Multimedia Production

Producing multimedia stories for journalism and strategic communication

Dodgeball Tournament on Saturday

Cross Cultural Communication Class with Dr. Patton is hosting a dodgeball tournament on November 19 at Laramie High School from 9-12. Their goal is to raise awareness for homelessness in Laramie. With the money they make from teams competing, they will be purchasing coats that double as sleeping bags (each cost $100) and they will share them with the homeless in Laramie.

 

Video Storytelling

The ability to tell a good story with video is a difficult yet important skill for journalists and communicators to learn. Video is not just on TV anymore — you can find video stories online and on mobile devices as well. You’ll work in teams of two for this project. Let’s partner up and review the instructions for Blog Post 10 – Video Storytelling.

Important video to watch if you’re shooting with your iPhone.

1. Pre-Production (Before You Shoot)

Choose a story (or event!) that is well suited for video. This includes stories that have strong visual components and that have any sort of motion.

Identify your sources. Seek out multiple and diverse perspectives for your story.

Write preliminary interview questions after researching the story. Plan out your questions, story focus, and narrative (i.e., beginning, middle, and end) in advance, as much as you can. However, also remember to be adaptable during the interview and ask appropriate follow-up questions.

“Show me, don’t tell me” is the mantra in video storytelling. Find a way to show a story unfolding with video. Minimize the on-camera interviews with people (i.e., “talking head interviews”). It’s more interesting to watch an event occur rather than here about it from an interviewee.

Plan to shoot a variety of angles and types of shots. For suggestions, see Production, below.

Consider how you (the reporter) will fit into the story. Will you appear on-camera to set the scene or conduct an interview? If you’d like to try that, go ahead! Or, will you be completely invisible to the audience, just like you were during the Soundslides project and the audio profile project? Or, will you narrate the story without appearing on-camera?

2. Production (When You’re On-Location)

Plan on shooting before and after the event (if shooting an event). This ensures you have a variety of material to create your edited story from. Also, it helps develop a narrative of before, during, and after the event.

Shoot B-roll. B-roll is supplemental footage that relates to your story. For example, a video story about the the UW track team’s meet should include video of athletes warming up, tying their shoelaces, talking with coaches, etc. These are the shots that you can use to fill time while an interviewee is talking or while ambient noise (e.g., background noise from the event or music) is playing. For a 2-minute story, shoot at least 30 seconds of B-roll footage.

Shoot on-camera interviews with your sources. When shooting interviews, remember to look around at your surroundings. Is it relevant to the story? Can you move somewhere else to get the interview that is not as chaotic or loud? Just as with the audio interviews, encourage your sources to relax, act natural, and provide context to the answer they are giving to your question. Don’t be afraid to re-shoot a question and ask a question again. Oftentimes, the source gives a better and more eloquent answer to your question the second time you ask it.

Optional: Shoot on-camera reporters. If you’d like to appear on-camera as a broadcaster at some point, then this project is a good opportunity to practice. You can introduce the story and provide context to the significance of the story. You can transition with your voice and appearance between story segments. And you can conclude the story and provide a summary or “what happens next” statement.

Shoot a variety of camera shots. Whether you plan to be a visual journalist or not, you need to understand and learn how to execute the types of shots. See this website for visual examples and descriptions as we go over the definitions below.

  • Extreme wide shots. Shows the whole entire scene of an event, location, or story. These shots give viewers information about where the story takes place. They set the scene and give context early on in a story.
  • Very wide shots. Shows less background and shows the subject in the large scene. The subject is barely visible.
  • Wide shots. Shows the whole subject so the visual emphasis is on the subject rather than the background.
  • Mid shots. Shows the subject even closer, but a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
  • Medium close-up shots. Shows the subject even closer and the subject’s features and expressions are more of the focus.
  • Close-up shots. Shows the subject’s head to shoulder area.
  • Extreme close-up shots. Shows only the subject in the frame, such as the subject’s eyes and nose.
  • Cut-in shots. Shows some other part of the main subject, not the face and shoulders.
  • Cutaway shots. B-roll that is used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
  • Point-of-view shots. Shows a scene from the subject’s perspective such that you feel like you are in their shoes.

