Students of Rebecca Plumley’s journalism class at Stony Point High School had the opportunity to visit with acclaimed photojournalist Thomas E. Franklin to talk about real-world projects and experiences.
Franklin is an assistant professor at Montclair State University in Multiplatform Journalism and is best known for the picture he captured at ground zero known as the “iconic flag raising.” For 23-years he worked for the newspaper website Northjersey.com. He has covered 9/11, the Super Bowl, political issues, and the World Series. His work has been recognized by Picture of the Year International, National Press Photographers Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Plumley said her students benefited from Franklin’s visit because it exposed them to a wide range of topics that students only experience on a small scale in high school journalism. Topics included learning how to separate the job of a journalist from the emotions of a citizen, how to select story topics that matter to society and how to survive as a journalist in the changing multimedia, Internet-driven market. Plumley also said that students will be better prepared if they decide to pursue a career in journalism.
“Giving my students opportunities to speak to professionals allows them to expand their knowledge and make decisions that may affect their futures,” said Plumley. “I find speaking to professionals such a vital part of the scholastic journalism experience. I choose to take students to our state conventions so that they can come face to face and ask questions of several professionals in the field each year.”
The students appreciated the chance to speak with a professional. They asked thoughtful questions that provided insight into the field of professional photography and journalism.The discussion helped students discover the possibilities of a career in the industry.
“Mr. Franklin not only provided me with information about the work ethic, drive and skill sets required to be a successful journalist, he also emphasized the true nature of the field,” said Stony Point senior Syeda Gilani. “Usually, journalists talk about the field as a whole or the different types of jobs, but Mr. Franklin gave us a new perspective because he spoke from his own personal point of view.”
Mrs. Plumley says she will continue to provide these types of opportunities for her students whenever possible.