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Course : Photojournalism

Course Number
MCOM 3103
Section Number
Fall 2022
Fain Hall, D202
Days & Times
Final Exam Day/Time


Prerequisite: none.

Introduction to creating storytelling images - print, online, and video. Includes camera operations, lighting, and composition.

Course will include image-editing software and discussion of the ethical and legal implications of photojournalism.


Jennifer Mason, in 2015, wrote: “A photograph itself is a kind of magic. In its simplest form, it captures a moment gone

and preserves a place and time unchanged on its two-dimensional plane. The mechanics of that alone are an astounding feat,

where the goal is the image produced and the subject is clearly framed and readily recognized.”

Zaklina Anderson wrote, “‘The idea of focusing on very small, everyday moments that can be easily missed is the very

basis of photography – the gift of observation is as important as that of creation.”

Photography is part journalism, part art. It’s painting with light. It’s capturing a moment in time for all eternity with

rapidly evolving technology. Each image is worth a thousand words. People really are better at remembering pictures than

words. Social media would be a bunch of gray space without photos. And the evening news, blah, blah, blah.

Your challenge is to harness that magic, to fill that blank canvas with a new creation with meaning, with a story, a story in



By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of the digital camera.
  2. Demonstrate mastery of image-editing software to prepare images for publication.
  3. Create compelling images that communicate the intended message.
  4. Utilize modern media techniques including social media and incorporation of still images, audio and video to enhance the value of a visual package.
  5. Utilize reporting and writing skills to produce fair and accurate stories and captions to accompany visual images.
  6. Evaluate images at multiple levels, including the technical aspects, composition and meaning.
  7. Discuss the legal and ethical issues relevant to photojournalism.
  8. Work successfully in a deadline-driven environment.

Assignment 1 — one photo of a student doing something with a caption printed from Adobe Photoshop

Assignment 2 — one photo illustrating slow shutter speed and one photo illustrating fast shutter speed; or one photo illustrating high depth of field and one photo illustrating low depth of field

Assignment 3 — frontlighting, sidelighting, backlighting: one photo of each that includes another student

Assignment 4 — student life behind the scenes illustrating rule of thirds

Assignment 5 — Homecoming: Each student is required to produce a portfolio of creative work (3-5 images); explore one part of Homecoming in some depth. Put photos in Google Slides show created for this purpose to present to class. Photos must be taken between Oct. 14-Oct. 29. This assignment is worth 25% of your grade including the presentation and one-page reflection.

Assignment 6 — shoot an environmental portrait of a current MSU student that isn’t in MCOM or enrolled in any MCOM courses, isn’t a relative, isn’t your roommate (nor or ever)

BONUS: Take a still life environmental portrait using wooden models

Students used for your assignments may NOT be MCOM students or students in this class.


60% Photo assignments (10% each)

20% In-class assignments (including participation, critiques, attendance, quizzes, other stories)

20% Final portfolio (with reflection)

Students are expected to be in class each and every time the class meets. Students will not be able to make up unannounced quizzes given in classes they miss. E-mail Dr. Wilson prior to the absence as a courtesy. Students are responsible for making up any work missed on their own time, working with classmates.

Students who miss class due to University-sponsored events such as field trips or athletics, should visit with the course instructor in advance and will be required to complete the assigned work on or before the due date. Students should submit an official notification form before the absence.

Please do not come to class if you are exhibiting signs of COVID-19 or the seasonal flu, particularly an actual fever. Work with your healthcare provider and the course instructor to determine the best course of action.

Exams (all of which will be available in D2L/Brightspace for an extended period of time), projects and stories with advance deadlines will not be accepted late. Plan ahead.

After a warning, a student with more than four absences may be dropped from a course by the instructor or summarily given a failing grade.

Late work receives a grade of zero.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MSUTexas e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and 2) earned 60 hours. Students may meet this requirement in one of three ways: by passing the Writing Proficiency Exam, passing two Writing Intensive Courses (only one can be in the core), or passing English 2113. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

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