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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This course is designed for journalism students to grasp the basic digital camera SLR skills in recognition that the ability to do journalism with a still camera is important in today's digital media world. They will also learn how to operate as entrepreneurial photojournalists working on independent long-term photojournalistic projects. Finally they will also gain skills in assessing, analysing and selecting photographs for news purposes that will empower them to act as informed editors and journalists when using visual media.

Learning Outcomes

1. Take technically competent and journalistically legitimate photographs using manual settings on a digital 35mm camera
2. Explain why one set of settings -- aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance-- was chosen over another set for the given image
3. Complete journalistic photo assignments, both self-assigned and assigned by an assigning editor, to entry-level professional standards
4. Demonstrate the ability to act as a professional journalist using a still camera as the primary tool
5. Write appropriate captions for news and newsfeature photographs

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22lectures and demonstrations
Lecture45practical photo assignments, shooting and processing
Assignment Completion58final photo story
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Week 1 Introduction
Students will receive an introduction to the module with detailed information about activities and assignments that they will need to complete. Basic introduction to camera equipment and policies surrounding borrowing and returning them will be communicated to the students.

Week 2 Exposure
Students will learn about Exposure; a critical element that determines what is actually recorded on a camera image sensor.

Week 3 Lenses and Focal Lengths + Proposal writing
Students will be introduced to Lenses and Focal Length, as well as how to write a winning Proposal and Project Statement. Persuasive, cohesive proposals are key to winning funding for artists/journalist/organisations from private foundations, the government and individuals.

Week 4 Composition and Light
The session this week will introduce students to fundamental elements of composition in photography and talk about the nature of light.

Week 5 Understanding Photojournalistic Practice
Students will receive an overview of the practice of photojournalism as it has evolved over time. They will also learn to differentiate between types of images that together make up photojournalism. Finally the question of why photojournalism matters in today's world will be discussed. Students will then work in pairs to study the news images of the day to identify the different types of images that make up the day-to-day photojournalistic offerings in the Global and Irish Press.

Week 6 Understanding Photographs
Students will be introduced to different ways meaning is transmitted through images. They will learn about the relationship of the composition of a photograph with the way they may be 'read' by learning about visual framing. They will also learn about the relationship of the apparent meaning of a photograph with the underlying social structures of knowledge. Working in pairs, they will then apply these visual analysis techniques to analysis of photographs published on that day in major news outlets in Ireland and elsewhere. Assignment 2 worth 50% of total assessment will be made available.

Week 8 Using digital social media images
Students will learn about using images from non-journalistic sources for journalistic purposes. They will learn about how images sourced from citizens can come to drive the news agenda. They will also learn how to verify images sourced from social media before using them for journalistic purposes. Based on these tools, students will work in pair to find, verify and prepare with journalistic caption a social media-sourced image of news value.

Week 9 Using a gender lens
Students will learn how to be sensitive to gendered representations in photojournalistic images they select or produce. As an example, they will learn about best ethical practices when it comes to photographing incidents of gender-based violence. They will also learn about gender-based visual stereotyping in news media. They will look at the case study of how different groups of women in the Syrian conflict have been stereotyped in news images. Based on this the students will work in pairs to identify and analyse the visual representations in the Irish Press.

Week 10 Visualising Difference
In this week, the students will learn how to produce and select photographs that avoid stereotyping of people who are visibly different and of distant societies -- particularly those embroiled in conflicts or crises. Students will learn from two case studies. The first case is a comparative study of news images of the Bosnian War and the Rwandan conflict. The second case will be a comparative study of images produced and selected by Western photojournalists to depict Afghanistan versus those chosen by Afghan photographers to depict their country. Students will also learn about the 'Breakfast Test' of gauging the graphic nature of images of violence. Students will then work in pairs to work as photo-editors. They will choose a news event of the day from a distant part of the world and will then use newswire databases (AP, AFP, Reuters and EPA) to identify and select appropriate imagery to accompany the news stories.

Week 11 Creation of digital portfolios
During our second last week, the students will work with the lecturer on editing and designing their photo stories.

Week 12 Creation of digital portfolios
During our final week, students will work together with the lecturer on editing and designing their photo stories.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Caple, H.: 2013, Photojournalism: A social semiotic approach., Springer.,
  • Impe A: 2019, Reporting on Violence against Women and Girls: A Handbook for Journalists., UNESCO, Paris,
Other Resources

0, website, Magnum, 0, Magnum Photos, www.magnumphotos.com, 0, website, VII, 0, VII Photo Cooperative, www.viiphoto.com, 0, website, LIFE, 0, LIFE, www.time-life.com, 0, website, FORMAT, 0, How to Become A Professional Photojournalist, https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/photography/how-to-become-a-photojournalist-guide,
Programme or List of Programmes