Photojournalism today: learn, practice, and be prepared

Mary Knox Merrill, Associate Director of Multimedia Communications and Staff Photographer at Northeastern University, visited class on Friday and shared her experience of photojournalism and multimedia.

Merrill started out doing photography, and then she saw the boom in the industry for multimedia, so she began to learn video shooting and editing. She spent five years as staff photographer for The Christian Science Monitor, travelling across the country and around the world taking photos and working on small documentaries.

Merrill pointed out that in today’s world, journalism students need to know how to do everything – not only to know how to write, but also to learn photo and video skills, to make themselves more marketable. As she mentioned, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) is a great networking source providing workshops and conferences that journalism students can take advantages of.

Merrill shared some useful tips for taking photos and shooting videos with the class. She suggested to be aware of lights, to take variety of photos (wide, medium, detail), to change perspective (low-angle, overhead, close-up), and to shoot different types of action and motion. Also, always to obey the rule of third is a must.

I think Merrill came up with a good point that it is important for journalism students and professionals to see what the need is in the industry and to make yourself as necessary as possible.

“You never know who is going to open a door for you,” said Merrill.

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