Optional: Camera movement techniques. Camera movements are more advanced production techniques. They may not work out well if you do not have a high-quality video camera. Thus, I would avoid these techniques unless you have prior experience with video or unless you have a high-quality video camera. If you decide to use camera movements, see the techniques below:

  • Zooming: Going from wide-angle to close-up or vice versa.
  • Panning: Moving the camera horizontally.
  • Tilts: Moving the camera vertically.
  • Tracking: Moving the camera around accordingly to track the subject.

Composition concerns: Give headroom so the interviewee has space above their head during the shot. Avoid distractions in the background of shots. Remember the rule of thirds still!

Be Flexible: No matter home much planning you do in pre-production, from deciding who you want to interview to what types of b-roll shots you want, something is bound to not go your way, or the event you’re at will be different than you envisioned. Be willing to change you plan during production based on what is happening at the event in real time.

3. Post-Production (The Editing Process)

Editing programs. You have access to Adobe Premiere Elements in this lab, CR 207, as well as Ross Hall 423 (next to my office), AS 228, and the IT building computer lab. However, you are free to use another editing program, such as iMovie, FinalCutPro, or Windows Movie Maker. Adobe Premiere and FinalCutPro are the industry standards for video editing. iMovie is pretty good for being a standard software on a MacBook. Windows Movie Maker is pretty awful and I don’t recommend it unless you have no other options. Also, consider downloading  a trial version of Adobe Premiere. The IT building has a beautiful Mac computer in the scantron room that has FinalCutPro on it.

Conceptual Editing. You want to brainstorm and plan out your story before you begin with technical editing. You want to have the story flow ironed out first. If you’re stuck, think about how you’d tell a friend your story. What did you start with? What else did you tell your friend? How does the story end? Also, search for sound bites that address the who, what, where, when, why, how, and so what.

The video editing process is similar to the audio editing process. Remember the tips associated with audio editing.

Keep your story focused — it’s supposed to be about 2-4 minutes.

Project Requirements

Below are the main points you need to consider while working on your project. I will use these elements to evaluate your work.

  • At least 2 sources
  • At least 5 seconds of ambient noise, natural sound, or music
  • Video is between 2 and 4 minutes
  • Video shots are diverse (see camera shots and camera movements above)
  • Speakers are introduced with titles and/or the speaker self-identifies themselves and/or the reporter identifies the speaker
  • Story has a beginning, middle, and end (narrative arc)
  • Editing is smooth

Video Storytelling for Public Relations, Promotions, and Marketing

Video can be used for a variety of different reasons including journalism, PR, marketing, and advertising, and the way that you edit and shoot a video is a little bit different for each one. In each case you want to be able to tell a complete story.

Journalism: Tell the whole story from all sides. Find opposing arguments for interviews so that viewers can get facts from both sides or multiple sources with different things to say. Add b-roll that is relevant to the story even if it is not the most artsy shot it might be the most informative.

Public Relations: In this case you will probably only be telling the story from one side, the side that the company, department, etc. is on, and you video will likely be positive, factual information about the company, etc. the b-roll shots in this type of video should highlight those positive things that the interviewee is talking about. Example

Promotions: These videos are a lot like advertisements. To make an exciting promotional video, you want eye catching shots, that include whatever it is that you’re promoting. A lot of the time these are artistic shots, or fast pace shots that keep the viewer engaged, and interested. Example

Video Storytelling Examples From Past Classes

Example of Promotional Story on a Local Company – Louisa Wilkinson and Taylor Dilts

Example of Journalistic Story on a Non-Event – Hannah Robinson and Esther Seville

Example of a Promotional Story on a Local Band – Kaisha McCutchen and Bianca Coca

Example of Journalistic Approach with No Reporter Narration – Edward Timmons and Miranda Anderson

Example of Journalistic Approach  With Reporter Narrative – Jordan Blazovich and Nick Robinson

Example of Journalistic Approach to an Event Story without Reporter Narration – Kaitlyn Camargo and Lauren Garrelts

Example of Journalistic Approach to a Non-event Story without Reporter Narration – Brittany Hamilton and Scottie Melton

Example of Promotional Approach – Courtney Gifford, Travis Hoff, Sam Weinstein
Border War: The ROTC Story

Social Media Management for Journalism, PR, and Advertising

How Social Media is Used by the Big Three Media Fields

Social media is for you. The aspiring journalist, sports commentator, marketing executive, advertising director, or public relations manager, all of these fields rely on social media now.

