Urban Journalism: A 48 Hour Crash Course in Multimedia

By Jennifer Janviere

UJW students learn multimedia

UJW students at work. Photo by Mahdi Gransberry.

Summer is officially here, and for the Diederich College of Communication that means the arrival of the annual Urban Journalism Workshop. Every year in late June high school students from all over the country arrive on the Marquette campus to get a crash course in multimedia journalism.

This year, I have the opportunity to work with the UJW group first hand. Although the workshop has a reputation for attracting a group of bright, ambitious kids, I’ll admit I went in not fully knowing what to expect. It is summer vacation, after all, and for many students the last place they want to be is in a classroom. Still, I entered the week looking forward to the chance to teach photography, video and audio skills (something I love to do) to a group I’d never met before.

The experience of working with the students surpassed any expectations I might have initially had. After listening to a morning briefing about the do’s and don’ts of photography and a tutorial digital camera basics, the group went out to put their new skills into practice. When they returned a short while later and we looked at everyone’s photos as a group, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The practice photos showed a lot of promise: examples of lighting techniques, depth of field and the ‘Rule of Thirds’ were all evident. The students had really listened and put what we’d discussed into practice. For an instructor, this is the most gratifying part of the job.

For many of the workshop participants, this was their first venture into digital photography. I was encouraged by the number of people who, after the class that day, expressed interest in photojournalism as a potential future career. I was also happy to overhear a few of them talking about taking the equipment back to the dorms for more practice that evening.

See photos by the 2010 Urban Journalism Students on our Flickr page.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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