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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

What to tell a freshman class of journalism students?
Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 12:31 AM on 04.22.14
->> On Wednesday morning, I'll be speaking at the intro to journalism writing class at California Polytechnic where I sat about 10 years ago.

I'm going to show my portfolio and have it open for any and all questions, but I'd also like to make a list of good advice, but I'd love to also include some of the not so fun things disguised in a fun way.

Here are a few things I'm thinking:

1 - Be professional all the time, every time.
2 - Get used to no "regular" work days.
3 - Free coffee is good coffee.
4 - People get mad at the misspelling of their name more than anything else.


What do you got? Lay it on me.

Thanks,

~ N
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PJ Heller, Photographer
Christchurch | NZ | | Posted: 12:52 AM on 04.22.14
->> Good luck finding a job.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 12:54 AM on 04.22.14
->> Don't just be honest with them, but realistic too and let them know what their job prospects are. In the six years between 2006 and 2012 there was a loss of 17,000 journalism jobs; with more to add to the number in the last two years. While it is depressing, they need to realize they need to do much more to make them worth hiring.

The bright side to those depressing numbers is that there are far more writing jobs available than work for photographers. When you look at journalismjobs.com there are routinely dozens of reporter jobs for every photographer job. And for every photo job that seeks a shooter who can write there a 100+ for writers who can shoot stills and/or video. So being diversified in one's abilities is what papers are looking for. Unfortunately, being good in your multi-tasks isn't as important as being able to multi-task which saves the need for additional people to do the still and video work.

The most important advice you can give them -- which I also give my students -- is to either get a minor in business or at least take a lot of business classes. A solid knowledge of contracts, accounting, copyright law, etc. is essential for success nowadays since they'll probably start out as a freelancer, or end up that way as a last hired, first fired employee when cuts are mandated to save costs to increase profits.
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PJ Heller, Photographer
Christchurch | NZ | | Posted: 12:55 AM on 04.22.14
->> Don’t work for free (or for cheap).
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PJ Heller, Photographer
Christchurch | NZ | | Posted: 1:10 AM on 04.22.14
->> OK, couple more:

Know a little about a lot and a lot about a little.

Explore/travel the world. Learn and understand other cultures.

As Doug said, develop skills other than just writing (i.e. learn to shoot photos and video to make yourself more valuable in the marketplace).
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 1:13 AM on 04.22.14
->> @Doug,

Yeah, I regret not taking a business class.

I'm going to also mention to have a wide skill set. Like, I'm a photographer, but also an investigative reporter and I write stories.

I'm going to mention networking as well.
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Will Powers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 8:34 AM on 04.22.14
->> At Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication, journalism students are encouraged to "major" in something else, like marine biology, learn to write about the field for other publications and use photography skills to illustrate their articles.

I think that journalism is going to become more of an independent activity. You won't get a job, but will work for yourself.

If you look at a variety of new sources, I'm seeing more photos that are indirectly related to the stories that they illustrate. Stock photos that seem to be related are being used.
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Murfreesboro | TN | U.S. | Posted: 9:17 AM on 04.22.14
->> Do they talk about incomes in art or history classes? No. This is a freshman class. Talk about journalism, not the business of it.
Something I always wished I had learned in my classes was the step-by-step process of piecing together a story. Walk them through a hypothetical story, from the first lead to the last paragraph. How to frame it together, where to turn for more information, how to call people, basically just the evolution of a story.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 9:58 AM on 04.22.14
->> There are many opportunities for storytelling today. Actually there are more than ever before. They can do a story today and post it on the web and reach the world if they choose. The problem today is the revenue stream.

I would say the path is not the same for them as it was for you. It is no longer a well worn path, but there are more opportunities through organizations and corporations. Everyone is using storytelling today and even in advertising.

I would also communicate that they should see themselves as storytellers and not just a "photographer," writer," or "videographer." They need to see themselves as telling stories in any way they can make happen to reach the audience.

I would also tell them they need to become an expert in a SUBJECT that they would like to cover. They may want to work in the agriculture business and then they need to know a lot about it so they could help tell those stories better than others. Like many sports shooters some of them maybe athletes and that gives them advantage over non athletes that are sports shooters. Athletes are creatures of habit and a good athlete can anticipate because they understand the sport so well.

I would also tell them they need to know as much about good BUSINESS PRACTICES as how they tell stories. The reason is they are more likely to be a freelancer than on a staff. This is the trend for all companies and not just the newspaper industry.

Last and most important is for you to raise the bar of what will be required of them to do this and make a living. Ask them if what they are doing is really any different than what any of their potential clients could do themselves with their gear. Most every client will have the same gear or better than they have in their bag. Their stories should surprise audiences with something new and different.