You can use social media:

  • To help you create a presence and voice
  • To promote your stories or your products
  • To search for story ideas and sources
  • To network with others in your field
  • To engage with your audience, start a conversation

No doubt, social media is changing our media world. Let’s review some resources.

Please choose to review either the journalists, PR, or advertising sections below. Review each link in your chosen section. Write down 3 things that you’d like to share with the class about what you learned from reading these articles in your section.

There are also some helpful hints that could apply to journalism, public relations, and advertising. Keep up to date on these hints for social media at Social Media Examiner. Here are some of the most helpful posts and lessons that I’ve discovered on this website:

Critical Analysis and Comparison of Two Organizations’ Social Media Management

Blog Post #8 Due on Fri. Nov. 4 by 11:59 p.m. | Presentations of Results on Monday and Wednesday

For Blog Post 8, you will write a critical analysis and comparison of two organizations’ social media management styles. Download Blog Post 8 for details. Here’s the short version of the assignment:

  • As you sit down to do your analysis, be sure to review these links above that we’ve reviewed.
  • Use the specific advice offered in these articles as you conduct your analysis.
  • Examine the 6 major social media platforms noted in the assignment: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.
  • Take notes of your experience. Your notes should be grounded in the advice from the articles. Your notes will be the basis and foundation for your blog post.
  • Answer all required questions in the assignment (broadly speaking, you must compare the organizations’ social media presence, suggest three reasons why each organization is using social media effectively, and three pieces of advice for each organization).

A Focus on Twitter: Basics to Understand Before Your Live Tweeting Assignment (Blog Post #9)

Know the basics. @username, #topic, and RTs (retweets).

Establish a voice. There is a lot of noise out there. To get engaged and get noticed, you’ll need to decide what “face” you want to reveal to the Twittersphere.

  • For me, @klandreville, my twitter voice is related to political communication and news research, teaching, and education.
  • For @Anna_Rader, one of our guest speakers, her voice is “NPR junkie, music lover, cinephile, Wyomingite, nerd. Digital Media Coordinator @WYPublicRadio and Digital Producer of @HumaNatureShow. Opinions are my own.”
  • Brainstorm about your Twitter voice.

Once you have a voice and identity in mind, find similar people to follow. To engage with a like-minded community, search for people to follow at “Who To Follow.” Twitter will suggest some people after you write your identity summary and begin posting.

Share and gather information. For professional use, you can use it to quickly share and gather information real-time (e.g., promote events) with people interested in your writing, journalism, company, etc. Retweet relevant information to your field as well. Retweeting build followers.

Brand management. You can use it to hear and address praise and complaints about your writing or company. Search for your favorite (or least favorite) companies to see how they’re using Twitter and Facebook.

  • For example, Southwest is known for their fantastic customer service. Twitter and Facebook only help that image.

Contribute to the community. Actively search and share information related to your field. Followers will be happy and more informed. And they may retweet, which brings you more followers.

  • For example, AEJMC (a nonprofit mass media association) shares valuable information about journalism, multimedia, public relations, and advertising to followers.

Start a story and use visual writing. Live events can be tweeted and facebooked while on the scene. Stories you’re working on can be previewed with tidbits and snippets of writing. Direct people to the full story. Use strong verbs, adjectives, and visuals.

  • For example, Joanna Smith, a Toronto Star reporter covering the Haitian earthquake, wrote a series of earthquake-related tweets. She created an unraveling narrative through each snapshot.
  • “Was in b-room getting dressed when heard my name. Tremor. Ran outside through sliding door. All still now. Safe. Roosters crowing.”
  • “Fugitives from prison caught looting, taken from police, beaten, dragged thru street, died slowly and set on fire in pile of garbage.”

Engage with the community. There are live chats via Twitter. It can be a learning environment. Retweet all relevant information to your field.

