COMM 329-01: Photojournalism
Thomas Franklin, Adjunct Prof.
RAMAPO COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY
School of Contemporary Arts
COMM 329-01: Photojournalism
Class Mtg: RM H-123 MONDAY 6:00PM – 9:15PM
College Web address: http://www.ramapo.edu
Contemporary Arts: Berrie Center 237
College Closings Phone No.: (201) 236-2902 CA Phone: (201) 684-7368
In this course, students will be introduced to the contemporary practices of photojournalism, and explore the aesthetic, technical, cultural, and historical forces that have shaped its evolution as a form of visual communication. Students will learn how modern photojournalists work in today’s fast-paced digital world, and they will be expected to work in a similar fashion.
Students will first learn how to handle and operate a digital camera, using manual exposure modes in order to control motion, depth-of-field, and focus. They will learn various compositional and lighting techniques, and they will study many examples by master photographers and accomplished photojournalists. At the on-set, students will be given assignments in all these areas until basic camera proficiency is attained.
Students will then be given weekly photojournalistic assignments in which they must produce good story-telling images. They will learn how to develop a story idea, cover events, be creative, photograph people, and solve photographic problems -while producing images like a professional photojournalist. This course will be conducted in a manner similar to the real working world of professional photojournalism.
Students will be responsible for taking pictures with their own cameras and producing their own digital images. They will learn how to edit their pictures and prepare selected images using Adobe Photoshop. They will also learn how to analyze photographs, compare and contrast images against others, and discuss critically the visual qualities of pictures.
The emphasis of this course will be on picture taking not picture developing.
There are no required prerequisites for this course. However, it is recommended that each student have some basic photography experience, or a basic understanding of exposure and camera operation. Suggested prerequisites include:
- Basic Photography, at either at college or high school level
- Fundamentals of Mass Communications
- Writing for the Media
Upon completion of this course, students will meet the following goals:
- To better understand how to tell stories with pictures
- Gain better understanding of camera technique
- Learn the history of photojournalism and the impact photographs have on society
- Use digital photo imaging and evaluation of pictorial communication effects
- Study how photographs are used in today’s modern digital world
- Learn basic Adobe PhotoShop tools and techniques
- Discuss the legal and ethical rights and responsibilities of a photojournalist
- Write informational captions and text to accompany photographs
- Develop a strong portfolio of quality photojournalistic work
- To better understand how photographs communicate visually
- Learn how to create an audio slideshow and other multimedia
- Electronic Forms of Communication
“In accordance with College policy, I will use the Ramapo College email address firstname.lastname@example.org to communicate with you about all course-related matters.”
A valid email address is required for this course. Please make sure instructor has correct student email address, preferably a Ramapo.edu address.
2. Slice Server
This course will be conducted in a digital format. Students will use the SLICE server as the means of accessing course materials and assignments during the semester. It will also be used for submitting assignment work, papers, and other projects.
- SLICE can be accessed by logging onto: afp://slice.ramapo.edu with a Ramapo email account username and password.
- Access to SLICE server will be demonstrated and explained during first class meeting.
- SLICE can also be explained here: http://ramapophotoj.blogspot.com/2008/09/slice.html
Note that there are two sections of the SLICE server:
TFRANKLIN/Public (faculty): this is where all course material is located.
- IMPORTANT DOCS is where all documents can be found,containing; instructional documents, reading material, syllabus, etc.
- DROP folder is where students submit assignment photos. Once a file is placed into the DROP folder, students will no longer have access to it, only the instructor will have access to read this folder.
- Before submitting work to the DROP folder, students must make sure they have saved a copy for themselves in case there is a problem or if a file is missing.
- GRADED folder is where students can find graded course material.
- PPP'S folder is where students can access the PowerPoint Presentations which contain the weekly lessons.
- ASSIGNMENTS folder contains all student assignments.
- STUDENT’S NAME: Each student will have a secured 1 GB folder with their name. This is where digital images and other course materials may be stored.
3. Powerpoint Presentations (PPP’S)
Each lesson will be conducted using a Power Point Presentation. The PPP’s are accessible in the class folder and should be reviewed with regularity throughout the semester.
4. Blog http://ramapophotoj.com
This is the official blog for the course, created and maintained by the Professor Franklin for the purpose of communicating with students, via the internet so they can locate additional course material, commentary, and links related to the course lessons and discussions from anywhere they can access the internet.
This course is conducted in a Apple (MAC) computer lab, either C-111 or H-123.
All students are required to be proficient with MAC computers and the OS X operating system. If a student needs MAC assistance, they should contact the Academic Help Desk (Mac or PC) and ask for one-on-one training if needed.
The Helpdesk can be reached at extension 6600 or email@example.com.
