Statement of 500 words or less about why you want to attend graduate school:
Photojournalism stands at a crossroad, currently struggling between the rise of new media and a sense of loyalty to print journalism. Newspapers continue to hold onto a business model that fails them, leaving journalists and photographers to forge ahead for themselves. I intend to be part of this generation that makes news photography a viable profession once again, that strives to marry the new media and the old into a visual experience that readers, editors, and journalists alike can agree upon.
I began the practice of photojournalism when thrown in as Photography Editor of Susquehanna’s Crusader, immediately confused and fascinated by the tendency of students to glace at our front page above-the-fold photograph and just as quickly recycle their newspaper. Yet when one student announced they had written a scathing editorial, suddenly newspapers would come out of recycling bins and debate ensued. In this situation our paper’s audience had to be informed of what they needed to read—our message clearly wasn’t being relayed properly.
Several steps later in my work as a photojournalist, I freelance for a local paper that I follow both through their website and on Facebook, but do not pay to read in print. As ironic as this seems, I do not feel that this method of finding the news cheats the system, as both online systems are advertised in the print paper and are available for free. Here newspapers still aren’t helping themselves, and the choice becomes either help them learn or move to different media.
Stories continually break on the web, on television, even in magazines, and are gathered onto websites, books, and video. I feel that each of these formats is viable for photojournalists, provided that they are used efficiently.
I am applying for an MA in Visual Communication because I feel that a solid base in writing, journalism fundamentals, and media ethics will aid me in working with photography and pushing photojournalism to its greatest extent. My academic background in English and Music (as well as Photography) enables me to appreciate life as expressed through various media. Originally, I entered Susquehanna University as an education major, eager to share my passion for arts and learning with others. With time I realized that showing others the world through my lens was preferable to the red tape of public school systems. Photojournalism provides a unique experience of bearing witness to an event and then representing that event in a fair and accurate manner to the public. When executed correctly, we photographers can elicit a smile, sigh, debate, riot, or whatever is appropriate.
That being said, my professional background in customer service (as well as Photography) continually finesses my interpersonal actions. Each day, experience with people from all walks of life informs my worldview, stories I want to share, and the ways in which the public receives their information. Armed with an arts-diverse background, I know that an MA in Visual Communication will help me with my drive toward adapting photojournalism for the years to come.