RAMAPO COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY
School of Contemporary Arts
COMM 329-01: Photojournalism
Thomas Franklin, Adjunct Prof.
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)
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 first learn how real photojournalists work,
and they will be expected to work in a similar fashion. They will be given
selected weekly assignments in which they must produce good story telling
images. They will learn how to develop a story idea, cover events, and produce
images like a professional.
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
developed negatives or digital images.
They will learn how to edit their own photographs and how to
scan and prepare selected images in Adobe Photoshop.
The emphasis of this course will be on picture taking not
-This is NOT a darkroom class or a basic photography class.
-All film and print developing will be done outside of
-It is suggested that each student have some basic
(a basic understanding of exposure and camera operation is
-Suggested pre-requisites include Basic Photography, either
at college or high school level, and either Fundamentals of Mass Communications
or Writing for the Media.
After this course, students will meet the following goals:
1. To better understand how to tell stories with pictures
2. To learn basic camera technique
3. Learn about the history of photojournalism and the impact
photographs have on society
4. Digital photo imaging methods and evaluation of pictorial
5. How photographs are used in today’s modern digital world
6. Learn Adobe PhotoShop Basics
7. Legal and ethical rights and responsibilities of a
8. Writing captions and text to accompany photographs.
9. Develop a portfolio of quality photojournalistic work
10. To better understand how photographs visually
ELECTRONIC FORMS OF COMMUNICATION
“In accordance with College policy, I will use the Ramapo
College email address email@example.com
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
This course is conducted almost entirely in a digital
format. Students will use the SLICE server as the means of accessing course materials
and assignments during the semester. This can be accessed by logging onto:
afp://slice.ramapo.edu with a Ramapo email account username and password. All
assigned material will be submitted to the designated DROP FOLDER, on the
server. Each student will have 1GB of free hard drive space on SLICE, where
digital images and other course materials can be stored in their personal
folders on slice. There will be two important class folders for this course on
CLASS FOLDER is where all WORD documents can be found,
containing; assignments, instructional documents, reading material, etc. Only
the instructor and the students in this course will be able access this folder
and its contents.
DROP FOLDER is where students drop submitted assignment
Only the instructor has access to this folder. Once a file
is placed into the DROP FOLDER, students will no longer have access to it. So
when submitting folders 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.
POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS (PPP’S)
Each lesson will be conducted using a Power Point
Presentation. These PPP’s are accessible in the CLASS FOLDER and should be
reviewed with regularity through the semester.
All assignments will be given via WORD documents found in
the FRANKLIN CLASS folder on the SLICE SERVER. This is an eco-friendly course;
There will be little use of printed material during the semester, meaning; NO
WASTEFUL USE OF COPIER PAPER.
This course is conducted in a Apple (MAC) computer lab. All
students are required to be familiar with MAC computers and the OS X operating
system. If you have never used a MAC, or OS X, get to know how to use the MAC
by consult one of the MAC lab tech’s on staff in the MAC lounge, or TOM DOYLE
If you need help with the computers in the lab, the Academic
Help Desk is here. (mac or PC). Ask for one-on-one training if needed.
You can contact us at extension 6600 or at
The Macintosh Help Desk is also here. You can contact us at
extension 7355 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT'S & READING MATERIALS
Specific reading assignments will be given each week, from
one or more of the following text required books.
National Geographic Ultimate Field Guide to Photography
by National Geographic
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:
The Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism
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.
Visual Journalism. A Guide for New Media Professionals
Christopher R. Harris and Paul Martin Lester
Provides 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.
Most readings will be available through the web; others may
be added depending on interest and direction of class.
Photojournalism: The Professional’s Approach Fourth Edition
Ken Kobre and Betsy Brill. Focal Press/Elsevier.
Photoshop. Visual Quick Start Guide.
Web Sites & Blogs
The following sites show current examples of photojournalism
& multimedia on the web.
All students must have their own working 35mm SLR camera or
digital camera, and it must be brought to class each week unless instructor
indicates otherwise. A camera can be borrowed or shared for the semester, but
be prepared to use it every week.
CAMERA MUST HAVE MANUAL EXPOSURE CONTROL SETTINGS.
-SLR camera or a high-end digital camera are recommended.
-Camera must have a flash (external flash is preferred)
FILM / MEDIA
IF SHOOTING FILM:
- color OR B/W negative film, as needed (20-25 rolls est.)
-basic darkroom supplies, as needed; developing materials
reels, paper, etc)
-negative preservers (example: Print File Archival
Preservers style #:35-7B)
-loupe, a film-editing magnifier
IF SHOOTING DIGITAL:
-media card(s) (compact flash, mini-compact flash, smart
CD’s & DVD’S –as needed for backup.
