Post Independent, CMC photojournalism class partner to interview City Council candidates
Students interviewed at-large and Ward 3 candidates
This year’s Post Independent coverage of April’s municipal election in Glenwood Springs counts on the extra help of Colorado Mountain College photojournalism students.
Led by instructor Joseph Gamble, the 13 students had the opportunity to leave the classroom at the Spring Valley campus to shoot video interviews on location with the six candidates running for the four City Council seats up for grabs on April 2.
The photojournalism class is part of CMC’s Isaacson School for Communication, Arts and Media curriculum, and includes local and out-of-state students from the Professional Photography and Digital Media programs.
A photojournalist and former reporter himself, Gamble believes the partnership with the Post Independent during the elections will help students develop professional skills that go beyond what can be learned with a traditional classroom approach.
“It’s important to introduce students to real-world, deadline-driven situations, where they are expected to perform and model the professional standards we would expect from a professional working on the field,” the instructor explained.
During regular class time on Tuesday mornings, the students teamed up in different locations to interview candidates Jim Ingraham, Charlie Willman, Tony Hershey, Erika Gibson, Jennifer Vanian and Ksana Oglesby.
“We are keeping things pretty simple and exploring the concept of ‘backpack journalism’ when you only take what you can carry yourself,” said Gamble.
“For each interview we are bringing two DSLR cameras with tripods, one wired lavaliere microphone, an audio recorder, simple LED lighting panels, a color checker and a clapper,” listed Gamble.
This is not the first time Gamble got students excited about covering local stories. Last spring, students got to produce a documentary on beekeeping in the Roaring Fork Valley, featuring local beekeepers and bee enthusiasts. The final product, named ‘Rocky Mountain Hive,’ is set to air on Rocky Mountain PBS sometime this fall.
Getting involved with the community
With different professional goals in mind for their careers, the students were looking forward to wearing “different hats” during this project, but agree that the most exciting part is the chance to get involved in the community.
“We brainstormed questions specific to this area, a lot of them would not apply in other places,” said Digital Media student Preston Roberts.
Student Mads Wilkerson hopes the video interviews will help young locals to connect with the candidates and be more inclined to vote.
“When I was voting for my county I had no idea who the candidates were,” Wilkerson said. “There were not a lot of ways to find out more about them. I was totally in the dark.”
For Professional Photography student Teal Bowden, having their work featured in the Post Independent adds an extra layer of excitement to the project. “We want our work to be in a professional level, we want to represent our school and ourselves in a good way.”
Used to structured assignments and easy access to state-of-the-art equipment available on campus, students admit that going out in the community to shoot can be intimidating, but a great opportunity to put their abilities to the test.
“In photojournalism you don’t always have the time to setup your shot like you wanted,” said Digital Media student Dianna Platero. “If you are out in the community or during an event you have to think quick to capture a newsworthy moment, but still keep other things in mind, like exposure, angle, focus and composition.”
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There are two contested races in the CMC Board of Trustees election this fall. We had the candidates for those two seats respond to a few questions as part of the Post Independent’s election coverage.