Photojournalism Makes a Comeback

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In a time where journalists are expected to write, photograph, shoot, and edit their own stories, a question arises: what is the future of photojournalism?

We are all told as journalists that in today's economy, where jobs are scarce and job security is a thing of the past, having just one niche is a deal breaker. A journalist must not simply be a
triple threat, but a quadruple threat.

With photography cooperatives such as Luceo Images and Magnum Photos popping up, however, hope isn't completely lost for a career in photojournalism.

Blogger from The New York Times, James Estrin, said in his blog entitled, "If Photojournalism Is Dead, What's Luceo?", that although "there's no doubt that there are dire economic changes in the photography business and fewer assignments to cover news," an economically efficient photojournalism career is still possible.

Rather than working through agencies where the photographers are tossed around like playing cards, photography co-ops like Luceo give individual photographers a chance to further develop their abilities and to take the reins by allowing them equal roles in the organization.

However, although a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, the topic of whether it is also worth a thousand dollars is debatable.


Journalism Makes A Shift In Schools Out East

In recent years, the scope of journalism has shifted from the traditional forms of news gathering to a more online and multimedia approach. It's no secret that the majority of the general news-conscious public gathers more than 80% of their information from an online source. Combined with audio, video, pictures, AND shorter articles, journalistic news has made a shift...and so have the people who participate in its production.

Journalism schools in New York and other cities on the East Coast have noticed this shift to a more multimedia approach and have implemented teaching new skills into their curriculum.

Adam Penenberg, an NYU faculty member said, "The challenge inherent to journalism programs today is like taking a bowling ball and trying to hit a fast-moving target."

Students are being faced with the difficult task of having multiple skills. Journalists used to be able to just write, edit, and occasionally do audio. Now they have to encompass all aspects of social media, online and print news, audio, video production and editing, and photography.

What schools out East hope to accomplish, is by equipping students with the necessary tools/skills to succeed in the rapidly changing world that is journalism and media, that they can learn, adapt, and effectively fit the role of the 'new' journalist.

New courses focusing on managing social media (specifically Twitter and Foursquare) and encouraging discussions by students on class websites are among some of the 'quick changes' journalism schools are making to adapt to this media shift.

--Sound familiar?

Not only are big, journalist-ritzy, East Coast schools making changes, but so are private, community, and state schools. EVERYONE has begun to recognize the need for attention to technology. Classes at Simpson College, for example, try to promote the same key elements in their course work. Twitter, blogging, discussions boards, encouraging internships and practicums in student-run media groups are all essential for those looking to pursue jobs in ANY realm of communications.

--So what does this mean for the Communications/Journalism student?

1. Get with it. --Establish yourself on various social networking sites, create a profile, share your work, gain a 'fan base' and market yourself. The more you do, the more likely people will see it.

2. Be confident. --No one likes a timid journalist. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things. Go after the news; don't let it come to you.

3. Utilize your talents. --Sure they're asking for you to master everything...but you also want to find your niche in communications. If you excel at shooting and editing video, focus on mastering that skill. It's not hard to incorporate other areas of multimedia once you get the basics...but you have to know what you are good at.

Journalism schools and Communications departments across the country are seeing the need to educate and adapt to the changing technological culture we're being thrust into. If we don't keep up with the fast-paced cyber channels being developed, journalism (in any traditional sense) will cease to exist.


Online News Becomes a Conversation Between Journalists and Community

With the race to make it online, journalists are learning to use social media sites, and the users of these sights, to their advantage.

Future journalists will be more a part of the community than ever. Bloggers will be relied on for credible sources. Everyone will become a part of social media by reporting what they see.

It used to be the journalists telling the community what they should know. Now it's become an online conversation of news between the two.

Community members have become their own journalists. They are already reporting the news around them using social media. Journalists need to learn how to use this to their advantage. Social media platforms shouldn't be used just as a way to get readers back to your site.

Social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube will become social media platforms for the news. These sites have become like editors by telling readers what's important. Readers are curious about what friends are saying and looking at.

Along with this, a new job will arise for those who can curate all the information flying around. Readers don't always have time to sift through everything. Important information can be pieced together from social media sites into a story. Storyful is currently working on using information from sites like Twitter and Youtube to do just this.


'New' Twitter Takes on Facebook Elements

Twitter's launch of 'new' Twitter allows for expansion that will develop essential

components to compete with Facebook and third-party platforms.

Many features added into Twitter are components that most have seen in Facebook. Although these features aren't new to the social medias, Twitter obtains the features while still maintaining the Twitter 'feel.'

The new Twitter layout consists of the original left column where Tweets are posted along with new features that include maps of geo-locations tagged tweets, embedded photos, and video.

Now that these tools are provided, many journalists can use Twitter to its fullest potential. Before updates to Twitter, one way to get information out was through links. Now the newer version allows for video and pictures creating a community on the Twitter page as oppose to leaving the Twitter page to obtain information.

The new improved layout for Twitter was released September 14th, 2010 and will be reaching everyone soon.


Are people going to pay to read newspapers online?

With the advancement of technology, newspaper companies are losing their business to people who can get their information online at the click of a button without having to wait for the paperboy.

Chas Hartman of the University of Kentucky is trying to find an exact number, and currently has a survey set up online that you can fill out. It asks whether or not you read news (which if you don't, it won't do much good to fill out the survey), where you read it, etc. You can find the survey by checking out Gina Chen's blog, where she provides a link.

I think the question on journalist's minds is how they are going to make money if they no longer are publishing articles in newspapers that people have to buy. Eric Alterman wrote an essay for The New Yorker back in 2008 entitled Out of Print: The Life and Death of Newspapers in which he talks about the history of newspapers, and how they are slowly disappearing. As we've heard stated, online journalists do not get paid much of anything to write and article.

Another issue with newspapers going to online is that with social mediums such as Blogger and Twitter, people are able to get short summaries of the news, and from many different sources. There are dozens of different news reporters now online, and each striving to have their blogs and articles followed. While these bloggers and Tweeters may not be news reporters, they are still capable of taking stories and making them their own.

In the end, there will be some people that are willing to pay for news access online, but I feel that more people are going to try to find ways around it. The sites that offer free stories are going to have more people visiting than the one that charge.


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