, it's because they aren't due for publication on their blogs until March 14. I will add them to this blog that week.