  • For example, there are live chats on Twitter about journalism. Search for #journchat.
  • For example, ask questions relevant to your field. Laurel Papworth (@SilkCharm) asked, “Dear #PRChat PR people how is #BigData affecting your industry relationships with journalists? #Journchat #RunningScaredYet? :P”

State your opinions, but be professional. Everything you say on Twitter can be retweeted (unless you have your settings on private). Facebook profiles can be viewed (and I assume that they can be hacked too). Everything lives forever online. All of your tweets can be searched (see SnapBird). Be paranoid about that.

  • For example, one student was tweeting about dislike of a professor’s course and the professor engaged the student to suggest what the professor should improve. You be the judge about the conversation tone.
  • Student Tweets: (1) UUUGGGGHHHHHH She is working my nerves!! I hate new professors!! (2) I swear [professor’s name] is too much for me! (3) Soooo I can’t talk too bad about my professor on twitter anymore…because now we have to follow her ass!!
  • Professor: @StudentName After reading your multiple tweets about your disappointment in my teaching style, what would you recommend I do differently?
  • Her follower responded: Double yikes! I hope your student realizes you are also followed by PR execs who make hiring decisions…”

Represent. One tip from Intel Corporation’s social media guidelines:

  • “Perception is reality. In online social networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred. Just by identifying yourself as an Intel employee, you are creating perceptions about your expertise and about Intel by our shareholders, customers, and the general public-and perceptions about you by your colleagues and managers. Do us all proud. Be sure that all content associated with you is consistent with your work and with Intel’s values and professional standards.”

Crowdsource. Use followers for information. Make a call or solicit them for information.

  • Find anecdotes and exemplars for stories. Denver Post did this to find the human face to their story on parents stealing their childrens’ identities and then raiding their credit.
  • Collect data using Google Docs to create a Google Form. Then, share link on social media for quick, informal surveys. Denver Post used this technique to find people live-blog their responses to the first 2012 presidential debate in Denver.

 

Picture1

The Denver Post crowdsourced for their article on parents stealing their children’s identity.

 

Social Media Management. Monitor social media across Twitter and other platforms with the following tools:

More Advice from Twitter Experts at the BBC Journalism Academy: Below is a summary of the best tips.

  • Keep tweets simple.
  • Promote your content and work. Ask a simple question and link to the content. The idea is to intrigue, not give away all the content.
  • Avoid “clickbait” which is perceived as a marketing ploy and game to people.
  • Do not tweet too much of one side of an argument. It appears as if you are promoting them. Be balanced, even with Twitter content and attention.
  • Do not use too many hashtags (limit to two). It drowns the message.
  • Use images and videos if they add to the content. No stock photos or mundane photos.
  • Be helpful, open, honest and authentic. Be funny (in a professional and clever way) and social.
  • Think dialogue, not monologue.
  • Don’t retweet without reading and checking the retweeted content first.
  • Check the grammar and spelling!
  • “The don’ts? Don’t tweet angry, vengeful or drunk. Always be yourself.”  — @tomfordyce, chief sports writer @BBCSport

Live-Tweeting Practice

We will practice live-tweeting another speech: Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality to the UN.

Report from a journalistic point of view. Type out your tweets and try to keep them less than 140 characters.

Audio File Conversions

A lot of iPhones save the audio file as a “m4a” file.

A lot of Android phones save the audio file as a “3ga” file.

When you upload your audio file to SoundCloud, you may not need to convert your audio file to another format.

However, when you edit the file in Audacity, you will need to convert the file to a “wav” or “mp3” file. To do this, you can visit a popular audio conversion website: Zamzar (m4a to wav) or Zamzar (3ga to wav).

You can always Google for assistance, advice, or other questions. And, of course, you are free to ask me questions as well!

Gathering Audio – The Artform

Audio Interviewing Tips

Gathering audio that is clean, clear, and crisp is no easy task. This post outlines some hints for you to consider before you conduct audio interviews. It is developed from the hints listed on MediaStorm’s audio training page.

Know Your Equipment: Be comfortable operating your audio recorder. You should know where the buttons are without looking at it. You should know what all of the buttons do. If you’re uncomfortable with the audio recorder, your subject will be as well.

  • So, practice with your audio recorder, even if it’s just your phone, BEFORE your interview.
  • Also, be sure that you can confidently get the audio file from your phone to a computer and opened in Audacity. Practice now.

