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PHOTO 215 - Photojournalism and News Photography - Amy Tierney

Course:Photojournalism and News Photography
Professor:Amy Tierney
  • InPerson
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Bio photo of photography instructor Amy Tierney

Greetings!  I am Amy Tierney, an adjunct Photography Instructor and working professional photographer.  I welcome you to get to know more about my work and the skills I bring to this class by visiting my website

I am teaching this class because I am interested in introducing you to the ways you can be the most adept storyteller you can be via the knowledge and toolkit of a photojournalist.

Why do I care?  There simply are not enough trained storytellers in this visual age we are living in.  Many people have cameras in their pockets; but not enough of us photograph with the full comprehension of the various tools and roles required to tell the stories we choose (or are asked) to reveal.

I am so glad that you are interested in expanding your knowledge and what it takes to do the work of a photojournalist … and how that same work translates to other storytelling practices.

Course Description

Course Description & Format

Photojournalism 215 introduces contemporary photojournalism and news photography first by identifying and practicing with the camera equipment required, then through applications of theory and concepts of visual communication,  as well as the digital photographic processes required to edit news stories, photographic series, and photo-essays.  Specific assignments will include event, feature, news, sports and photo essay by requiring you to identify and photograph these examples in various communities or on campus.  It will be up to you if you want to photograph on campus news/events or in your community.  You will not be required to physically come to campus.

The course will require reading course materials, participating in discussions (group critique) and group activities, doing camera equipment and editing exercises, completing photographic assignments, quizzes and creating your photojournalism portfolio.  

You will find this photojournalism class useful if you:

  • Want to hone your visual compositional storytelling skills
  • Want to learn the equipment required to tell a photojournalistic or editorial story
  • Want to learn about current and historic trends of photojournalism
  • Want to expand your knowledge of the ethical standards of photojournalism
  • Want to work for a news or media organization

What to Expect in this Course

Course Length:

This is a sixteen (16) week full semester that meets in person. 2 days/week - Tues and Thurs on campus Mentry Hall 145.  10:30am-11:20, 11:30-12:50pm

The amount of hours required averages 12 hours per week.  You will need to calendar yourself successfully in order to read course materials, participate in discussions (group critique) and group activities, complete photographic assignments, do editing exercises with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, quizzes and create your personal portfolio.  The good news is you will photograph images for your final portfolio each week, so it is not one big project at the end; however, it is strongly recommended you are able to carve out the required 12 hours each week otherwise you will quickly fall behind, and I want you to succeed.

Upon successful completion, students will have a better understanding of photojournalism by expanding their knowledge of how the professional functions domestically and internationally, the tenets and various implementation tools (equipment: digital, video) of the practice, a developed critical assessment technique to use when producing photographs, and a final portfolio which exhibits at least two photojournalism stories.

Please note: Participants must possess strong, competent skills in the use of:   a digital SLR or mirrorless camera, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, a word processing software, and navigation and use of Canvas (to review and submit assignments).

Equipment / Technology Required:

Note: cameras, lenses and lights can be checked out from the Photo Equipment Room inside Mentry Hall:

  1. A digital SLR or mirrorless camera
  2. 2 interchangeable lenses (1 wide zoom: 16-35mm or standard zoom 24-70mm, and 1 telephoto zoom 70-200mm)
  3. On-camera flash (aka speedlite)
  4. Camera cards aka Memory Cards
  5. Computer with at least 3.3 Ghz processor and 16GM RAM
  6. Working WIFI
  7. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Video editing software (preferably Adobe Premiere Pro)
  8. Canvas application –  working knowledge to see and deliver assignments
  9. Word processing application – eg. Microsoft Word

Types of Assessments

Types of Assessments For this photojournalism class:

Discussion, Assignments, Group Critique, and Quizzes.  For critiques, each student will be required to reply online via their Canvas account to at least 2 other students’ work with five fully written sentences per reply, specifically critiquing technical skill, composition and actual real world news relevance of the photos presented.

Assignments and Exercises:  Weekly visual and written assignments uploaded to your Canvas portfolio, and lab exercises are graded on how well the specific practices have been completed along with written technical notes, explanations/captions/ etc uploaded to your Canvas portfolio.

Final Critique: Students will complete 2 separate photo essays that will be presented in the final days of class in the form of a professional portfolio.

The final grade will be derived from the following sources:

1. Discussion and Critique:  Students will be required to show their own work and effectively comment on the work of others.  For critiques you will be asked to review peers' work with at least 1 pro, 1 con, and 1 alternative approach about the work being presented.  These are graded.

2. Assignments and Exercises: Students will have weekly visual assignments that are graded on how well the specific practices are completed. Each assignment, unless otherwise noted, will be given a numerical grade.  Example assignments = create and prepare photographs and captions that communicate an intended story, show use of light in one scenario two different ways in order to show how that changes the story.

3. Quizzes and Exams: Students will be given several quizzes relating to the assigned reading and exercises. 

4. Final Project: Students will present and submit a final portfolio

Textbook Information

Textbook Information:

There is one required textbook for the course:

1. Understanding Photojournalism by Jennifer Good and Paul Lowe – which can be accessed via e-readers (as well as a printed version)

Additional course materials, such as the Photo Bill of Rights and The Associated Press Style Book will have required reading and will be located as links within your Canvas assignments.

Other Relevant Course Information

Course Start Date:

Please refer to the semester dates posted for Photo 215.  Look at the dates of the course carefully and compare it with your student load and personal responsibilities. Making and creating photographs in addition to the hours that comprise lab and assignment completion may be more hours than you can schedule at this time.  If you believe that this may not be an opportune time to take this course, please consider dropping the class and taking it another time.  Please note that a working knowledge of Canvas is recommended preparation for this course to view and review course work.  As is Adobe Photoshop, and Lightroom.

Canvas Course Software

The course is accessed via Canvas one week before the first day of the course. Follow the login instructions at the bottom of the Canvas log in screen.

Additional Notes

More information about the course will be detailed in the class syllabus, which you will find when you log into the course shell. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the course, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I look forward to starting this class with you very soon!

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

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Management of Stress and Mental Health

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Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

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Last updated: 10/09/2023 Sub#: 1309