The Macintosh Help Desk is at extension 7355 or: firstname.lastname@example.org
Texts & Materials
Specific reading assignments will be given each week from one of the following:
- National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Photography
-by National Geographic (Required Text)
An introduction to taking photographs, basic equipment (cameras, lenses, and other gear), film, light, composition, exposure metering, electronic flash, subjects for 35mm photography, special situations (underwater and aerial photography), and computer imaging. Aimed at photographers looking for practical advice from the pros.
Publisher: National Geographic Society ISBN: 978-0-7922-6209-1
2. The Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism -by Brian Horton (Required Text)
An insiders guide to the field of photojournalism, with many great examples, techniques, and insights. Includes interviews and writings from top photojournalists in the field.
3. Visual Journalism. A Guide for New Media Professionals -by Christopher R. Harris and Paul Martin Lester (Recommended Text)
Provides insight on the digital convergence in the growing visual communication field, with real-world experiences and visual illustrations. This book places special emphasis on new media and the modern applications for the new media professional.
- Photojournalism: The Professional’s Approach Fourth Edition / Focal Press/Elsevier. -by Ken Kobre and Betsy Brill (Recommended Text)
- Photoshop. Visual Quick Start Guide -by Peachpit Press. (Recommended Text)
All students will need a DSLR camera or another type of digital camera that allows for manual exposure control (F/stops and shutter speeds). It should be brought to class each week unless instructor indicates otherwise. The camera must have a flash (external flash is preferred) but an internal built-in flash will suffice.
- A camera can be borrowed or shared for the semester.
- Cameras may be borrowed from Ramapo College for 24-hr periods.
- Film cameras/35mm cameras may be used, but student will be responsible for all film developing and processing, including cost. However, enrollment in this course does grant students permission to use darkroom in Berrie Center, provided they are proficient.
Students shooting with digital cameras many need additional media cards, TBD.
Examples; Compact Flash, SD, HCSD, Smart Media, mini-Compact Flash, etc.
- If shooting film, student will need about 20-25 rolls (100, 400, 800 ISO) as well as basic darkroom supplies, developing materials, reels, paper, negative preservers, loupe, etc.
- Attendance, Participation and Conduct (10% of course grade)
- Attendance: Class attendance is required and will be noted each week. No more than two absences will be allowed. After the third absence, student may be asked to withdraw from the course or receive a failing grade at the instructor’s discretion.
- Do not be late, classes will start promptly.
- If a student misses a class, it’s their responsibility to obtain assignments, notes, handouts, etc., from other students.
- Attendance is mandatory on test day.
- Two late arrivals or early departures will equal one absence.
- Perfect attendance will be rewarded with extra credit at end of the semester!
- Participation: Verbal class participation is required. The course will be a lively one with plenty of discussion and lots of great photos to look at each week. A critique will take place each week, all students work will be displayed and discussed. All students are expected to comment and offer observations. All differing opinions and thoughts are encouraged and expected. This is how real newsrooms and edit boards are conducted.
- Conduct: Students are expected to act with respect towards their peers and the professor at all times. Any disruptive behavior will not be accepted.
- Cell phones, texting, and social media usage are not permitted in the classroom during class time. A zero-tolerance policy will be enforced, failure to comply will result in student being asked to leave, or withdraw from the course.
2. Weekly Assignments (25% of course grade)
Students will be given assignments to photograph each week, some assignments may require shooting more than once per week. Students are required to submit assigned work prior to the start of class, as specified with each assignment, as there will not be time granted at the start of class to submit assignment photos.
- All assignments will be submitted in the form of a digital file, placed into a drop folder on the SLICE server. This will be discussed and demonstrated at length in class. Prints will not be accepted in the class.
- Each assignment is worth 10pts. (ex. 9/10).
- Please note that deadlines are strictly enforced and all assignments are expected to be completed on-time, just like the working world of a photojournalist. Any assignments submitted late will be subject to penalty, there will be a minimum of one-point subtracted for each week an assignment is late.
- If you miss a class you are still responsible for submitting the assignment on time. Otherwise, expected to submit it when completed and it will be graded, but with penalty.
- It is strongly advised that students complete all assignments, even if submitted late, as the points for each assignment matter greatly in determining final grade.
- All photos must be made by the student, and made during the assigned period of time.
Do not submit previously taken photographs. This is unacceptable practice and the student will be severely penalized. This is not the purpose of the course.
NOTE: Photojournalists are given deadlines everyday. Making deadline is the most basic function of a working journalist; this will be heavily emphasized and noted.
3. Exam (25% of course grade)
There will be a written exam given at roughly the tenth week of the semester. It will include all material covered in class, the Power Point Presentations lessons, the required reading, and all shooting assignments. Attendance on test days is mandatory. No exceptions.
4. Paper (15% of course grade)
Each student will be required to write a 2,000 word paper and conduct a live interview with a working photojournalist of their choosing.
- Each student will be required to select and contact a working photojournalist, conduct a live in-person interview, accompany them on an assignment (if possible), and write a paper on the experience. The project will require research and preparation, the ability to contact and meet with the photojournalist, conduct the interview, and complete a well-written and cohesive paper of roughly 2,000 words, on what was learned.
