Friday, August 31, 2012

Introducing phoneography to the photojournalism curriculum

       A screen grab from Sam's cell pix on Twitter.  
   I introduced a new assignment on cell phone photography this week, and it was about time.
  Cell phone photography has become so popular in the 21st Century that it can no longer be ignored by photojournalism educators. Since the first consumer camera phone was released by Sharp in 2000, it only took seven years to reach a billion devices. By 2009, there were 4.6 billion mobile phones subscriptions (  
   Can you imagine a college student without one?
   Since nearly everyone has a mobile phone, I think it's safe to say they outnumber traditional cameras! All eight of the students in this class have cell phones, and nearly half of those are iPhones. So it's not a big surprise that they all use their cells to take photos.
  Yes, it’s time cell phone photography is covered in photojournalism classes everywhere!
  Using a cell phone to capture images is convenient for several reasons. First, it’s accessible. Cells are always in our pockets, purses and backpacks. We never leave home without them. Secondly, they are convenient; small enough to hide, and light enough to carry 24/7. But what’s really important is the ability to instantly share images using social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter.
   Together we are learning about cell camera apps, tools and features. There’s a lot to learn, but each student brings their own experience to the table. We also had a guest speaker tout his newspaper’s Mobile Blog, which is a trendsetter in phoneography. Enoch Wu demonstrated his ability to shoot and send an image to Twitter via his cell without needing a computer.
   The students are required to tweet five cell phone photos throughout the semester. Each photo must have enough caption information to explain the photo. We also viewed a tutorial by Richard Koci Hernandez.
  I'm happy to witness students, like Sam Ricker, are already tweeting cell photos and experimenting with different apps! I think it's going to be a very successful assignment, and one that's here to stay.

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