Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Phillip Shifflet Adds His Writing and Photography to MAS Journalism

by Greg Snyder

New Journalism student Phillip Shifflet brings a unique flavor to MAS Journalism.  Shifflet promises to bring added flair to the hilltop with his colorful writing and photography skills.

Shifflet, now in his final year of philosophy studies, shared his goals for this semester's creative endeavor.  He is taking a directed study course that is more like the second semester journalism practicum that is done individually when the student has mastered the basics of journalistic writing.  He will be responsible for creating projects that he wants to work on.  He said, "My hope is to do some photojournalism projects" that highlight the visual over the writing.

Phillip Shifflet

Even though Shifflet has not taken any introductory class, his writing background serves as an adequate foundation.  He hopes to sharpen his photography skills.  He said, "My idea was to create a way to continue taking photographs and using them for a productive purpose.  I may not be using the camera on a daily basis, but it will certainly give me an opportunity to fulfill my desire to complete some journalistic projects as well as enjoy my camera purchase to productive ends.  Hopefully it will encourage me to work on my composition skill and become a better photographer."

There are many opportunities, both formal and informal, for him to hone that skill.  Phillip is most interested in the events taking place in the Abbey Church.  He mentioned that he will not be taking part in the monastic schola, the choir group that assists the monastic community, so he can have the opportunity to photograph many of those church events that deserve to be made known.  He said jokingly, "Since currently in my spiritual life I cannot bi-locate, I decided it would probably be a good idea to focus on taking pictures."

He also mentioned that over the semester he would be writing press releases that can be used by the development office or perhaps released for use in the Portland archdiocesan Catholic Sentinel.  He said, "The next press release I will be covering will be the diaconate ordination on October 11 . . . so I will have my notepad, my press badge, my camera as well as a tripod; it's going to be very official."

Phillip's experience with journalism and photography is a work in progress.  He explained that he worked for his high school newspaper.  He also said he took a photography class as senior: "[I] borrowed a film SLR camera from my uncle.  Our assignment was to take two rolls of pictures of various events, develop and turn them in.  Of those two rolls of film, all but two pictures were either so under or overexposed that I could only turn in two pictures out of the combined rolls."

Shifflet's photography is available on Flickr.

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