1. Attendance and Participation (10% of course grade)
Class attendance is required and will be noted each week. No
more than two absences will be allowed. On the third absence, students must
withdraw from the course or receive a failing grade at the instructor’s
discretion. Do not be late, as classes will start promptly. If you miss a
class, it is your responsibility to obtain assignments, notes, handouts, etc.,
from other students. Attendance on test days is mandatory.
-NOTE: -Two late arrivals or early departures will equal one
-Perfect attendance will be awarded with extra credit!
-Students should check email frequently to check for any
*EXTRA CREDIT FOR PERFECT ATTENDANCE! ********
The course will be a lively one, with lots of great photos
to look at each week and talk about. This requires that everyone contribute and
express their opinions. A critique will take place each week, all students work
will be displayed and discussed. All students are expected to comment and offer
opinions. All differing opinions and thoughts are encouraged and expected. This
is how real newsrooms and edit boards are conducted.
**NO CELL PHONE USE, TEXTING, FACEBOOK, etc. duing class
2. Weekly Assignments (25% of course grade):
Students will be given an assignment to photograph every
Be prepared to make photographs every week, some assignments
may require shooting more than once per week. Students are required to come to
class with fully developed images, as specified with each assignment. DO NOT
wait until 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.
THERE WILL BE NO PRINTS INVOLVED IN THIS CLASS, just digital
If using film, students will be required to scan images,
either prints or negatives, and create digital files. This will be discussed
and demonstrated at length in class
-Deadlines must be met and assignments must be completed,
just like the working world of a photojournalist. If you miss a class you are
still responsible for completing the assignment on time. Otherwise submit it
when completed and it will be graded, but with penalty.
-All photographs submitted for this course MUST have been
made during the assigned week, meaning: do not submit previously taken photographs.
This is unacceptable and student will be severely penalized. This is not the
purpose of the course.
-All photographs must be made by the student during the
assigned period of time.
-Each assignment is worth 10pts. (ex. 9/10)
-1 point. Is subtracted for each week it is late.
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 at the 3/4 point of the
semester. It will include; all material covered in class, the Power Point
Presentations, the required reading, and assignments. Make-up exams only with a
doctor’s note or other documentation of emergency. Attendance on test days is
4. Paper (15% of course grade):
Each student will be required to a Paper. SUBJECT TBA.
5. Final Project (25% of course grade):
All students will be required to complete a 4-5 week long
Photo Essay/Soundslide of their choosing. A Final Project is given instead of a
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 well thought-out and supported, but mostly it must be an
interesting and sound subject. A backup story idea must be developed as well.
Once a subject is approved, students must work on their
story incrementally, bringing to class each week a new set of images. Once a
body of work is achieved, a set of images will be selected with the instructor.
Audio will be recorded or selected, and a Soundslide will be created. The
material covered during the semester will be applied and used in completing
this project. The final project
ATTENDANCE& PARTICIPATION = 10 POINTS
-points will be subtracted if student does not participate
in class by offering constructive comments and opinions.
****EXTRA CREDIT FOR PERFECT ATTENDANCE! *****
-only two absences allowed, without permission from
-DETERMINATION: grade will be based on participation
determined by instructor. (1-10)
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS = 25 POINTS
(10 points for each assignment)
-there will 10 assignments, each worth 10 points
-each assignment will be graded on scale of 1-10 max
-DETERMINATION: total points X 25% = grade
(ex: 95pts X 25% = 24 total points)
EXAM = 25 POINTS
-exam will be graded on a scale of 1-100 max
-DETERMINATION: total points X 25% = grade
(ex: 90pts X 25% = 23 total points)
PAPER & PRESENTATION = 15 POINTS
-will be graded on scale of 1-15 max
-DETERMINATION: grade will be based on how well requirements
FINAL PROJECT = 25 POINTS
(25 points for how well photo essay/soundslide is completed)
DETERMINATION: grade will be based on how well project is
All points earned will be compiled at conclusion of
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
* 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
* 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. You
will receive comments, direction, and support as you work on strengthening your
writing skills. Each photo assignment will receive written comments in the FILE
INFO field of the digital image, this is in addition to a weekly critique of
each assignment. Your photographs will be evaluated and returned in a timely
fashion, allowing you to incorporate my comments into your future work. For
help outside the classroom, please see me before class, as I am at my desk 90
minutes before each session. Or a private session can be scheduled at another
Criteria for Evaluation of Photographs
-Ability to demonstrate a clear understanding of the
assignment subject matter and its specific criteria.
-Ability to use and understand theoretical material
discussed in class and outside sources, to illustrate and execute each
-Relevance, appropriateness and clarity of photographs.
-Ability to demonstrate the topic to the field of
-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 class session,
and refrain from email, phone conversations, 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.
(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 email@example.com.