Energy, Online

I spent this morning posting 16 video pieces my students did this past spring. For my Documentary Photography course, we focused on a theme for their final video projects, a theme based on just one word: energy. From there, I let them have at it.

The story topics are all over the place, from recycling to dairy farms, bike groups to elementary schools. Eclectic ties it together as much as energy does.

While the students had produced a smaller piece earlier in the semester, this is their first foray into video journalism. The first time they’d picked up a video camera, launched Final Cut Pro or thought about matched action and sequences.

Which raises a question as an educator: do I share what’s good in the classroom with the outside world? I firmly believe that an education is an on-going thing, that failure is an integral part of that experience, that mistakes teach us as much as successes, maybe more.

I also believe that journalism is a Public Act. That hiding it away in my classroom is a disservice to my students because it takes away that public role, it removes the audience from the experience. We start out the Introduction to Photojournalism course this way with in-class critiques – every image submitted goes up on the big screen and everyone comments on it. It’s how we learn.

There is no right way to commit journalism. Some of these pieces I’m really impressed by, but maybe you like ones that I think needed a little more effort. Find yourself an hour and a good wifi connection and take a look. Leave a comment there or here, I’m interested to hear what you have to say.

Mark E. Johnson

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