Location: Find a quiet location with little background noise. Find a spot with soft surfaces that absorb sound. A couch or fabric chair is better than a wooden chair. Cover a table with a blanket. A car with closed windows is a great location. Avoid hallways and large rooms that echo.

No Ambient Noise During Interview: While you do want to use ambient noise in your audio story, you don’t want the ambient noise to interfere with the person speaking to you. Avoid consistent background noise by picking a small quiet room with carpet and soft chairs. If using the TASCAM, try using the foam covering to see if it helps quiet ambient noise. You want to collect ambient noise separately and not fight it during the interview.

If Ambient Noise is Unavoidable: Press the record button before you begin the formal interview. Allow the recorder to collect the ambient noise without anyone’s voices interrupting the ambient noise. This gives you clean ambient noise to insert into any pauses during the editing process.

Get Close: Put the microphone about 2 inches away from the person’s mouth if you’re recording at a moderate “rec level” (about 5-7 on the TASCAM). You can put the microphone farther away if you’re recording at a higher “rec level” (about 9-10).

  • Remember though — when editing, it’s easier to bump up the volume than bump down the volume. Thus, err on the side of caution and do not record at a level that is TOO LOUD.

Use Headphones: Put your headphones into the headphone jack on your digital audio recorder. Hit the “record” button. Now ask the person to talk. Ensure that you can hear the person clearly. If you can’t hear them clearly, put the microphone closer to their mouth and/or increase the “rec level” to a higher sensitivity. Keep the headphones on your ears during the whole interview. You’ll know exactly how the person sounds the whole time.

Speak Up: Ask the person to speak up and speak louder if you can’t hear them properly and clearly when you have your headphones on.

Don’t Fidget: Do not fidget and play with the audio recorder while gathering sound. The audio recorder picks up the noise when you rub your hands on it. Avoid this by not fidgeting.

Focus: There’s many things to think about while conducting an audio interview. Can you hear them clearly? What are they saying? What’s my next question? Where is the interview going? How can I take the interview in a different direction or somewhere I hadn’t planned if they say something interesting?

  • If you don’t get the 5-minute interview right the first time, do it again!

But Also Engage: Listen to the person. Make eye contact (don’t look at their mouth). Seem genuinely interested in their story. After they’re done speaking, stay in silence for a moment. They may add more detail to their thoughts.

Uh huh: Don’t do it. Avoid saying those filler words during an interview. You don’t want YOUR voice recorded when the person is talking. Instead, nod, smile, use eye contact, and lean forward to encourage the person.

Avoid Comment. Resist the urge provide in-depth responses or comments to your interviewee during and after everything he/she says–that means more editing for yourself or not being able to use the audio at all.

Pause. During the audio interview, leave a brief pause after the interviewee finishes answering a question and before you begin your next question. Giving more pause will leave you more room for editing.

Ask Explanation-Needed Questions: Don’t just ask, “How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a journalist?” You’ll get the answer, “I few years ago.” Ask questions that need more explanation, “What inspired you to become a journalist and when did you make this decision in your life?”

  • You want the person to answer in complete sentences that clearly answer the question, not short phrases that may need a narrator’s explanation.

Ask Again: Don’t be afraid to ask “Why?;” “Please explain that more in-depth.” “Please say that again, I didn’t quite understand the first time.”

Ask Sensory Questions: “Tell me about…”; “What did it sound like when…”; “How did it feel when…”; “What did it smell like…”; “What did it look like when…”; “Describe the scene for me.”

Last Question: Always ask, “Is there anything else I should have asked? Is there anything else you want me to know?”

Audio Editing Tips

Consider these audio editing suggestions.

  1. Decide how you want to organize your story before you begin editing; know what the beginning, middle, and end should be before you begin editing.
  2. The end should bring closure and finality to the interview topic. Don’t end with a statement that leads to more questions from the listener.
  3. Use the zoom feature extensively during your editing, it really helps get the cut to be as flawless as possible.
  4. There are two ways to edit audio: Build or destroy. To build while editing, take a blank audio track and then create an interview from the original. To destroy while editing, take the original interview and cut it down.
  5. While editing, write down the points in the track that you’re working on. That way when you go back and listen to it, you can listen for the cut/transition and move things around faster by referencing those breaks in your notes.
  6. Always save the original audio file separate from the file that you’re currently editing. Also consider saving “editions” of your audio file such that each audio editing session that you engage in is a unique file. That way, if you make a grievous error, then you can revert to the next most saved/updated/edited file.

