Participants at the two day multimedia journalism workshop organized by the United States Embassy earlier this month at the University of Technology, Jamaica left the sessions feeling that the time spent with facilitator Seth Gitner was very well spent.
Of the many titbits that attendee Ricardo Neil caught, one of the most salient was, “stay away from the cliché shots”. In addition to this, the photojournalism mantra that Neil took away was “fill the frame, control the background and look for moments”.
The workshop coincided with International Democracy Day on September 15, since a free and unfettered media industry is instrumental in maintaining Jamaica’s democracy. In the 21st century, this industry consists of independent journalists, students, bloggers and freelancers in addition to the mainstream media. This was reflected in the attendees that included noted bloggers Annie Paul and Emma Lewis – aka “Petchary”, human rights advocate Susan Goffe, media personality Maia Chung, and visual journalists Jermaine Barnaby and Gladstone Taylor. Journalism students of the Northern Caribbean University and the University of Technology, Jamaica were also in attendance.
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The variety of attendees reflected the dynamism of Jamaica’s current media landscape, which was noted by Joshua Polacheck, Counsellor for Public Affairs at the United States Embassy in Jamaica who stated that the
“transition to digital media is important for the preservation of Jamaica’s media industry, and the U.S. Embassy is happy to be partnering in this transition.”
Seth Gitner is Associate Professor at the Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University where he lectures in newspaper and online journalism; as well as multimedia, photography and design. Before he entered academia, Gitner worked at The Roanoke Times as the multimedia editor and as a staff photojournalist. He is currently the national secretary of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and is co-director of the NPPA’s annual Multimedia Immersion Workshop.
Article and Photos by photojournalist, Andrew Smith.