Thursday, March 12, 2015

Do you know your FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS?????

 The First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As American citizens, we tend to take our First Amendment rights for granted. The only time we think about it is when someone is trying to take them away. 

How lucky are we that we live in a country where we do have the freedom of speech, the right to PEACEFULLY assemble and protest if that is what we want? I confess that I didn't have to truly worry about those precious rights until I started my journalism career. When you write, there are many people who will want to silence you. 

Not the best example but last year for a class I had to write on a meeting at the Birmingham Historical Museum. During that meeting, a shouting match ensued. A very heated shouting match that could have turned into fisticuffs if the median age wasn't over 60-years-old. Now, this is very minor but afterwards, I was politely asked not to publish what happened. WHAT????? Over a squabble? 

Now, this is not even close to being censored by the government, but these are things that you will encounter as a journalist/photojournalist. There is not one person/organization/government or business who wants anything negative made privy to the public. I wouldn't want it. 

Be truthful in your reporting, do not write with malice in your heart. IF you are not credible, what good are you? We are here to protect the public, to inform. If it were not for journalists/photojournalists, the government's of the world could do whatever they wanted. 

Captions.... A picture is NOT worth a thousand words

     Photojournalism is not just about taking pretty pictures. If you take this word apart, it is photo.. journalism. JOURNALISM!!! A photojournalist must have great writing skills and nowadays, journalists must have good photography skills.  

     An example of A well written caption from Life Magazine 1963.

Larry Burrows—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
"A captured Viet Cong kneels in terror as Vietnamese guard threatens him with bayonet. The guard demanded to know where arms were hidden. No reply. The guard let him go to a prison camp unharmed. In interrogating prisoners each side in the Vietnam war occasionally resorts to terror."

     Read more about this picture series at :Vietnam 1963: LIFE Magazine Color Photos From a Deepening Conflict |

     The popular saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" is, well, technically not true. Use this picture for an example.  You see the man on his knees with anguish on his face and fear in his eyes. IT looks like he is saying no, but we wouldn't know without the caption. What about the man with the knife? WHO is he? WHERE is he? WHAT is going on? WHEN was this picture taken.

     Research has shown that pictures and graphics attracted the most attention and were looked at first. Then headlines and advertising and then text. Now you know why captions are so important.

     Captions can be one word or a mini-article if it is not accompanied by a article. Check your facts, this is journalism and if you get the names etc. wrong, you are in big big trouble. Quotes can be used as a caption but please do not use humor unless it is definitely warranted. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featuring the not so featureable....

     Can I tell you a secret? I might be a closet narcissist.  Before taking the photojournalism class at Wayne State University, I knew, just knew that I was a good photographer. I was wrong. The problem is manual mode and I freaked out on this feature assignment and I was not alone.

     When using your camera on manual there are three things you have to worry about. F-Stop, aperture and shutter speed are a must to master and unless you are using a program or the automatic setting, there is no way that you can take an in focus, well-lighted picture without them.  Consequently, these are not amazing but they are the best I could do with the tools I have at this time. 

Melissa Malfroid teaches the basics of painting during Painting with WSU at the Majestic Cafe in Midtown Detroit.

Derett Guyton, a sophomore media arts major and Jada Johnson, a sophomore theater arts major, attends Painting with WSU at the Majestic Cafe in Midtown Detroit.

William Alexander is Parlimentarian in the WSU student senate and is pursuing departmental honors in secondary Spanish and English as a second language education in the College of Education. Budget cuts was the main topic concerning the different schools and the meeting was held at the Undergraduate Library. 

Sophomore Joe Fresard, representing the law school for WSU's student senate meeting at WSU's Undergraduate Library. He is a law student at Wayne State University and is from St. Clair Shores.