FREE ONLINE COURSE:

Visual Journalism:

Looking at the other in the age of selfie



Instructor: João Pina

March 4 - March 31, 2019

With support from:


This is a course on photography in the digital era. The fact that most of us have some sort of device that captures images in very high quality has empowered us to be able to document our own world. Paradoxically, with the surge of social media, most of us consume photography in extraordinary proportions on a daily basis, but the content on those photographs are often in a highly curated version of people’s “glamorous” lives.

How do you turn your mind and camera away from the “selfie” mode? How do you focus on telling other people’s stories?

By studying the humanistic tradition towards photography with deep roots in the early 20th century, students will document the history of photojournalism and understand how this universal language speaks for itself despite all the technological aspects.





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  • 1. Create an account in the Journalism Courses system. Even if you’ve taken a course with us before, you may need to create a new account. Check to see if your previous username and password work before creating a new account.
  • 2. Wait for a confirmation in your email indicating that your account has been created. If you do not receive this, please check your spam folder.
  • 3. Log into the platform, scroll down until you see the course listings, and click on the “Visual Journalism: Looking at the other in the age of selfie” course.
  • 4. A button will appear. Click “Enroll” to enroll yourself in the course. You will be able to access the course from the “My Courses” menu at the top of the page.
  • 5. You will receive an email confirming your enrollment.

Please add the email addresses knightcenter@austin.utexas.edu and filipa.rodrigues@utexas.edu to your address book to ensure you receive emails about the course.

The main goal of this course is to empower students to develop their own photographic voice, alongside with humanistic photographic traditions. Students will have a better idea on how to think outside of the box when looking for what to photograph.

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the history of photojournalism and its code of ethics
  • Approach people and photograph them in different environments
  • Begin to use both traditional and social media to showcase your work
  • Describe photographer differences and their approaches to the subjects they photograph
  • Critique how visuals are being approached in the 21st century
  • Introduction Module: Course Introduction

    In the introductory module, you will get an overview of the course structure and meet the instructor.


    Module 1: The History and ethics of photojournalism and documentary photography

    This module will cover:

  • History of “Humanistic photography”
  • Great Depression, Spanish Civil War and WWII and role of photography
  • The golden years of photography in the print media
  • Ethical standards in the journalistic world
  • Evolution of the perceptions of photographic reality
  • Guest Speaker: James Wellford – National Geographic Magazine


    Module 2: Self portrait vs. Selfie

    This module will cover:

  • The drive to use your own body to tell a story
  • Looking at the inner world vs. global issues
  • Developing portrait skills
  • Guest Speaker: Diana Markosian – Magnum photographer


    Module 3: The importance of strong visuals and the photobook as an object

    This module will cover:

  • The documentary project from idea to the book/exhibition
  • Photographic skills in unknown territories
  • The importance of photobooks as a definitive media of communication
  • Guest Speaker: Stephen Ferry – American photographer based in Colombia


    Module 4: Using social network platforms to create outreach

    This module will cover:

  • How to increase your audience on traditional and social media
  • Creating meaningful work that avoids creating visual noise
  • How to survive as a photojournalist
  • Engage with a complete stranger and photograph them
  • Guest Speaker: Adriana Zehbrauskas – Brazilian photographer based in Mexico

    João Pina is a freelance photographer born in Portugal in 1980. He began working as a professional photographer at age eighteen, and graduated from the International Center of Photography’s Photojournalism and Documentary Photography program in New York in 2005. Pina’s photographs have been published in D Magazine, Days Japan, El Pais, Expresso, GEO, La Vanguardia, New York Times, New Yorker, Newsweek, Stern, Time, and Visão, among others. His work has been exhibited at the Open Society Foundations (New York), International Center of Photography (New York), Point of View Gallery (New York), Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York), King Juan Carlos Center – NYU (New York), Canon Gallery (Tokyo), Museu de Arte Moderna (Rio de Janeiro), Museo de Arte do Rio (Rio de Janeiro), Paço das Artes (São Paulo), Centro de Fotografia (Montevideo), Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Santiago de Chile), Parque de la Memoria (Buenos Aires), Torreão Poente – Museu de Lisboa (Lisbon), KGaleria (Lisbon), the Portuguese Center of Photography (Porto), Visa pour L’Image (Perpignan), and Reencontres d’Arles (Arles). In 2007, Pina published his first book, Por Teu Livre Pensamento (out of print), featuring the stories of twenty-five former Portuguese political prisoners. This project inspired an Amnesty International advertising campaign that earned him a Gold Lion Award in the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and won the OSF – Moving Walls 21 in 2013. He also received the Estação Imagem grant in 2010, and was a finalist for the Henri Nannen and Care awards in 2011, and the Alexandra Boulat Grant in 2009. In 2014, he finished his longest personal project, documenting the remnants of Operation Condor, a large-scale secret military operation to eliminate political opposition to the military dictatorships in South America during the 1970s, resulting in his second book CONDOR. His third book 46750, published on the spring of 2018, focus on the ongoing urban violence in Rio de Janeiro and the city’s transformation over the past decade while preparing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 2017/2018 and is a faculty member of the International Center of Photography in New York, and a regular lecturer and teacher of photography workshops.

    This course is open to anyone who is interested in learning photojournalism and documentary photography and who wants to increase their storytelling abilities using photography. It's also open to anyone who wants to learn new ways of reaching audiences, using both social media and traditional media platforms that will be addressed during this course. People already involved with photojournalism or any other forms of photography are invited to join and give their own perspectives.

    This course requires you to have access to an Internet connection and Web browser. In order to complete the photographic assignments, you should have access to a digital camera or a phone with a built-in camera.

    First of all, note that this is an asynchronous course. That means there are no live events scheduled at specific times. You can log in to the course and complete activities throughout the week at your own pace, at the times and on the days that are most convenient for you.

    Despite its asynchronous nature, there are still structures in place for the duration of the course. The material is organized into four weekly modules. Each module will be taught by João Pina and will cover a different topic through videos, presentations, readings and discussion forums. There will be a quiz each week to test the knowledge you've gained through the course materials. The weekly quizzes, and weekly participation in the discussion forums, are the basic requirements for earning a certificate of participation at the end of the course.

    This course is very flexible, and if you are behind with the materials, you have the entire length of the course to complete them. We do recommend you complete each of the following before the end of each week so you don’t fall behind:

  • Video lectures
  • Readings and handouts/exercises
  • Photographic assignments
  • Participation in the discussion forums
  • Quizzes covering concepts from video lectures and/or readings
  • A certificate of completion is available for those who meet all of the course requirements and pay online an administrative fee of $30 (thirty U.S. dollars) using a credit card.

    No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate. The certificate is awarded by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to attest to participation in the online course.

    To be eligible for the certificate of completion, you must:

    • Listen to the weekly video classes and read the weekly readings.
    • Complete weekly quizzes with a 70% minimum score. (You can retake the quizzes as many times as needed. Only the highest score will be recorded)
    • Create OR reply to at least one discussion forum each week

    At the end of the course, an online form will be made available for you to apply for a certificate. Once you have filled out the form and we have verified that you have met the course requirements, the Knight Center will send a message with instructions on how to make your payment. The verification process will take 3 - 5 business days.

    Please add the email addresses filipa.rodrigues@utexas.edu and knightcenter@austin.utexas.edu to your address book to ensure you receive emails about the course.




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