JMC 321 | Digital Photo Journalism | Fall 2019 | AUBG JMC |Professor Jodi Hilton

Classroom: BAC 003
Course time: Monday and Thursday 14:15-15:35
Office hours: Monday and Thursday BAC 308 Monday and Thursday 13:00- 14:00
Virtual office/email:

Syllabus is subject to change.

I. Course Description
The course explores the use of photography in journalism and multimedia storytelling. Students use the digital camera as a journalistic tool, exploring a variety of techniques to photograph and prepare images for use across media. Emphasis is on effective communication through single photographs and photo stories/essays. Students will be expected to present captions, and short stories/articles to accompany their photo assignments. The course includes discussions about trends in photojournalism and also deals with issues related to best practices and ethics in the profession. For the final project, students are expected to propose and execute a photo story or essay which relates to an important issue.

2. Learning Objectives ​
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Work independently with images
  • Think in terms of imagery, and analyze the visual impact of their work
  • Manage the basic technical skills involved in photography
  • Prepare and present a photo story with reporting and text to their peers and professors

3. Course Readings/Materials
Students are expected to be self-motivated to problem solve and learn software on their own using online resources to perfect digital skills.

We will a private Facebook group for the class which you are expected to join and follow. Class announcements, interesting events and other information will be related on that page. Readings (mostly web-based) and online media presentations will be assigned throughout the course .

Warren’s book Photography will be on reserve in the BAC Library. You will be expected to read and study some specific pages from that book.

Suggested Resources:
Adobe Lightroom tutorials
MediaStorm projects
Adobe Premiere Toolkit
Bulgarian Photography Now
Langford's Basic Photography
Nat Geo’s Guide to Photography
Ken Kobre’s Photojournalism: The Professional’s Approach

4. Equipment
We will be working with Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras and lenses. AUBG has several Nikon cameras and associated gear that can be checked out for two consecutive days from the OCC (MB Room 118). However, it will be easier if you have your own camera, in particular a DSLR camera with ability to control all functions manually with medium zoom lens or approximately 3 lenses (wide, medium and long) or a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.

You will need to have a USB-hard drive for this course, 1 TB recommended size (Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital are all known brands) formatted to EXFAT.

5. Course Requirements
In order to meet the requirements of this course, students need attend, participate, demonstrate effort and execute assignments according to deadlines. Students will come to the class with varying levels of experience. Students are expected to seek out online resources in order to keep pace with the class and to problem solve. Attendance is mandatory, because studying photography is a hands-on experience and much of learning takes place during class time discussions and critiques.

Your ability to meet deadlines is important training for real-world situations. In this class, you will be expected to turn in your work on time. Your ability to do so contributes to your overall grade for the course. Homework assignments must be submitted to the instructor by the indicated deadline. No late assignments will be accepted, except in extenuating circumstances (illness, for example) and this needs to be arranged with professor in advance, over email.

6. Grading
All work is due according to the given deadlines.

Attendance, class participation 10
Presentation – 15
Assignments – 45 (3 x 15)
Final project – 30 points

8. Course policies/Procedures
Photo assignments should be shot in RAW and exported as JPG. Photographs should be fully captioned in the file info fields. They should be size at 300 PPI and labeled according to this formula DayMonth/Year_Studentname_Assignmentname_number.jpg
example 050919_hilton_portrait_01.jpg
Assignments should be submitted to DropBox by 7 pm on the day before class time unless directed otherwise. You are responsible for backing up all your original raw files on your hard drive in an organized way. Folders should be named according to this formula: date_theme_type

example for RAW FILES
example for SELECTS

Your selected images should be filed to the appropriate DropBox folder for the course. All images should be properly captioned according to AP Style (who, what, where, when) in the IPTC metadata fields.

9. Academic Honesty and Professional Integrity
You are expected to be familiar with and adhere to AUBG’s policies as written in the Student Handbook. Violating university policies means you will be subject to the consequences outlined in the handbook. These may include failing the course or being expelled from the course or the university. If you plagiarize or fabricate material for this course, you will receive an F. The rules of journalism apply to this course. For this reason, you cannot alter images and reporting work must be verifiable and true

10. Your instructor:
Jodi Hilton is an American photojournalist and graduate of Colorado College and University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. She started off as a news photographer, producing news, feature, sports and photo stories for Chicago (USA) area newspapers. She has been a freelance (independent) photojournalist since 2001. She’s produced photographs and stories for US and European media outlets, NGOs and international organizations. She’s the co-founder of The Children’s Photo Workshop (for refugee children) and the founder/moderator of the Balkan Press Club, a logistics site for media practitioners across the region of Southeastern Europe. From 2010-2014 she lived and worked primarily in Turkey and the Middle East. Since 2014 she’s focused on Southeastern Europe and The Balkans. She’s a co-recipient of grants from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and The Robert Bosch Foundation Cross Border Reporting Grant. Her work was exhibited in Turin, Italy as part of the exhibition In Prima Linea: Women Photojournalists in War (2016) and in Tel Aviv, The Human Body as a Work of Art (2017). Her work is represented by NurPhoto Agency in Italy.

11. Tentative Schedule

Week 1. Sept 5

Forms, Roster

Intro to Instructor

Intro to Course

5 min break


5 min break

Group photo for Facebook


1. Google one of the photographs and find all the information and background you can about it and type up less than one page about the image.

2. answering two questions: What experience do you bring to the class and what do you hope to get out of it?

2. Download and read Beginner’s Guide and make sure you are familiar with basic camera operation. Write down any questions you have about camera operation and bring to next class.

Week 2: Sept 9-12


9: Discuss photos from last week’s exercise

What’s in my bag?

Bring cameras to class.

Questions about camera operation, practice in class.

Introduce Journalistic Portrait. (Tattooed Women of Kobani, MB Meehan)

Window/natural light

Assignment #1 Journalistic Portrait due Sept. 16


Lab: workflow (bring memory card with RAW images and hard drive to class) format HD, downloading, editing, toning and captioning J-portrait

HW: Final toned/captioned images to Dropbox with deep captions by 7 pm Sept. 15/bring images to class on flash drive

Week 3: Sept 16-19

Day in the Life

16: Deadline J-Portrait, visual language, how to critique

Assignment II: Day in the Life due 23 Sept.

HW: Review these narrative photo stories and be prepared (with notes) to answer the questions: What is the photographers’ working style? What is he/she trying to communicate? What is the value of publishing such a story?

Country Doctor

Ioanna’s Romanian Doctor

19: Lab: bring printed images from Day in the Life to class,

editing and sequencing images

Week 4: Sept 27/28

Opti: video stills, portraits

23: Deadline: Day in the Life

Assignment III. Assignment: I. News/Event Story

28: Presentations, Day in the Life

Assignment News/Event story

Ethics in Photojournalism:

Video, Amanda Mustard in Cairo

Discussion: working in dangerous conditions. How to prepare? Trainings, resources, networks.

Assignment News/Event story


Week 5: Sept 30-Oct 3

30: Deadline News/Event in progress

2: Deadline News/Event Story

3: Review News/Event Stories

Week 6 Oct 7-10

7: Presentations Photographers in the Field

10: Presentations Photographers in the Field

Week 7: Oct 14-17

14: Presentations continue:

In class Exhibition: Event Story

Visual Literacy handout; review and be prepared to use these terms in the next class.

Research Alex Nikolov and prepare questions for guest lecturer

17: Special Guest: Alex Nikolov; how to build a personal project


Altered images – Pick one, read the suggested materials and write a one-page analysis: what’s wrong with this picture?

Week 8: Oct 21-24

21: Discussion: Altered images


Introduce final project

Danial Shah’s portrait of Divided Family from Kashmir

Multimedia: Kinsley’s Crossing


Mustard’s tiger story

and reading: Magnum’s “Wear Good Shoes”


Books – Lightroom > Blurb, etc. (export to PDF, print locally)

Researching ideas, connecting with organizations, preliminary interviews, how to pitch, brainstorming issues, how to publish? Exhibit?

HW: Research and make a list of three issues that you might like to focus on for your final project ahead of workshopping session and how you would approach them.



Working in dangerous situations > resources for photographers

Ideas brainstorm session; working in groups

How to pitch

HW: Prepare pitches

Freestyle (phone) photography> Upload 5 to Instagram and tag #everydayeasterneurope or email to me, 1500 PPI

Fall Break 28- Nov 1


Week 10: Nov. 4-7

4: How to pitch, go over homework

Issue story> workshop ideas, work plans

Pitching session; workshopping.

homework 1.

2. Fact finding, Initial interviews for project, finding a subject, email professor an update on your progress by Wed. 6th at 7pm.

7: Go over findings from interview and develop story production and presentation plan. Pitches due on Sunday, Nov. 10th.

HW: Review Svetla’s Orlandovski project and watch

Yana’s Ted Talk

Prepare for special guest with questions

Week 11: Nov 11, 14

11: Pitch meeting with professor
HW: Progress update

14: Multimedia projects: Kingsley’s Crossing and MediaStorm

Bird Language: Alex Christie Miller

Shooting commences

Week 12: Nov 17-20

17: First view—bring computers to class: Workshopping preliminary shooting; feedback

20: Group editing and planning

Week 13

Nov 25-28

25: Publications/Preparing exhibition/group editing

28: Workshop Deliverables

Week 13: Dec 2-5

2: In Class Workshop; one-on-one with professor.

3: Deliverables Due: Prepare for Showcase

4: Showcase

5: Presentations 1st Group

Week 14 Last Class Dec 9

9: Presentations issue essay 2nd Group

Dec 13: (Final Exam Period) Presentations issue essay 3rd Group

Final revisions due at the end of day on the 16th of DECEMBER

Using Format