SoundCloud

In our unit on audio, you will use Soundcloud to share your audio files on your blog. Let’s register.

Practice

There is no better way to learn audio reporting than by trying it out for yourself! So, let’s try to record ourselves on our phones or devices. Let’s get it off our phone and on the computer. Can you open it in Audacity? Or, do you need to convert the file? Google your questions about your specific phone or device.

Free German Food at Shocktoberfest on Fri. at 6 p.m.

octoberfest_final_10-05-2016

Laramie Main Street Alliance Marketing Internship

Laramie Main Street Alliance (LMSA)

Marketing/Outreach Coordinator

Spring 2017 Internship

Job Description: The LMSA Marketing and Outreach Coordinator will assist in the development and distribution of LMSA’s promotional material including a monthly e-newsletter, press releases, brochures, event posters, kiosk layout and social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube).

Working with our Marketing Director, event committees and community partners, the coordinator will help plan, organize and distribute information about events hosted downtown using traditional and social media outlets.

The coordinator will also assist with personal outreach to downtown businesses in order to share information about upcoming events and gather information about in store retail promotions.

The coordinator will work along side our Marketing Coordinator and Executive Director, board members and volunteers to accomplish the above tasks.

Qualifications: The Marketing/Outreach Coordinator for the LMSA should be thoughtful, value relationship building, posses strong verbal and written communication skills, work well with others (especially volunteers and business owners), be patient, self-motivated, willing to try new things and bring fresh ideas to the organization, visually creative, dependable yet flexible.

This position reports directly to the Executive Director.

The position is 10 to 20 hours per week, Monday through Friday and as needed for special events, which may occur on weekends and evenings.

The Laramie Main Street Alliance is a 501(c) 3 non-profit that strives to preserve historic Downtown Laramie while enhancing its economic and social vitality.

For more information about the Alliance, visit www.laramiemainstreet.org.

Contact Jessica Romero at downtownlaramie@gmail.com for more information.

Spring 2017 Internships at Institutional Marketing

Applications for the 2017 spring semester internship in  UW Institutional Communications are now being accepted.  For more information, please contact Milton (information below). 

Milton D. Ontiveroz

University of Wyoming

Institutional Communications Specialist

P.O. Box 3226

Laramie, Wyo. 82071

(307) 766-6709 (o)

(307) 399-6116 ©

Miltono@uwyo.edu

Audio Storytelling

Journalism oftentimes gives a voice to the voiceless. With audio journalism, you can hear the emotion, hear the ambient sounds, and hear the expressions of your sources. Now, we can do audio journalism online and not just on the radio. Before we learn about the logistics of audio, it is important to first understand what makes excellent audio journalism. Here are some examples.

One in 8 Million – A New York Times audio slideshow about a few of the 8 million people living in the New York City region. Let’s listen to one teenager mother’s story.  Let’s listen to the audio profile and discuss what you like and dislike about the story. Could this story be told better with any other style or method? Note that for the upcoming two assignments, you will interview a classmate (or someone else) for 5 minutes and then edit the audio to 2 minutes.

NPR provides the best audio journalism in the United States. Here’s an example of their reporting. Notice the journalist’s narration, the sources’ quotes, and the audio of specific examples relevant to the story. First though, let’s read the print story. Then, we’ll listen to the audio story. We’ll compare the stories and discuss the differences as well as the similarities.

This American Life provides great long-format audio stories, usually about feature stories.

Audio Profile Project

Please download the instructions for the Blog Posts 6 and 7 – Raw Audio Profile and Edited Audio Profile and we’ll review what you’ll be accomplishing with audio!

SoundCloud

In our unit on audio, you will use Soundcloud to share your audio files on your blog. Let’s register and do a tutorial.

Practice Audio Recording with Your Device

Let’s practice audio recording and getting the audio files off our devices and onto the computer. The biggest complaint that students have about the audio unit is having trouble getting the audio off their device and onto the computer in a workable file format. So, please do that now.

