Journalism and social justice have a long history together. However, the idea of journalists performing service learning bumps up against journalistic ethics of objectivity. This session describes a class that addressed this dilemma by establishing clear guidelines with a partner organization. The “Photojournalism and Social Justice” class was created in partnership with DePaul’s Steans Center for Community-Based Service Learning. In a 10-week course, students produced photo essays on a social justice theme. They worked closely with a community organization, Erie House, that provides education, health and legal services for immigrants. Students visited one of Erie House’s location, learned about the history of settlement houses in Chicago, and met the staff of the organization. Students then consulted with staff as they reported their stories with the goal of publication in local media. A written partnership agreement explained that the benefit was not PR for the organization, but rather broader public understanding about social justice issues.
Robin Hoecker (DePaul University)