This past Friday, Mary Knox Merrill, a staff photographer at Northeastern and former staff photographer for the Christian Science Monitor, came to speak to our class about visual journalism.
Merrill told us how she became interested in photojournalism, then showed us a few examples of the work she did while at the CS Monitor.
Although her primary job was photographer, it quickly became clear that Merrill did a little bit of everything while at the Monitor. A video slideshow she made in India with a local reporter showcased not only her photography skills but also her narration as well.
While many of her assignments took her across the globe, Merrill was also quick to point out that photographers can still find good pictures and stories . Merrill showed the class a video she shot, edited and narrated about a Cyclocross event in Gloucester, MA.
I like that this form of visual journalism is different than broadcast journalism; there’s no anchor setting up the story, and no one is seen asking the subjects questions. This form of visual journalism allows the people to tell their own stories. The narration seemed to add just enough detail to help the story flow without being overbearing.
I believe this type of journalism can tell a story as well as a traditional newspaper piece. Though there are very talented print journalists who can describe events, people and scenes vividly and eloquently, I think practically any story could benefit from this type of visual storytelling.
It is important that traditional journalists see the value that different types of presentations can add to a report. In such a fast-changing profession, it is important to work together than to see each different type of journalism as worse or better.
Merrill left her best advice to the class for the end of her presentation when she said: “The more tools in my toolbox I’ve got, the better off I’ll be.”