Photojournalism Courses

Why enroll in a photojournalism course? Photojournalism is a specialty within the larger field of photography. It's rare to take a studio photo for a newspaper, magazine or other media outlet, unless it's a special group that has arranged to come to that studio.

Photos of this type are taken where the news happens!

In many cases the photos are meant to work with a news story. In other situations photos may stand alone, with a description (caption) providing additional information. Some publications use a number of related photos in a special "spread" format to tell a visual story.

Whatever the situation, photographers who focus on photojournalism are specialists in the larger field of photography.

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Standards are Important

It is tempting for some members of the general public to think of photojournalism as something "less" than true photography. This is not true, though it has become the popular opinion over the years.

Photojournalism courses at the university level or at the community college level do a lot to insure that the quality of photos in journalism remains high.

One of the key decisions you can make is selecting a photojournalism school. Look closely at the courses included in this program. There should be some emphasis on art and photo composition, along with good coverage of the history and business of journalism.

It's also important for a photojournalism student to

  1. enhance writing skills

  2. understand the nature of a good news story

  3. and know something about law and ethics in journalism

Those interested in photojournalism should also look for schools that have experience with digital equipment and computer technology. Equipment and facilities should be up-to-date.

This will be important when the student seeks employment because most of the surviving media outlets make a huge investment in equipment and the latest technology.

You may also want to find a program that offers internships with media companies as part of the study plan.

Examples of Photojournalism Schools

Some of the largest universities in the world have excellent journalism programs. Many put good emphasis on the photography that accompanies quality journalism.

In the United States, the University of Missouri is well known for its journalism school. Schools such as the

are some of the larger schools that offer solid photojournalism and journalism degrees.

Southern Illinois University is also known for its School of Communications, which houses the journalism program.

Taking this search halfway around the globe from the U.S. - RMIT in Melbourne, Australia seems to have a solid reputation for photography study at the undergraduate level. Griffith University in Queensland, Australia has an undergraduate degree program in photojournalism as well.


As you search for just the right photojournalism program, consider the school's experience and expertise in digital photography. These courses may be offered as part of the university program but you can also take workshop courses and short-term courses to enhance your knowledge of this technology.

For example, Boston University in the United States has both short-term courses in digital photography and as part of their photography degrees. It is important to become comfortable with digital cameras and digital-photo processing because this will be the technology used in the "real world."

Photojournalism Courses - There's More

With this basic information about photojournalism as a career and some examples of photojournalism schools, we should turn our attention to looking for courses that provide a broad range of knowledge.

In the world of journalism education, schools that offer top-quality photojournalism programs are rather rare. Some have compared them to diamonds to be found in acres of rough ground.

Important

The cost of a university-level photojournalism program will amount to thousands of dollars over the course of four years!

Smaller programs at the community level or workshop level might cost several hundred and could prepare someone well for work as a photojournalist. But these limited programs won't necessarily cover all the elements of good journalism.

A complete photojournalism course should teach quality photography, of course. It's best to find a program led by someone who has spent several years on the street as a photojournalist. Certainly the best photos in any media are those that are taken from the proper perspective.

Photojournalists must be able to quickly judge lighting, viewpoint and other factors because news stories don't stand still!

When looking for the right program, keep your eyes open for a course that has the right combination of theory and practice.