Lessons

What Does a Photojournalist Do?

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A public park is seen from above in San Francisco. California is a major center for the development and manufacture of military UAVs–Genderal Atomic builds its Predators and Reapers in the state–and the Bay Area in particular is hub of the expanding consumer-drone market. Image by Tomas van Houtryve. United States, 2014.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Whaling captain Isaac Killigvuk out hunting seals in Point Hope, Alaska in June 2015. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

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James Foley, photographed in Syria in 2011. Image by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP. Syria, 2011.

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Flying into Kotzebue, Alaska, on May 8 (left) and on June 14. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

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Whaling captain Isaac Killigvuk in Point Lay, Alaska, on May 11 (left). Eddie Lisbourne in Point Lay on June 16. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

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The native village of Point Hope, Alaska, on May 9 (left) and June 16. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

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A polar bear hide dries in Point Hope, Alaska, on May 9 (left) and is seen again on June 15. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

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The Chukchi Sea on the coast of Point Hope, Alaska, on May 10 (left) and on June 17. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

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Whale bones in Point Hope, Alaska, on May 8 (left) and June 16 at the site where the annual feast marking the end of the whaling season is held. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

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Whaling captain Isaac Killigvuk hunts geese in Point Hope, Alaska, on May 11 (left). Killigvuk hunts seals in Point Hope on June 17. Image by Katie Orlinsky. Alaska, 2015.

Photojournalism is journalism that uses images to tell a story and has played a large role in documenting events, including wars, to unique cultures in distant lands. It is a career that is threatened by the decline in magazine & newspaper industries as well as the plethora of cameras & smartphones now in the hands of the general public. 

Photojournalism still plays a very important role in documenting stories that need to be told, and despite more and more publishers and broadcasters using user submitted photos, many of the photos you see in news stories were taken by a professional. As technology changes and the consumption of media changes, photojournalists will find ways to support through their careers in new and interesting ways. A few examples of recent changes in journalism include:

  • Web-based crowdfunding of niche photojournalist projects
  • Photojournalists telling stories via video as mini-documentaries
  • Self-publishing books and e-books

To further explore this career, watch the two videos below and read the 4 articles in the resource section.

How photojournalists view their jobs

One photojournalist describes the dangers of her job and how it affects family life

Educator Notes: 

This may be a useful lesson for teachers who want to expose their students to different careers. 

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