Thursday, September 20, 2012

Learning to be legally and ethically fit on Constitution Day


   PHO 245 students passed out these flyers on campus to celebrate Constitution Day.
   Week 5 is done, and it’s been a whirlwind of learning and doing.
   The students kicked off the week by celebrating Constitution Day. They spent their first 30 minutes of class Monday posting flyers in many of the buildings on campus. Constitution Day came at a good time, considering we were in the middle of learning about press law, ethics and the First Amendment.
   After they returned to the classroom we conducted the first weekly critique, which comprised of going over their edited blog essays on the projector, and viewing all of their individual blogs.
Students don’t necessarily like being critiqued in a group, but it helps them learn from each other’s good and bad practices. This is where mistakes tend to be nipped at the bud.
   They are certainly getting comfortable with tweeting and blogging. All of their blogs, which include cell phone photography pages in the tab bar, are up and running.  I encourage you to visit their blogs, and please let them know how they are doing. Feedback is an important learning tool.
   We finished the law, ethics and copyright lecture Wednesday morning. This is one of the most important lessons of the course. Being legally and ethically fit is what separates the amateur newsmaker from the pro. Everyone responsible for disseminating information in any way should be aware of their First Amendment rights, and have high legal and ethical standards. Photojournalists have a civic responsibility to record accurate, un-manipulated images. Ignorance is no excuse.
    I was thankful for the opportunity to show two informative online webinars on legal issues offered by the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).  The Fine Print: a Webinar series on Legal Issues for Photographers includes two tutorials on legal issues and copyright. The content generated a few questions and lots of answers. Thank you, NPPA!
   Finally, we wrapped up the week with a lesson on caption writing and the AP Stylebook. This is the journalist part of photojournalist. By this time, however, they’ve already written four essays, so writing brief captions shouldn’t be too intimidating. The 5Ws and the H formula makes data collecting pretty easy.
   Next week we begin the photo part of photojournalism.  

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