The Intro to Photojournalism class is small, as it usually is, but it will make a big difference in the Owens community this semester.
For the first time since I’ve been teaching this course, it’s been arranged that every student will be official staff photographers with the Owens Outlook online newspaper (it helps that I’m the new adviser).
During the first week of class each student chose a campus beat to cover for the semester. They introduced themselves to the deans/chairs by hand delivering a letter that explained the beat system.
Taking that big leap from concept to reality wasn’t an easy task for most of them. Here are some of the reasons why they aren't yet comfortable with their new roles as scholastic photojournalists:
· Invasion of privacy. One student admitted he felt “nosy.”
· Most don't like news. They don’t read, listen or watch it, and now they are the news.
· At this point in their young lives most everything they’ve done at Owens has been for homework. Now their work will be published, making it very public and very real.
To be fair to all involved, they will be trained before snapping a single photo. Lessons will include writing AP style captions, interviewing subjects, and how to be ethical and legally fit. This is the journalism part of photojournalism.
As staff photographers for the Outlook they won't be limited to their beats, either. In fact, TJ Barney has already shot his first assignment for the online college newspaper. Before he shot Fall Fest last week I gave him a crash course on caption writing. He admitted to writing down names of his subjects with "shaking hands," but he said it got easier.
So, if you see a bunch of students running around with cameras, press passes and shaky hands, just ignore them so they can do their jobs.