High School Photojournalism Programs

Michele Wanke
Teach teens the importance of photojournalism.

High school photojournalism programs have expanded exponentially in the last decade, thanks in large part to the growth of digital technology.

About High School Photojournalism Programs

High school photojournalism programs no longer simply involve compiling a student-run newspaper. Rather, high schools have evolved with the times. Many now offer legitimate courses in photojournalism. Gone are the days when secondary schools relied solely on film cameras, typewriters and large sheets of paper to generate photojournalism products. Today, hundreds of American high schools are equipped with the latest digital cameras, video cameras, scanners, tripods, and desktop publishing software. In some cases, schools even have fully functioning television studios.

It is not unusual to find students at a growing number of high schools producing online publications with timely updates of breaking news, reader response capabilities, and video and audio clips of local events. In some cases, teen photojournalists use their school's resources to collaborate with other students across town, across the country, or around the world to generate articles and share photos from events that would interest a global audience of teenage viewers.

High School Photojournalism Curriculum

Course objectives and curriculum vary widely with high school photojournalism programs. However, most high school photojournalism courses include instruction in:

  • Digital photography
  • Photo editing
  • Page design
  • History of photography
  • Techniques involving medium to large format cameras
  • Commercial photography
  • Scientific photography
  • Digital imaging
  • Remote transmission of photos
  • Media law and ethics

Top High School Photojournalism Programs

High school photojournalism courses have changed immensely in the last 10 years. Fortunately for photojournalism instructors, a litany of state and national organizations offer support to shape course curricula. This is especially beneficial since the majority of photojournalism teachers at the high school level have little specific media training. What's more, keeping current in such a quickly changing field is challenging.Certification or licensing to teach photojournalism is not required in roughly half of the nation's states. Consequently, many high school photojournalism teachers rely on programs and curriculum designed by the following well-respected organizations:

  • American Society of News Editors (ASNE): ASNE's High School Journalism Initiative has sustained youth journalism for decades. The group offers programs to a diverse generation of fledgling photojournalists and seeks to impart a deeper appreciation of the First Amendment and news literacy among all teens.
  • Student Curriculum in Photography (SCPHOTO): The organization has been serving schools for more than 15 years and provides an online curriculum in basic photojournalism. SCPHOTO offers a variety of different curriculum options for photojournalism teachers or for individuals wishing to study photography online in the comfort of their home.
  • Channel One: The leading television news network for teens nationwide aims to inform, educate and inspire potential photojournalists. The station delivers daily news reports to nearly six million teens in approximately 8,000 middle schools and high schools across the country. It provides global and national headlines from a teen perspective with a fast-paced production style.
  • Journalism Education Association: This independent national scholastic journalism organization for teachers and advisers provides tips on how to teach photojournalism.
  • Photocourse.com: The website is devoted to providing digital photography instruction.
  • Student Press Law Center: This organization is dedicated to providing legal help and information to photojournalism teachers.
High School Photojournalism Programs