Assignment and Welcome

We are almost there … seven days from now we shall gather in the photojournalism lab and begin a long discussion about visual journalism. Everything is changing, everyone needs to adapt. Old ideas are faltering and new ones fail at an alarming rate. It’s a great time to be a journalism student – you can experiment with no consequences. You’ve all be in one of my classes already, so you know the drill – this is not a class about grades, it’s a class about learning. Come to class with questions every week, come to class with ideas.

I’ll be crafting the formal syllabus over the next few days and posting that online, but here are a few things I’d like you to take a look at before we start class:

  • Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive by Mark Briggs – this is a free PDF that you can download and read pretty quickly. Some of the material we have covered in other classes, but some of it will be new. It’s an excellent primer for the semester.
  • The Reporters Guide to Multimedia Proficiency by Mindy McAdams – another free PDF download, this one based on hand outs from Prof. McAdams down in Florida. The two of them should be required reading of every journalist and journalism student.

Aside from the video work, all of you should know everything in those two readings. They’re short and easy reads, but don’t leave them until Thursday morning, okay?

I’m going to make a couple of book recommendations, too. There’s no required text for the class, but the first of these will make your life much, much easier. The others are good resources to get you thinking about multimedia storytelling.

  • The Visual Quickpro Guide to Final Cut Pro 6 by Lisa Brenneis – note that we’ll be working on FCP 6, not the current FCP 7. This is an excellent reference and tutorial book and covers everything you’ll need to know about video editing for this class. You can find it on Half.com for around $22.
  • Multimedia Journal by Richard Koci Hernandez – this is a great inspirational book. It’s a little pricey at $37 but I go back and reread it every few weeks. (It’s kind of short.) We are going to spend a lot of time talking about practicing our craft this semester, this will help guide you tremendously.

We’ll provide you with all the cameras, lenses, tripods and cables you’ll need for the semester. You’ll have a still photo kit assigned to you on Thursday that includes a Canon EOS 30D (read the manual, make your life easier), three lenses (17-40 mm f/4.0, 50 mm f/1.8 and 70-200 mm f/2.8), a 580 EX flash, off-camera cord, audio recorder and mic. You’ll need to provide one (or more) Compact Flash cards totaling at least 2 GB of storage, more will make you happier. You’ll also be trained on how to use our Sony HVR-A1U HDV cameras. (We have eight of those for checkout.) We may play with some other things, as well.

I am going to strongly recommend that you have a portable, bus-powered, 7200 RPM, FireWire hard drive of at least 160 GB in size. You can keep your video files on the lab computers, but remember there is no guaranty that they are secure. The crushing feeling of lost video projects is unbelievable. Pay attention to those specs – you don’t want to be carrying a power supply around with you, it needs to be a fast drive to keep up with video and it cannot be USB – it must be FireWire (400 or 800, we can handle both).

Other World Computing makes some good drives. LaCie has a ruggedized drive. And G-Raid drives are highly regarded in many circles, as well, but get pricey.

I’ll make some other recommendations on stuff you’ll want to get on day one, as well. But for now, go read. Go look for great multimedia stories that are told well. I’ll post some recommended watches on Monday.

Happy New Year, guys – it’s going to be an energetic semester.

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