Specialized Reporting: Photojournalism
CRN # 12015- JOUR 305 - 05
CRN # 15747- MCMS 502 - 01
Howard University, School of Communications,
Department of Journalism, Room 254, 2:10-3:30pm, T-Th
Lecturer: Craig Herndon, Ofc. Rm. 242 / phone: (cell) 410.703.8708
(Texting acceptable, though I may not respond immediately.)
Spring 2012- Three (3) Credit hours
Prerequisites- Advanced Reporting and Writing*, Jour 301* or Portfolio
Coaching and Counseling by appointment
Office Hours- http://profherndonscalendar.blogspot.com/
Class Starts-Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Syllabus for Specialized Reporting: Photojournalism:
This course will be a “Lecture and Lab” course. (Including shooting and digital processing of photographs)
1.) You will develop a facility in digital camera operation and nomenclature.
2.) You will begin to develop a vocabulary for visual critique, and an understanding of the process of critique. This will aid you in the visual discourse, in a number of areas of communications.
3.) You will develop a basic skill set in the use of Adobe Photoshop, which is ubiquitous in the field of digital Photojournalism.
4.) You will start to develop your “eye” which is much more than the physical eye, but includes design and composition issues.
5.) You’ll find the connections between what goes on in front of the camera and in the minds and hearts of the viewer.
6.) Our primary goal will be to produce a body of work (Project Portfolio) that exhibits the best qualities of photojournalism. We will be concerned with examining the human experience through our principle instrument, ourselves, using digital photography.
Open your eyes (senses) and feelings to the world around you. Examine every detail for the nuance that provides a link to a greater reality. Don’t allow yourself to be put-off by this request. If you are going to spend your life interpreting life for others, as a journalist or artist, you should be aware of yourself as a human being. Develop a keen talent for perception, internally and externally. Take the time to get to know yourself. By knowing yourself, you know the foundation of all of your observations.
Coaching and Counseling sessions:
By appointment. There will be a few days of lecture at the beginning of the semester. The rest of the semester, half that time will be spent in computer work and individual and group critique as required. You will develop a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop as it relates to the photojournalist’s work. You will be required to have a camera for assignments. It would be better for you to have your own camera. There may be cameras available through the School of Communication Tech Center. They are not great and you can’t keep them long. The Journalism Department Tech Center has been combined with the other SOC Tech Centers into one center for the school.
This is first and foremost a shooting course. You must have access to an adjustable digital camera, preferably of the ”single lens reflex” type. It would also help to have accessory equipment necessary to do professional quality work. The editorial aspect of photojournalism involves spending time with an editor (me in this case) and in class critiques examining and responding to the photographs you produce. Photojournalism is communication for publication, whether in print or in electronic media, therefore the language of visual communication is the currency of our transaction in this course. It is more important than the mastery of the operation of a camera.
Please keep in mind that you will be judged on your growth in this process. If there is no growth, no goal setting, no work, or a refusal to accept the responses of others to your work, you may well fail this course. You must be willing to examine the reactions of others to your photographs, otherwise you work in isolation and may remain an audience of one.
Howard University is committed to providing an educational environment that is accessible to all students. In accordance with this commitment, students in need of accommodations due to disability should contact Office of the Dean for Special Student Services at 202.238.2420, for verification and determination of reasonable accommodations a soon as possible after admission to the University, or at the beginning of each academic semester. The Dean of the Office for Special Student Services, Dr. Heath, may be reached at 202.238.2420.
“Plagiarism is a reprehensible offense. It is an act of dishonesty and undermines the credibility that is essential to all professional communicators. The Howard University H-Book for Academic Offenses (Section II.1.b) defines plagiarism as: "to take and pass off as one's own the ideas, and writings of another, without attribution (without acknowledging the author)."
Students in courses in the Department of Journalism are expected to do original analysis, reporting and writing. Students are expected to explicitly cite the sources of any information that is not derived from their own analysis, reporting and writing.
All instances of plagiarism are documented in a file in the Department of Journalism. The Department of Journalism will seek the immediate suspension of any student whose academic record includes previous punishment for plagiarism.
The first act of plagiarism, by a student with no prior record of plagiarism, will be punished by an F for the assignment. A second act of plagiarism will be punished by an F in the course and a recommendation for suspension from the university.”… (Phillip Dixon, Former Chair, Journalism)
Truth and Honesty
As a journalist you are expected to tell the truth as you see it. The public will trust you. Trust is the thing that binds one person to another and forms community. This is a basic tenet of journalism as in any relationship. So, whether you claim someone else’s work as yours, or create a story that is not real you violate that trust. The real world consequences of such action can be devastating to all involved.
Attendance is Required
Attendance is required. Tardiness is an insult and will not be taken lightly. In each class there will be information to master from lecture, critique, occasional quizzes, occasional visitors and guest lecturers. There is no other way to acquire this knowledge or experience. It is impolite of students to insist on having lessons repeated for their personal edification, unless there is a
Schedule of Class Subject Matter
(Note: The semester is only 15 weeks long. Procrastination, avoidance of work, and poor attendance will, seriously impact your grade.)
Week 1: Photojournalism- History of Photojournalism, Course Objectives, Basics of Lighting. The importance of a “Portfolio”.
