Materials from Ethics lesson (2/15)

There was some great discussion in class Wednesday! We didn’t get to cover everything I wanted to, but that’s okay. Here are some follow-up materials for review and to help cover what we didn’t get to  …

If you ever want to reference the topics covered in John Long’s video, here’s a link to the special report posted on the NPPA website:

NPPA SPECIAL REPORT: ETHICS IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

You need to become familiar with the issues and how the discussion is being framed in the news industry. Plus, expect to answer questions from this material on your midterm and final exams.

STUDY MATERIALS

Here is a briefer, bullet-pointed synopsis of Long’s video, along with some updated thoughts and suggestions:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography Study Guide

Also, please read and download the material about issues of taste in photographing and publishing photographs depicting death and tragedy:

Lessons in Humanity: The Ethics of Taste in Photojournalism

Especially make sure you read through this handout, since we didn’t get to explore and discuss some of the issues. Expect questions on your exams from it, particularly about the concepts of newsworthiness and the conditions that require newsroom discussion when deciding whether or not to publish potentially controversial photographs.

And lastly, as always, here is the PDF version of the presentation:

Photojournalism Ethics Presentation

NOTE: For those who missed class, make sure you scroll through the presentation and read my presenter’s notes. The associated videos are below.

These are important issues. Like I said in class, your generation will determine how photographs remain credible testimonies in the context of news. Know the issues and think about how to solve some of the problems we experience with credibility in visual journalism.

Expect to see some additional articles posted on the FB group to help you expand your understanding. Hopefully, we can generate further discussion about this, too.

As always, contact me if you have any questions.

Videos from presentation:

Photoshop CS5 Tutorial Content Aware Fill

 

James Nachtwey’s mission (excerpt from “War Photographer”)

Before next class, watch this video!

In order to participate in class next week – and to pass a short, 5-question quiz at the beginning of class – you need to watch this video:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography

First, give yourself an hour. It’s not a short video – it’s an in-depth discussion about the most pressing ethical issues confronting visual journalism today. And the issues might not be exactly what many first think of when discussing ethics in journalism.

Why make you watch a video about ethics instead of simply presenting the issues in class myself? Well, I want everyone to understand that there are some prevailing thoughts and philosophies in the industry. I don’t want you, as students, to simply take the word of one photojournalist from the local newspaper. You need exposure to the thoughts and opinions of important people in the news biz. That’s part of my job as your instructor.

This is a video produced by the National Press Photographers Association in 2006 and features former Hartford Courant photographer and photo editor John Long, who was the NPPA Ethics Chair for over 15 years. While 2006 might seem a little dated (and the production quality of the video is certainly dated), the issues just might be more pressing than ever.

You NEED to watch this video in order to participate in ethical discussions. And I WILL be asking questions and we’ll be looking at a few current examples of the issues and discussing them.

The video isn’t published anywhere on the internet, so – for copyright reasons – I can’t post it on Facebook or the class website.

If you have problems watching it, contact me RIGHT AWAY!

Take notes while you’re watching it. I’ll even let you use them when you take the quiz!

What’s ahead?

Okay folks! Not to make your heads explode with information, but I want to give you a heads-up on what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

We are going to review the process of using Lightroom to organize, download, and prepare/process your pics, and I’ll show you how to upload your assignments to the class website next Wednesday (2/8). But be advised: we will fly through this, and I’ll give you until the end of the week to finish uploading both parts of your last shooting assignment (Mugshots/Depth-of-field/perspectives), if necessary.

So be prepared. Review the process. Here’s that link again:

Using Lightroom

Please review it. Practice it again, if you have a chance.

Also, we are going to briefly cover a few aspects of Constitutional law next class (2/8) that you should know before I send you out on further assignments. I will answer some questions, but we need to keep it brief. I will post a handout here on the website, after class, which contains the information you need to study for exams.

Then we’ll go over a lesson that will be central to this course – if you practice these principles, you will be successful at creating photographs that communicate something meaningful in the context of news. The concepts are simple, but practice is the key.

You will be getting another shooting assignment next week – but it won’t be due for another two weeks. It will be due on the website, 24 hours before class, on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

While you are working on that shooting assignment, you will be required to watch a video before coming to class on 2/15. We’ll discuss this briefly next week, but it is required viewing! You cannot participate in class discussions without viewing this video. To ensure that everyone views it, there will be a quiz on the video at the beginning of class on 2/15.

If you have some time and want to get a jump on watching the video, here is a link:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography

Just a couple of notes on this video: It’s 57 1/2 minutes long, so you need to free up at least an hour to watch it and take notes. This is the only time this semester I will require you to spend this much time outside of class, other than shooting assignments or studying for exams.

Many of you might laugh at the production quality. And that’s okay. It’s essentially at live-to-tape production of a classroom lecture. And you might chuckle at the cutaway shots of student’s faces during the lecture. Trust me, I recognize some of those looks! However, this is STILL the best introduction I have found to the ethical issues that photojournalism faces today.

Despite being produced in 2006 – at the very beginning of the decline of advertising revenues in print journalism – these are still the issues we continue to face today. We need to have a foundation for ethical discussions in photojournalism, and this is where we start!

So watch this when you have a chance, and remember you will be quizzed on it (2/15) before we start class discussions.

Captions Matter

I’m repeating it again: for your Features assignment (and ALL your shooting assignments, for that matter), make sure you gather enough information for complete AP Style captions to accompany your photos. It’s mandatory!

Over on Mark Johnson’s Visual Journalism blog, he explains the importance of captions: Captions Matter

Without captions, it’s just photography, not photojournalism.

The linked article specifically addresses making photographs of people who are grieving, which is one of the hardest tasks for a photojournalist. But the sentiments expressed really apply to any situation. Never assume people won’t talk to you, even in the most traumatic circumstances.

Mark chose one quote to feature. I choose another, by Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute:

“Irby says there are two benefits when photographers introduce themselves and interact with their subjects. One is that they can obtain accurate caption information — which ultimately adds more meaning, value and credibility to the photo for the reader. The other is that it can make the experience of being photographed more rewarding for the subject — even in a moment of extreme grief.”

When you express interest in another person, he or she is less likely to feel violated or spied-upon. We are not voyeurs or paparazzi.

There are many reasons that complete captions accompanying your photographs are a basic professional standard. It’s not an arbitrary formality.

One of the greatest qualities of photography is the ability to help viewers connect with the subjects depicted in photographs. And if that is your goal, it’s difficult to achieve if you – the photographer – do not connect with your subjects. And simply talking to them and recording their information is one of the easiest ways to do this.

Be a journalist, no matter what medium you choose to communicate with!