Photojournalism Class Writes Beats on Campus
By Cathy Zeltner
Writing and photographing for a newspaper can be an exciting career. The Photojournalism students here at Owens Community College are finding this out as they complete hands-on assignments. Lori King, the class instructor, also works for the Toledo Blade. Because of her experience, she knows what is expected of the students if they begin writing/photographing for a newspaper.
King came up with the idea to begin a beat system, where each student would cover a different program on campus. King said that while teaching the class in the past, students would become frustrated because they didn’t know where to begin when writing stories. She asked herself, “How can I make it so the students can be proud?” She saw how many “cool classes” Owens has to offer while covering stories for the Toledo Blade and decided to create this new system.
King wrote letters to the deans of each covered department to let them know about her new system, but it was up to the students to contact the dean and the teachers. The intent was to promote critical thinking and responsibility. King wanted to make it as close to real life reporting as possible.
At the current time, the Photojournalism class covers the Culinary, Dental, Art, Music, Nursing, and EMS programs. The programs covered will switch each semester. Students were able to choose from a list of programs according to which one interested them the most to cover all semester. “What I’ve seen from their Feature assignments… it’s fantastic,” Said King.
Student feedback is also positive. Ashley Bowers, who is a Journalism student said, “It’s really helping my degree.” Miranda Molyet, a Public Relations student said, “It made me realize that there is more to my major than meets the eyes.”
The program is not without some problems. Student Paula Taylor covers the Art program. She said that some teachers had a problem with her taking photos because they didn’t understand why she was taking them. But after explaining that this is a class assignment, most teachers are compliant. Taylor also said that she even had a student who she photographed tell her, “I feel kind of special.”
Samantha Ricker said that she had obstacles to overcome as well covering the Dental program. Because of patient confidentiality, she has to be careful not to include the faces of patients in her blog. But Riker has found ways to take the photo so that the patient’s face is hidden.
The class will be working on a class project to cover the Toledo Arson Fires. They are working with rustwire.com and arson investigators for the program, and Molyet follows Toledo Fire Departments tweets for the project.