Photojournalism degree: image of perfection

Monday 04 August 2008 16:46

Georgi Mabee, 23, studied a National Council for the Training of Journalists pre-entry photojournalism course at The Sheffield College.

I studied English and art at university. I spent a lot of time on the student paper and realised it was a lot more fun than what I was going to do!

I ended up choosing to do this course because it was recommended to me by people in the industry. Everyone who has done the course has got a job, apart from two that dropped out.

It’s quite an unusual course. Our tutor sends us out on assignment without much warning, but you really get a taste of what it’s like to work on a newspaper. You get a job given to you and you go off and photograph it straight away. It really pushes you to arrange things and work for yourself, and learn how to deal with people. We also learnt about media law, how to deal with equipment and how to set up a newspaper page, and there was a lot of technical training.

We were sent out into all sorts of different situations. Some were really silly. For example, one day we went into class in the morning and the tutor told us it was national knitting day, and we had to go out and find a photograph to demonstrate it in half an hour! We all went off to various sewing shops and arranged to find people using our contacts. There were also more serious situations. For example, there might have been a murder in Sheffield the night before. To test how many of us had actually followed the news, our tutor would tell us to go off and photograph the latest news story in Sheffield. Anyone who wasn’t familiar with the news wouldn’t know to go and photograph the murder scene.

I started a press photography job in March at a newspaper in Peterborough. It was difficult because I was still on the course, but they were really good about it and let me go back to the college when I needed to.

They didn’t require a qualification for the job, but I don’t think I would be able to do the job without having done the course.

The most interesting assignment I have been sent on was photographing a prison.

I went and spent a day there and had access to many different areas; I found it really interesting. I also had an assignment with some triplets in Peterborough, which made the national papers – that was quite nice!

The assignments I have done with the paper have been really similar to what we did on the course. We questioned lot of things on the course at the time but when you work on a newspaper, you see that they actually happen in real life. It has set me up well to be ready to deal with them in my job, so I will see how I go at Peterborough for the foreseeable future. I like it here, so who knows what will happen or where I will end up.

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