Wednesday, February 25, 2015

SHSU's GlobalCenter for Journalism & Democracy "Goes Local" with Our Journalism Teachers and Zoriah Miller & Dr. Marcus Funk

On Monday, the world of Global Journalism came to our neighborhood.

Really?!?!  Yes, Really.
Zoriah has used this camera to capture some of his highly regarded images.

Through a collaboration between Sam Houston State University's GlobalCenter for Journalism and Democracy (GCJD) and our Region 6 Education Service Center, journalism teachers from around our region got the chance to learn from experts in the field, enjoy a day of professional development and be inspired.

Zoriah began his workshop with a presentation of his work, 
which you can find at his website:
The GCJD, which usually trains journalists around the world (e.g. Lebanon, The Philippines, Poland) "went local."  They brought in Zoriah Miller (Zoriah), an award winning photojournalist whose work has been featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone among others and Dr. Marcus Funk, an assistant professor at SHSU,  the faculty advisor to The Houstonian and an a former journalist with extensive experience in community newspapers.

You can not escape the written word!
Dr. Marcus Funk, faculty member at the Mass Communication School
and advisor to SHSU's The Houstonian Newspaper.  

Dr. Funk started at the beginning- "What is Journalism?"  In this era of tumultuous change in both the business and the technology of Journalism, it's important to drill down to what "news" is at it's core.

Journalism teaches you to think critically, a skill needed now more than ever.

From there, the group explored ideas of community and the potential for journalism students to impact the community as they gain skills that will last their life times- regardless of whether they become practicing journalists.

In a thoughtful mood: Huntsville High's Lisa Black Fuller
takes in the discussion of the importance of journalism- it's about people.

To the question, 'Is it important to learn Journalism, even if you don't intend to be a journalist?'  Dr. Funk asks his own questions, "Is it important to learn to think critically?  Is it important to communicate with brevity and clarity?"  Learning is good for the students, and it's good for their future job prospects, too!

GCJD's Jesse Starkey writes down attempts at a "One word definition of news."

Dr. Funk had the students (read "Journalism teachers") give lede writing a try- it's hard fun.

Dr. Traci Seils, Componet Director of Region 6 and
Kelli Arena, who is the Dan Rather Endowed Chair of the Mass Communication School
and Director of the GlobalCenter for Journalism & Democracy

For Zoriah, photographs are "Pieces of Truth."

Zoriah has thousands of dollars of camera equipment available to him, but he doesn't discount any camera, including a simple point and shoot one he showed the class he purchased for about $70.00. (His primary camera is one he purchased for under $1000. )  Zoriah half jokingly recounted that out of his first 100,000 images, 20 were good.

Image Courtesy of Zoriah.
For him, it was (and is) all about practice, trial & error, getting feedback on your images and then going back out and taking more pictures.  He shared some very do-able exercises that will get the teachers (and their students) thinking in new ways and forcing them out of their picture taking comfort zones to stretch themselves.  How about a day of only photographing reflections?  Or for the more ambitious, how about spending the entire day with a grandma?  or a child?

Image Courtesy of Zoriah

Although Zoriah travels throughout the world photographing in developing nations,
he urges people to look around at their own communities (and own life) for stories to share.

Throughout the day there was a spirit of empowerment- although these folks are experts in their field, they firmly believe that Journalism (and Photojournalism) is open to all.

Wife and Husband and Teachers, too.
India and Robert Peden work together at Shepherd High School in Shepherd ISD

Dan Rather Chair of the Mass Communication School and Executive Director of the Center Kelli Arena and the GCJD brought Zoriah to SHSU for a series of workshops and talks this week, and our teachers really appreciated being included on his itinerary.  Thank you to everyone who made this happen, including Traci Seils at the Region 6 Education Service Center.

His subject matter is serious, but the mood of the session was light.
Clearly, he takes his work seriously, but not himself.
These must be Journalism teachers- we saw more cups of coffee than usual!

Zoriah with, "The Road," (27" x 40", edition of 8) from his collection of photos in Haiti.
The photo is by Anne Hughes, and you can see more of Zoriah's works at the Zia Gallery.

Usually behind the scenes and here in front of the camera.
Jesse Starkey is the Program Manager at the
GlobalCenter for Journalism & Democracy @ SHSU

On Tuesday,  we were at Mance Park Middle School and stopped by Shelley Petkovsek and Laura Campbell's rooms.  Both were applying some of the very lessons and strategies they learned the day before.

Shelley Petkovsek talks to her class about what she learned at school (professional development) yesterday!

Students in both classes were working on nuts and bolts lessons like lede writing, as well as some of the ethical issues journalists encounter.  It was remarkable to see such a quick turnaround and immediate application of the teachers' learning the day after the workshop.

 Zoriah concludes the Visual Storytelling Guide he distributed to our teachers with a call for all of us to forge our own paths:

It took me a lot of trial and error and 
many years to learn what I have shared with you, but I am no expert.  
The way I do things is not the right way and definitely not the only way.  
So go out there and forge your own path.  
Experiment with my way of doing things to get yourself started.  
Take what you like and let go of what you don't like.  
In the end, your own way of doing things will be what makes your work unique and interesting.

Now that's a banner headline!
Mance Park teacher Laura Campbell's assignment for this week.

Valerie, one of Shelley Petkovsek's Budding Journalists

Laura Campbell in her Video Media I Class earlier today.

Cody (front) and Ethan get down to lede writing.

Y'all ready to write a headline?  How about a lede?  Future Journalists line up.
(L-R, Christopher, Crystal and Hannia are ready to do this!)

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