Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hamilton, Hallie J.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

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.


Bibliography: pages 117-120.


ix, 171 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type