Tell them to find a mentor and realize that when they leave the classroom they are not done with their learning, but just starting. It is a lifelong never ending learning curve. Once you stop learning you stop growing and the world will pass you by.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 10:02 AM on 04.22.14
->> I wrote two blogs on this and would recommend them for those speaking to college students.

Visual Storytelling: A college freshman has advantages over ...
Mar 29, 2012
So you want to be a photographer. I have some general suggestions after having written numerous students lately. I want to help others who want to become photographers. Freshman If you are reading this and you are a ...
http://blog.stanleyleary.com/2012/03/college-freshman-has-advantages-over.h...

When it comes to marketing: Act like a freshman and not a ...
Mar 23, 2012
Since most in the audience were college students I felt like the best illustration I could use was for all of them to remember what it was like as a freshman. How when they went to parties they had to go around and introduce ...
http://blog.stanleyleary.com/2012/03/when-if-comes-to-marketing-act-like.ht...
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Donald Montague, Photographer
Orlando | FL | | Posted: 10:59 AM on 04.22.14
->> I say you go out just like this guy at Georgia Tech did

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98nNpzE6gIs
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Chris Mackler, Photographer, Photo Editor
Arlington | VA | United States | Posted: 11:11 AM on 04.22.14
->> Double major in something other than journalism. Have a backup plan, for there will come a time when you will need to fall back on something else for financial support.
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Brad Mills, Photographer
Falls Church | VA | USA | Posted: 11:22 AM on 04.22.14
->> In my opinion, the great businessman/average photographer is usually more successful than the average businessman/great photographer (seems to be true for most professions)
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 11:49 AM on 04.22.14
->> Everyone else has already touched on the major points, so I'm going to offer:

Be a nice person. Be approachable, friendly, and personable, especially if you're good at what you do. Nobody wants to hire a jerk, even if they're a great photographer (and especially if they're a crappy photographer). You will have an easier time, and connect better with your sources, if you are genuinely interested in them and their stories. Arrogance will get you nowhere, while genuine humility will win you contacts, friends, and support.
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Joey Terrill, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | USA | Posted: 2:23 PM on 04.22.14
->> I believe that anyone who learns to use light well has a huge advantage over their competition. Light can help to tell a story, conceal what's irrelevant, or illuminate what's important. When it's combined with solid journalism skills, it makes a photographer that much more versatile and valuable to any publication.

Significantly, a photographer skilled in using light is relatively immune from automation the way that autofocus, autoexposure and high-speed motors has made follow-focus, manual exposure, and single framing much less of an asset than they once were.

Lighting requires effort, but it's an investment that pays dividends—today and in the future.
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Richard Uhlhorn, Photographer
Chelan Falls | WA | USA | Posted: 4:37 PM on 04.22.14
->> On the writing side let them know the importance of accurate quotes.
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Jim Colburn, Photographer
Omaha | NE | USA | Posted: 5:09 PM on 04.22.14
->> If you're a writer, learn to produce good photos and video.

If you're a photographer, learn to write well and produce good video.

If you're a film/video student, learn to write well and produce good photos.

If you're going into journalism, have a back-up plan.
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Wally Nell, Photographer
SAN DIEGO | CA | USA | Posted: 6:53 PM on 04.22.14
->> Lighting. In an age where every Jack, John and Jimmy has a pro camera, and selfies are the run of the mill, we photographers have to find a way to be different. With any reasonable camera and a bit of Photoshop, anyone can take a portrait and get reasonable results, well, most can. However, if you understand light, and if you understand how you can make shadow areas work for you in an image, perhaps you can set yourself apart from the moms and dads with cameras who only know point and shoot.

Tell them the importance of learning how to read light, and how to light a scene...
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Nik Habicht, Photographer
Levittown | PA | USA | Posted: 9:51 AM on 04.23.14
->> Directions to nursing school?

Maybe this: If you're here because nothing else will make you happy in life, then pursue it for all it's worth. If something else could make you happy -- go do that. The nursing school is located....
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 1:29 PM on 04.26.14
->> run like Hell!
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Marshall Wolff, Photographer
Framingham | Ma. | USA | Posted: 1:53 PM on 04.26.14
->> We all have a certain amount of skill level. If that skill level can get you a job making enough money to live, great. If not, maybe that job would be better part time. Nothing wrong with being a part time photographer/writer. You want to work to live, not live to work.

Just my two cents
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 12:55 AM on 04.27.14
->> It went over great! I just showed my work and many students found me after and told me they could understand a passion for real journalism.

I sat in the same chair (same classroom) about 8 years ago and they all enjoyed my stories.

I also told them to never say no to free cake or coffee.

By the way, this is the portfolio I talked about:

http://photographnic.photoshelter.com/gallery/Portfolio-to-Show-Students/G0.../
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Thread Title: What to tell a freshman class of journalism students?
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