5. Final Project (25% of course grade)
Student will be required to complete an in-depth photo essay and audio slideshow on a subject of their choosing. It will be a 4-5 week ‘Final Project,’ given instead of a Final Exam.
- Each student must select a story idea or subject, and then make a written proposal to the instructor, which will be evaluated and graded. The proposal must be planned and supported, but mostly it must be an interesting and worthwhile topic.
- Backup story ideas must be developed as well, as often times initial subjects fail.
- Once a subject is approved, students will work on their story incrementally, bringing new work to class each week for critique, for 4-5 week period.
- This is NOT a 1-2 week project or a single event. It should be a long-term project.
- Once a body of work is achieved, a set of images will be selected, with the instructor.
- The student will select and record audio to accompany the project.
- The student will then create a final audio slideshow using the program Soundslides.
- All the lessons and assignment work learned during the course of the semester should be applied in completing this project.
Grades will be determined by a points system based on credits earned. Points will then be compiled at the conclusion of semester to determine a final grade.
- It is always a good idea for students to keep track of points earned during the semester to keep abreast of grade status.
- All graded work can be found in the GRADED folder.
Weekly assignments = 25pts total
There will be 10 assignments given, each will be graded on scale of 1-10pts
Grades will be based on how well assignments are completed, and instructions followed.
DETERMINATION: total points x 25% = grade (ex: 95pts X 25% = 24 total points)
Exam = 25pts total
Exam will be graded on how many questions are answered correctly, 1-100pts
DETERMINATION: total points x 25% = grade (ex: 95pts X 25% = 24 total points)
Paper = 15pts total
Grade will be based on how well requirements are completed.
The paper will be graded on scale of 1-15pts. (ex: 12pts= 12 total points)
Final Project = 25pts total
Grade will be based on how well assignment is completed, and instructions followed.
The Final Project will be graded on scale of 1-25pts
DETERMINATION: total points X 25% = grade (ex: 90pts X 25% = 23 total points)
A = 100-93% A- = 92-90%
B+ = 89-87% B = 86-83%
B- = 82-80% C+ = 79-77%
C = 76-73% C- = 72-70%
D+ = 69-67% D = 66-63%
D- = 62-60% F = 59-0%
Overall Grading Scale:
* A range:
Student demonstrated superior analytical abilities in all her/his assignments. Student carefully read all relevant material and provided both a clear understanding of what s/he has read and provided insightful analyses and thoughtful critiques. Moreover, the topic under study was explored fully.
* B range
Student demonstrated an above average analytical ability. Student was able to provide a clear understanding of the material and some insights and critiques. The topic under study was explored fairly thoroughly.
* C range
Student could demonstrate average analytical ability. Student was unable to provide a clear understanding of the material and offered few insights and critiques. The topic under study was not explored fully.
* D range
Student completed assignments but could not provide any analytical ability. Student was unable to provide a clear understanding of the material and offered no insights and critiques. The topic was explored minimally.
* F range
Student did not complete assignments.
General Education Program Course
This course is designed to meet the requirements of the Gen Ed category for Topics in the Arts and Humanities.
Writing Intensive (WI) Course
Writing will be integrated into the life of this course. Students will receive comments, direction, and support to strengthen their writing skills. Each photo assignment will receive written comments in the FILE INFO field, in addition to a critique of each assignment. work. Photographs will be evaluated and returned in a timely fashion, allowing students to incorporate instructor’s comments into future work.
- For help outside the classroom, please see instructor before class, or send him an email to set up a private session at another time. Email: email@example.com
Criteria for Evaluation of Photographs
- Ability to demonstrate a clear understanding of the assignment subject matter and its specific criteria.
- Understanding theoretical material discussed in class and outside sources, to illustrate and execute each exercise.
- Relevance, appropriateness and clarity of photographs.
- Ability to demonstrate the topic to the field of photojournalism.
- Appropriate organization of images so that material is appropriately referenced, and submitted.
- Ability to write clearly, precisely and in grammatically appropriate English, in all captions and reports.
Cell phones and Computers
Kindly turnoff your cell phone ringers during the class session, and refrain from email, phone conversations, social media, and text usage during class. Please be considerate and respectful of others. If it is an emergency, please excuse yourself and take it out into the hallway. There will be a strict, zero-tolerance policy, failure to comply will result in student being asked to leave the room.
(CEC) course enrichment component
COMM 329-01: Photojournalism will include a minimum of five (5) hours of unmonitored appropriate experience outside the classroom. Students will meet this requirement by completing a shooting assignment each week.
Students with Disabilities
If you need course adaptation or accommodations because of a documented disability, please make an appointment before class.
- Please note: Students must be registered with the Office of Specialized Services (OSS) to receive accommodations. As you develop or revise your course syllabus, consider ways to make your course material accessible to students with disabilities. For additional information, contact the Office of Specialized Services (OSS) at x7514 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.