Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Welcome back visual storyteller and photojournalism students!

   Welcome back!
   I'm looking forward to this semester for several reasons:
   Owens Community College
   The Introduction to Photojournalism course at Owens has been changed. It is now Visual Storytelling. This means less emphasis on journalism, and more on multimedia.
   The name change puts this course more in line with the Commercial Photography and Commercial Art Technology degrees. It also takes away the scary 'journalism' part, considering the students aren't journalism majors. No, there is no journalism major at Owens. This class is as close as it gets.
   Because it's the first semester for this new course, I'll be experimenting with assignment ideas.  The first major tweak is eliminating the sports assignment, and adding podcasting. Don't let the 'visual' part of the course title fool you; storytelling comes in all platforms, even the use of audio.
   The textbook has also changed. We'll be using Multimedia Journalism, by Andy Bull. This book helps "build proficiency and professional standards in multimedia journalism." It features lessons on social media, Wordpress, smartphone apps and building a personal brand.
  Another tweak is to change from Blogger to Wordpress. Wordpress blogs are more universally accepted in the journalism world, and I forced myself to learn and use it this summer. As my own test subject, I developed Visuals & Voices of Toledo, and am quite satisfied with the results. You, as Toledo-area students, will also be submitting your work, particularly your podcasts, to that platform, too.
   I strongly believe that learning is doing, so you will have ample opportunity to learn as you create real and published visual and audio stories.
   We, as a class, will also be meeting once a week in the Owens Outlook student newspaper office. That means one class period will be in the classroom, and the other class period will be in the newspaper office located in the SHAC. I'm hoping this will help get you into the spirit of the newspaper, considering you all will be staff members.
   And the best news of all - all six students have been invited to join me at the College Media Association Fall Convention in Atlanta the end of October. As the Outlook adviser, I will bring back with fresh ideas to keep this student newspaper running for as long as I am with Owens.
   So, students, bear with me as we go forth into the exciting unknown.
Wayne State University
   There are no dramatic changes in this course. 
   However, after reading the instructor evaluations, there will be more group sessions, particularly while going through the photo selection and editing process. In fact, I've added an assignment specifically geared for that process.
   As with the Owens course, you will also change from Blogger to Wordpress. This will go well with the website class many of you have taken, or will take, here at Wayne State.
   For inspiration and to get you into the spirit of storytelling, please view this PBS special on photojournalist and war photographer Lynsey Addario: