Photojournalism major offered for the first time

St. John’s now offers the option to major in Photojournalism and  is the only school in the Metropolitan area to offer a Bachelor’s degree in the field. The program is endorsed by The New York Daily News as well as the prestigious Magnum Photo Agency.

Students enrolled in Photojournalism classes will have the opportunity to take a trip to both agencies and work with professionals in they choose to specialize in that degree.

The major is a part of the College of Professional Studies, and was spearheaded by Professor Richard Rex Thomas.

“Photojournalism is a photography degree set up in a way so students can do all sorts of photography: commercial photography, art photography, etc.”

The degree focuses on learning what makes a photo newsworthy, the aesthetics of each photograph, altering photos using programs such as Photoshop, and how to create a story to let readers know what’s going on in the photo and to draw them into it.

“Photojournalism is not dry, it’s an art form. A good photographer is a good photojournalist” said Professor Thomas.

Junior William Giron is enrolled in the Photojournalism class this semester.

“It combines creative freedom and professionalism,” he said.

Students in the program also take classes such as documentary film-making.

“It’s a well rounded degree that helps give you a nice resume to help make you an attractive candidate in the workplace” Professor Thomas said.

Students enrolled in the major must also take print journalism classes. Thomas said that the major is encompasses a varying degree of media skills.

“The degree responds to how the field of photojournalism is practiced today. You need to have a lot of skills such as video editing, multimedia, as well as know how to write as a journalist,” he said.

Ralph Bristout said he was more interested in the journalism aspect of the class, and was at first skeptical about taking pictures. However as he progressed he found a passion for photography and never stops learning new tricks to adjusting his style.

The classes build skills such as altering photos, learning what distance to take the picture from, and framing. The classes  incorporate the skills required specifically in the field of taking photographs for media outlets.

Senior Jessica Rodriguez  works with a point and shoot camera in the class and expressed her love for the art.

“If you’re thinking about taking the major there’s only one thing that you need to bring with you besides a camera: a passion for photography. I’ve gained a new respect for photographers,” she said, “Everything I learn here is all new to me.”