Week 2: Ethics- NPPA Code of Ethics, case studies and hypotheticals, behavior and attitude toward the subjects, The Importance of captions, Intellectual Property Issues, Review of Course objectives.
Week 3: The Camera: Construction, The use of Controls, different types of cameras; The Basics of Photography.
Week 4: Strangers No More- Approaching strangers and finding your way into their lives, Diversity, sourcing, “The Minority Point of View”, Representation.
Week 5: Design- The Elements and Principles of Art, communicating with images. Adobe Photoshop- Digital Photography compared to traditional photography, tools and use of Photoshop.
(Note: From this point on one class per week will include lab time, i.e. working in Photoshop under supervision. Every class will include critique, feedback.)
Week 6: Lighting- How light reveals information in the subject image. Creating interest with light.
Week 7: Story Telling- How to tell a story with pictures, limits and the things that visuals do well; The Cinematic; finding inner meaning in the visible.
Week 8: The Portrait- A picture of a person? Character, personality, detail, cultural indicators.
Week 9: As the World Turns- Action Photos, sports, children, related camera controls. Documenting a process.
Week 10: Project Review- Where do you stand? Preliminary presentations, group critique.
Week 11: Present State of Photojournalism- Changes in style, ways of making a living, more on Intellectual Property.
Week 12: New Media and Photojournalism- Finding Mentors, models (not fashion), creating a venue (portfolio) on the web.
Week 13: Lab time to finish projects.
Week 14: Presentation of Final Projects, group critique.
Week 15: Presentation of Final Projects, group critique.
· Digital camera (preferably adjustable SLR type)
· Storage media ( flash cards, CD’s, external hard drives)
· Professional work from newspapers, magazines, websites
(Note : assignments will be revised as required. Please use these assignments as a basic guideline.)
1.) *Photo Critiques- Once a week beginning week three, each student will present a photo critique in writing. The completed assignment will be a printed copy of the photo, plus one page, double spaced critique, response. Supporting documentation may be included (reference to written material or comparison to other visuals.) Total of ten (10) written critiques are expected. (Five photos of others work and five presentations of your work.) The rest of the class will respond after your presentation. Participation in this process will affect your final grade. All students must agree to take part as part of their contract with the class.
2.) A Semester Project from each of you. The Project will include at least ten (10) photo “shoots” or assignments. They will generally be self-assigned but I will entertain the possibility of making assignments as required by events. There is the possibility of publication with the Howard University News Service and other campus and professional publications. This publication can contribute significantly to your grade, as professional quality is key to getting published. There will be a midterm review from which a portion of your grade will come. Your semester project will become or augment your photographic portfolio. There will be a final review with critique and feedback from the class.
(*All Late assignments will be dropped one grade level per week until an “F” is reached. Attendance and timeliness are key to success here.)
1.) 10 photo critiques- 30% of Final Grade, one per week starting week three. Starting week three (3) each of you will present a photo critique to the class, with discussion. The first five “crits” will be photos made by others. The next five crits will be photos you shoot for “assignments”.
2.) Mid term review of Project- 20% of Final Grade ( This will include (A) a contract and (B) at least 5 thorough, completed assignments or shoots of your subject matter. Completed lab work not required at this point)
3.) Final Project review- 50% of Final Grade (This will include a total of at least 10 shoots, edited, captioned, processed (Photoshopped), and presented as a digital file fit for projection at final critique.)
4.) Classroom participation and enthusiasm are worth a 10% premium.
(Note: Because you have different levels of photographic experience you will be graded on your growth and development, as the qualities reveal themselves in the satisfaction of your contract.)
To start I require:
1) An initial interview with each of you. I want to see a portfolio of your recent work, photographic, writing or graphic art. This should take place in the first few class sessions.
2) You will need a digital camera, learn it’s operation. Please locate the computers with ADOBE PHOTOSHOP and begin to familiarize yourself with the program, it will be an integral part of this class. (You will have to teach yourself how it works. Tutorials are available for free online.) The Macs in Room 254 and 244 SOC have Photoshop. We will be able to do our lab sessions there.
3) A contract, we will set the wording and we will come to an agreement about terms, conditions and definitions. The contract will include goals and objectives. It will be what we expect to achieve in the exercise of your assignments and final project.
4) Assignments based on your interests and project. We will find subjects that suit your needs and interests. (I will keep in mind the practicalities of your situation- material available, access to computers, other school work and how photography fits into your professional plans.) You will be expected to do your best.
5) Critiques are mandatory, all students must participate in “crits”. Critique is not negative criticism, but an opportunity to gain insight in the workings of your photographic creations in the minds of others. They help you develop as a communicator, whether you are on the giving or receiving end.
Critique is an act of service to your fellow students and an opportunity for us to accept the “gifts” of engagement with others. You will be required to agree to critique as a condition of completion of this course. Again, attendance is necessary for this engagement to take place.
I look forward to our time together and hope that I can have a positive impact on your growth and development.
Craig G. Herndon
* Override of prerequisites for those with prior photography experience, or Photography Majors and Minors from Fine Arts, following a satisfactory portfolio review by professor Herndon and approval of Dr. G. Everett and/or Prof. Ron Beverly of the Fine Arts Department of COAS.