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Photojournalism

The CIR Is On It: Telling the Story of Solitary Confinement for Teens Over, and Over, and Over Again

CIR the boxThis week, the Center for Investigative Reporting released a print story, a short animation, and a photo essay about solitary confinement for adolescents in the U.S. prison system. That’s in addition to a NewsHour and a public radio piece released last month and to a yet unreleased half hour documentary and graphic novel. By the end of the month, there will be around 10 pieces of the adolescent solitary confinement story circling you on one form of media or another.

It’s enough to make you rethink what you’ve been reporting on all year. CIR reporters Daffodil Altan and Trey Bundy started over a year ago trying to gain access into prisons and report on conditions for teens. Altan says that the access issues surrounding the story seemed “almost insurmountable” at a certain point. Instead of being deterred, they pressed on and worked on thinking of different ways to handle the content. Says Altan:

We started of thinking of ways to tell the story even though we were dealing with essentially invisible sights. That’s  where the idea for the animation came up. We had met this very compelling young man in New York who told us about his experience at Rikers very powerfully and we had all this tape of him…we decided to try to take 3 hours of interview and see if we could carve that into something smaller and with a narrative arc.

And so the reporting team of two or three turned into a team of somewhere around 15-20, according to Bundy. Bundy says that as they are reporting they’re “always having conversations about what else we can do besides what we’ve already settled on.” In this case, there was a written story in mind, with photos to boot. But a colleague who acts as a liaison between the CIR and KQED “heard radio all over this,” says Bundy. When New York State started talking about banning the practice of solitary confinement for teenagers, NewsHour suddenly wanted the story sooner. “That wasn’t always supposed to be the first piece that was released on this,” Bundy adds. Having the story told across platforms means you reach more people. Says Bundy, “There’s some overlap between people who listen to public radio or watch NewsHour, or read Medium, but it’s not total overlap. The benefit of having multiple platforms is that you are going to catch multiple, different types of audiences, hopefully.”

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Where to Get Free or Low-Cost Digital Journalism Training

dig. journ feat picNeed to brush-up on your digital journalism skills? You might want to check-out some free or low-cost, online courses being offered within the next few months.

The Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley is always a good bet for training as is the Society of Professional Journalists and of course, Poynter’s News University. Read more

New Media Resources for Journos

journosources

“Anyone mourning the ‘death of journalism’ based on the closure of a few newspapers hasn’t been paying attention,” begins journalismdegree.org’s latest feature on new media resources. We couldn’t agree more! (Full disclosure: We’re honored to be featured in the piece). With 105 sites/tools/resources for traditional and new media journos alike, it’s definitely worth a bookmark. The feature covers ‘General New Media Journalism,’ ‘Digital Storytelling,’  ‘Interactive Media’ and ‘Video and Photography.’

Check it out here.

Introducing Columbia Visuals, A Viz Journalist’s New Best Friend

columbiaIf a picture is worth a thousand words, then a blog covering all aspects of photography is pretty much priceless.

At least that’s what the Digital Media department at Columbia Journalism School is aiming for with its new project, Columbia Visuals. This new blog is meant to give advice for all visual journalists an online home. Basically anything that affects your career as a photographer or videographer — everything from copyright information and inspiration for great storytelling to practical tips on how to cover high-stress events like protests, for example — is fair game for Columbia Visuals.

Yesterday I spoke with Abbey Adkison, the Digital Media Coordinator at the NYC-based, storied journalism school (where she is also an assistant adjunct professor) about the blog, which just had its official launch Sept. 16.

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How the Chicago Sun-Times Photographer Layoff Created Two Unique Blogs

rahm front pageThe Chicago Sun-Times has been without its 28 full-time photographers for roughly four months now, after announcing a shift toward more video content and an all-freelance photography department.

The day after the layoffs were made public, former Sun-Times columnist and current Time Out Chicago media columnist Robert Feder broadcasted on Facebook that the struggling paper planned to train its reporters on “iPhone photography basics” to avoid any lack of visual content. There were protests. Some readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions.

So the question is… how are things in the photography department at the paper these days? Well, over the last couple of months, two photojournalists started blogs to chronicle life after the layoffs.

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