U of Montana High School Journalism Day: Visual Journalism Resources

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By Ron Reason
T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor, U of Montana School of Journalism, Spring 2015

Following are some quick links to explore, particularly for students attending my presentation “Creating Visual Journalism” at High School Journalism Day at the University of Montana School of Journalism, Thursday, April 9, 2015.

Part 1: COOL STUFF HAPPENING AT THE U OF MONTANA J SCHOOL

The campus newspaper, the Montana Kaimin, is being totally reinvented in Fall 2015 as a color newsweekly magazine! (Staff has been actively working on plans and designs behind the scenes since early this year.) They will also accelerate publishing daily on the web, including interactive storytelling, and are active on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Check them out to see the kinds of cool stories they publish across all media. UM may have as many opportunities if not more than any other school in the country for students to get published, in print, online and on the air, including some you can find nowhere else such as Native News and Montana Journalism Review magazine. Check those out here.

Wondering where Grizzly grads are getting jobs, and how they are adapting to this crazy disruptive world of journalism and change you have been hearing a lot about?

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 8.16.32 AMOur class, J494: The Pollner Seminar – Critical Thinking About Design and Disruption, was curious about this too, so we did a research project connecting with recent grads. You can download or read online “We ARE the Disruptors,” a 20-page eBook (at left) our class published at the start of the semester. We found that disruption is not totally a bad thing, and in fact, our Grizzly grads report they are finding jobs in a variety of cool places, and thriving – even in newspapers. (But be ready to produce news across all media, and to do it “digital first” – that’s what employers are demanding, and that’s what our J school prepares you for.)

Enrolling here this fall? Great news for you. The U of Montana School of Journalism has a unique bonus resource to complement its already distinguished faculty: the Pollner Professorship. The fall professor each year is a renowned expert in the craft of reporting, and for Fall 2015 that will be Kevin Van Valkenburg, ESPN reporter, Griz alum, former Kaiminite and prolific Twitterer. He’ll bring expertise in magazine and online journalism and social media. I’m currently the first Spring Pollner Professor, which is focused on visual journalism, digital journalism or the business side of the news industry, and for Spring 2016, that seat will be filled by multimedia/photojournalism expert Sally Stapleton. She’s helped the Associated Press will 10 Pulitzer Prizes for photojournalism, is an expert in multimedia and mobile storytelling, and has started a journalism college in Rwanda! J-students will have a chance to apply for a spot in their classes; all students working on the Kaimin get lots of mentoring from the Pollner prof.

Part 2: RESOURCES FOR SPECIFIC CRAFT AREAS

If you like magazine design, check out RobertNewman.com and his related site, Newmanology, the website of legendary creative director and great guy Robert Newman. Following him on Twitter @Newmanology. (He’s going to visit our class later this semester!) Still want more mag cover inspiration? Prepare to have your mind blown by magazine covers around the world at CoverJunkie. (On Twitter here, too.) My blog has dozens of posts about magazine design as well; browse them here, including a post from this year about my redesign of Champion: The Magazine of the NCAA. The biggest association of magazine design nerds is the Society for Publication Designers; it’s pretty New York City-centric, but has some inspiring stuff to check out.

Newspaper design will be around for a few more years at least. Check out hundreds of page designs from a wide variety of newspapers - and magazines - around the world.

Newspaper design will be around for a few more years at least. Check out hundreds of page designs from a wide variety of newspapers – and magazines – around the world.

For newspaper design (yes, it’s going to be a thing for a while longer!) as well as web and mobile design, visit the Society for News Design. Explore lots of newspaper and magazine page design galleries can be found at my Flickr page, here. Browse through dozens of my blog posts about newspaper design and redesign here, including lots of stories of people doing interesting things to keep print alive! One of my most fun (and successful) newspaper redesign projects is the Chicago Reader. You can browse my blog posts on that project with lots of visual samples here.

More interested in digital? The Online News Association has lots of web design resources as well.

Want to learn more about color use in publications? There’s a science and an art behind it! This free online tutorial from The Poynter Institute’s NewsU takes about an hour, and is actually fun.

An illustrative style of storytelling some call "comics journalism" has gotten some notice of late. Link here to see some recent samples.

An illustrative style of storytelling some call “comics journalism” has gotten some notice of late. Link here to see some recent samples.

If you like to draw and tell stories more like a graphic novel, in a style some call  comics journalism, it seems print publications are experimenting more with these styles. Visit this post on my blog to see how a variety of different publications have used the technique recently.

Want to learn more about typography in news design? NewsU has a fun and free online tutorial for typography, too. Takes about 3 hours to do the whole thing, but quicker and cheaper than going to art school! (Don’t have any art or photos? Sometimes you can tell a story just with dramatic type. Check out my album of “type attacks” that show how to do just that.)

“Alternative story forms.” What’s that? Well, it’s a fancy way of saying “design stories in a shape other than a simple headline and a big long chunk o’ gray text that readers may not want to read.” Here’s another free NewsU tutorial online on creating interesting story forms.

Want to learn more about photography and video? NewsU has a tutorial, “Language of the Image,” that will make you a smarter and more articulate user of imagery. Of course you should follow the Lens Blog of The New York Times. Explore the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), and you may want to join up as well.

Interactive graphics can tell stories with more immediacy and impact than text alone, as is the case here with a graphic showing homes in the path of a Washington mudslide. Click to experience the full graphic, produced by Larry Buchanan and team at The New York Times.

Interactive graphics can tell stories with more immediacy and impact than text alone, as is the case here with a graphic showing homes in the path of a Washington mudslide. Click to experience the full graphic, produced by Larry Buchanan and team at The New York Times.

Looking for state-of-the-art multimedia graphics and interactive storytelling? Check out Larry Buchanan’s collection of his (and his colleagues’) work at The New York Times. (He’s visiting our classroom at U of Montana today, via Google Hangouts. Stop by to hear him speak and see his work.) In my view, every visual journalist needs to start an online portfolio as early as possible while in college, and build as you go; Larry did, and just a few years into his career, his personal website is a great one to aspire to.

Aren’t quite sure what you want to do in journalism, but you’re interested in the news, informing the public, and making a difference? And want to work in the fast paced world of a newsroom? If you have an eye for detail, accuracy and organization, you may be more of a copy editor type – check out ACES, the American Copy Editors Association. You’ll be glad you did! Smart copy editors are jacks-of-all-trades, and typically have no problem finding work in journalism.

Thanks for joining us for High School Day. Any questions about careers in visual journalism? Email me at ron (at) ronreason.com.

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