Hamilton, Hallie J.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Journalism
Photojournalism--Illinois; Communication in management--Illinois; Illinois Press Photographers' Association
The exploratory research study surveyed 119 members of the Illinois Press Photographers' Association to seek their attitudes and perceptions of their written and verbal photographic assignments. Three groups of information were analyzed: responses to closed questions, responses to open questions, and information taken from returned assignment sheets and photographic guidelines. The great majority of the respondents' publications used written assignments, and over 85 percent of the participants reported that they were given written assignments a great majority of the time. Many photographers, however, do not understand their assignments after one reading. The responses of the photographers to the open question which asked them to identify the greatest weakness of their assignments pointed to a lack of basic information such as assignment purpose and assignment location. The most frequently identified strength of the written assignment, ironically, was the vague manner in which the assignments were written. Many photographers saw this as signal to treat the subjects as they saw fit. In many cases the assignment maker—most often a news reporter or editor, not a picture editor or the photographer—was cited as a contributor to poor assignments. Poorly designed or incomplete written assignments are creating problems for some press photographers. Although verbal instructions help clarify some of the misunderstandings that occur because of human error and time constraints, verbal assignments are made infrequently. If photographers and assignment makers wish to become more efficient, they must learn to use the photographic assignment forms more effectively as well as frequently discuss their assignments and results with each other.
Coppersmith, Alan J., "Perceptions of written and verbal photographic assignments by members of the Illinois Press Photographers' Association" (1984). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 4317.
ix, 171 pages
Northern Illinois University
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