What Is Photojournalism?

Photojournalism is the use of images to tell newsworthy stories. Photojournalism uses the medium of photography as the main story telling device. While a journalist uses their pen and paper to tell stories, a photojournalist will use their Photojournalism is the process of story telling using the medium of photography as your main story telling device. While a journalist will use their pen and paper to tell stories, a photojournalist uses their camera to capture the visual representation of a story. It is a process of visual storytelling which is also one of the pillars of journalism.

We all take photographs of ourselves with our phones or any camera. But there is a big difference between documenting our daily life using the camera and the work of a photojournalist. Nick Mastrini captures the big difference in ordinary photographers and professional photojournalists in an article posted on Medium.com. According to Mastrini,
“Anyone can take a photo at any point in their quotidian life. The internet has allowed us all to document existence as it happens, but are we documentarians?
Maybe, to an extent. We document the facts of our own lives, through our perspective — the smartphones we use are an extension of ourselves, a third eye. We’re all amateur photojournalists, visualizing our autobiographies.
But the role of the professional photojournalist is more crucial than ever; they must go beyond their own life, and capture what a human eye can’t — or neglects to — see. While personal technology enables us to find a comfort zone, photojournalists step into the unknown to allow us to discover new worlds, rather than the ordinary, almost repetitive world seen in Instagram feeds and Snapchat stories.”
Photojournalism is a serious aspect of journalism profession in any society. It is one of the most exciting and essential genres in photography. Unfortunately, it tends to be suffering the same fate as newspapers and most other print media in an era of social media dominance. News agencies are relying more on content they can find on social media, and not so much on paying a freelance photojournalist to cover their stories. But photojournalism is still very essential in serious journalism practice.

The history of photojournalism is very interesting. Jessica Stewart’s article posted on Mymodernmet.com provides exciting insight into the history of photojournalism. This specialized area of reporting has its roots in war photography, with Roger Fenton pioneering the field during the Crimean War. Fenton was the first official war photographer, shooting images that demonstrated the effects of war. His work was published in the Illustrated London News, bringing these images to a mass audience for the first time.

 

 

 

 

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

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