See our other articles on this series below:
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (1): understanding the fundamentals of media
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (2): the elements of a news story
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (3): learning to write news copy (part 1)
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (3): learning to write news copy (part 2)
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (4): learning to research and identify sources of information
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (5): learning to critique the media and spot ‘fake news’
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (6): tips and resources for fact checking
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (7): covering magazines and feature stories
- Teaching kids how to start a newspaper (8): desktop publishing, design and layout training
In follow up to our series on teaching kids how to start a newspaper, this lesson will focus on photojournalism.
While we are now entering into the more creative aspects of the news media industry, we can’t forget that these are not just ‘fun’ topics (but they are, so enjoy them!). Creative parts of media publication and broadcasting still affect the consumption of news by the masses, and how we perceive the importance of certain news topics. Our exposure to imagery, or lack thereof, can shape our world perception.
For example, this article explains how strong imagery of a drowned boy escaping Syria began to change political policies around the world (despite that issue occurring for several months, if not years earlier). But when Boko Haram massacres 2000 people, we know little of it, and thus the world is not as outraged. Why is that?
And, society abounds with examples of celebrity photos and their influence on our buying decisions. Think: Sophie the Giraffe, an over-priced teething toy that got popular because celebrities started using it, and were seen with it.
And so, do our young students of today understand the way media imagery can influence their bias? We talked about bias on past resources in this series, which we encourage you to read up on (see links above). Today, we will learn how to teach kids about photojournalism, so they can understand the process that creates influence.
Learning outcomes of teaching photojournalism to students can be:
- Understanding the basics of good photography: composition, lighting, framing, cropping and so on.
- The difference between other types of photography and photojournalism.
- Knowing how to reveal emotion and induce empathy through photographic moments.
- Recognizing sensationalism, why it is used, and how to avoid it.
- Knowing the limits of photography, due to access, legalities and moral boundaries (such as taking public photos without consent, even if it’s legal).
- How photos and photo essays tell stories in themselves.
- How photos attract readership, and their ripple effects (see commentary and links above).
- How photojournalists turn photography into careers. Also, who are they?
- The technical tools used in photojournalism, and how to use them (types of cameras, lenses, software, etc. – this can also delve into a history lesson of photography technologies).
- Copyright laws and photography usage.
- The rights of photojournalists to take pictures, and how it affects democracy.
- Citizen photojournalism.
And possibly more…
See related posts on our blog:
- 4 ways in which going to the movies can be educational
- How to stir up career passion in your child
- The impact brands have on children
- 3 crucial reasons to teach art in schools
Finding lesson plans to teach photojournalism to kids:
Below are some lesson plans we’ve found to help you teach photojournalism to kids. You can adapt these, and also find ways to incorporate integrated topics or discussions.
Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion (MIT Open Courseware)
Restrictions on Photographing Sports Events (while this is a USA-based article, principles can apply to Canadians too, and in different contexts, not just sports).
A note about using tragic news photography in the classroom
To conclude, we want to let you know that some of the prime examples of photojournalism can be shocking – most especially because they depict the brutality of war victims. Above we mentioned the photo of a drowned Syrian boy that sparked public policy on the refugee crisis. To be frank, parents may not want their children exposed to the world’s perils in the classroom. These are extremely sad situations, and not all kids – regardless of age group – may be ready to see those realities. And so, before you use those types of examples in your classroom, make sure the parents know, and can speak up about it beforehand. Otherwise, use photo examples that won’t require an explanation on why the world is such a terrible place.