International Photojournalism


Spring 2007
PHOT 2870.W1
© Bill Barrett 2007

This course is taught entirely on-line.

Feedback (general opinions, problems, suggestions, etc.) on this hypersyllabus is encouraged! Bookmark this, but don't rely on printing it out. It is very likely that this page will be updated in the course of the semester.

Because Webster University has over a hundred sites around the globe, this workshop works to improve communication among students, and to learn more about each others' lives and concerns. Students use digital cameras to photograph life on their campus, and transmit the images back to the home campus in St. Louis. The photos will be offered for use in Webster departments and offices that use photographs in their publications, as well as in the weekly student newspaper, The Journal, in both its print and on-line editions. Previous photographic or computer experience is desirable, but not a prerequisite. (Although not a prerequisite, it is advantageous to take Digital Photographic Imaging, PHOT 3190, prior to or concurrent with this course.) This course may be repeated for credit.

Learning Outcomes:
Students learn to shoot photographs in an international setting.
Students learn to shoot photographs digitally.
Students learn Internet transmission skills.
Students learn the basic principles of editorial photography.

How you're graded: Your final grade is based on your performance throughout the term. We use an Internet-based conferencing system called Pandora (and that link goes to the page when you can sign up for it). Go there now. Your active participation counts for 40% (that means you must use Pandora regularly, generally speaking several times a week); your regular photographic assignments and complete record keeping count for 50% (you should be sending a least some photos practically every week, with full and accurate identification and information about them); a feature consisting of at least 4 pictures counts for 10%. If this is your first experience with an online course, it's very important that you keep in mind the discipline required to succeed. Just because the class isn't meeting synchronously (all at the same time) doesn't mean we aren't meeting! Unless you can discipline yourself to come to the Pandora discussions regularly, and to find and send photo assignments regularly, this isn't the class for you. But it can be a marvelous experience if you decide to be part of it!

NB: This is ordinarily a 16 week course. If a student wishes to take it for only an 8 week term, the expectations for earning 3 credits are the same, but that means the need for active participation is even greater. Photos need to be sent every week without exception, and participation in the Pandora conferencing must also be frequent.

This is what the grades mean...

What we're doing: Although sometimes you might receive assignment suggestions, most of the time you will generate your own story ideas. If you are sending something timely that you hope will be considered for The Journal, you need to keep in mind that the paper goes to press each Tuesday evening. Photos should be transmitted to St. Louis as early as possible, so that layouts can be made with the photographs in mind. Don't wait until the last minute!

We will discuss the following topics, more or less in this order (and there may be additional links on specific topics as we go along):

Other important topics that we might discuss include:

The National Press Photographers Association, and getting onto the NPPA email discussion list. (If you are new to on-line discussion groups, read the "rules of the road" before you jump in!) And because the list sends you around 12-20 messages every day, you would be very smart to get a new email address that you use only for it! If you get behind, you can always delete unread messages, but you don't want your personal inbox to be filled with messages from a list.

Some ethical concerns; we'll discuss the Journal's "Policy for the Ethical Use of Photographs." We'll look at the case of the1970 Kent State photograph and consider the falsification of photographs in Stalin's Russia. Listen to an interview with David King, author of "The Commissar Vanishes," aired on All Things Considered, 7 November 1997. And those were pre-computer. (Requires the free Real Audio Player.)

Listen to the Gordon Parks story aired on All Things Considered, 17 September 1997 (Requires the free Real Audio Player.)

The photojournalist as witness: Magnum. Photographs and their impact on society during the war on Vietnam.