Record yourself counting to 10 with your device. Next, get the recording off your device and onto the computer. Attempt to open the file in Audacity. Then, attempt to upload a file to Soundcloud.

Photojournalism Basics

Purpose

Photojournalism is our window to the world around us. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The purpose of photojournalism is to capture the people and events that make the news. Photojournalism can supplement a text story or can serve as a stand-alone story.

We remember news stories in images because they are powerful and emotional.

Categories

The following categories are defined by the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) and included in the Best of Photography competitions. The College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) Awards also use these categories.

Feature (Enterprise): A photograph of a ‘found situation’ that features strong human interest elements, or a fresh view of an everyday scene. A picture that uses humor or focuses on the lighter side of life is well suited for this category. Examples

Portrait: A single photograph that captures a unique aspect of a local figure’s character and personality. Examples

Sports Action: A peak action picture that captures the spirit of a sports competition—either on the part of an individual or an athletic team. Examples

Sports Feature: A sports-related feature picture that depicts the jubilation of victory or the agony of defeat. The event covered should be separate from the game action or outside of the field of play. Examples

General News: Recognizing that much of the daily news coverage is planned in advance, we seek to reward outstanding achievement based on creativity and timing at organized events such as general meetings, promotional events and staged coverage opportunities. Examples

Spot News: An event that is not planned, so the photographer must react on instinct and news judgment. This picture may be of a breaking news event, or a part of issue coverage. Examples

Photojournalism Tips

The creative devices tips still apply to photojournalism. Other helpful hints are found below (adapted from Ch. 7 in our book and R. M. Thornburg’s suggestions in Producing Online News).

  1. Have a working camera with you at all times. Recall that AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post photographer, said that the best camera is the camera in your hands.
  2. Have one clear subject in your photo. The subject should be in focus and stand out from everything else in the photo. A street is not a subject. Seven people walking down the sidewalk is not a subject. One person walking down the street is a subject. Note: This rule is sometimes meant to be broken. You can take great photos of a mass crowd or a group of people, however, more skill is required. It’s easier to stick with the rules as you’re learning. Then, break them later when you know what you’re doing more.
  3. Take a lot of photos. For every subject, take 10 photos. **I can’t emphasize this enough. Move around and take a lot of photos!**
  4. Act natural. Make yourself comfortable and invisible.
  5. Move around without violating Tip 4.
  6. Place subjects so that they are moving or looking into the photo, rather than out of it. For example, if a person is pointing to the right, be sure he is at the left of your photo.
  7. Keep the light behind you so the subject’s face is lit (unless deliberately creating a shadow out of the subject).
  8. Avoid using the flash as much as possible. Use natural light.
  9. If you’re shooting sports action, then avoid evening or low-light conditions (the photos will be blurry)!
  10. Be aware of the background. Make sure there are no trees or objects protruding from your subject’s head or limbs. And, make sure there are no photobombs.

Ethics

According to the President Emeritus of the NPPA Alicia Wagner Calzada, photojournalists must live up to a high standard because ethics are “what sets us apart from art and advertising.”

She notes that when journalists are reporting, they should not cave-in to pressure from people who ask, “what do you want me to do?” Journalists should instruct people to continue their behavior as if they were not present.

Our guest speaker, AAron Ontiveroz, also noted that photojournalism is capturing history the way that the stories actually unfolded. You are telling the story with images. You are not supposed to manipulate the story. These are reasons why there is a code of ethics.

Copied from the NPPA Code of Ethics

  1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
  3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
  5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
  6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
  7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
  8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
  9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

Breaking Ethics Codes

Following ethics codes is about establishing and maintaining the trust of our audience. The cases below illustrate when that trust was broken.

  1. Brian Walski from the LA Times combined two photos to create a more aggressive and confrontational presentation of the situation.
  2. Time magazine made OJ Simpson look more sinister by manipulating the color, burning the corners and shrinking the prisoner ID number on his mugshot. Newsweek did not alter the photo.
  3. Klavs Bo Christensen, a Danish photojournalist, was disqualified from a photo competition because of using too much color saturation.
    denmark_contest_images
  4. See more examples of sketchy photojournalism.
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