September 21, 2012

Journalism students to spend ‘Weekend in Chester’

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Randolph County community of Chester will be the focus next week of an annual event for students in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's School of Journalism.

About 36 students will participate in "A Weekend in Chester" photojournalism project.  This is the fourth year that students will rise early, stay up late and put in long hours to capture the community's history and spirit.

From sunrise, Friday, Sept. 28 through sunset, Sunday, Sept. 30, the students will not only gain a great feel for the community and its residents, but also hone their skills with the help of some of the nation's leading photojournalism professionals and editors.

Mark J. Dolan, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism, said this year's project will also feature a significant component -- the students will spend the entire time in the community with overnight lodging provided in the gymnasium and fellowship hall at St. John Lutheran Church.

Media Advisory

         For more information on the "A Weekend in Chester" project, contact assistant professor Mark J. Dolan at 618/536-3361 or 315-882-2446, or by email at

This is the first time in workshop history that all of the students will stay together overnight in the community, said Dolan, who conducted eight similar workshops while teaching at Syracuse University prior to coming to SIU Carbondale in 2008.

In addition to students being in town when they wake up, another important component is "building the sense of community and camaraderie among the students," Dolan said.

The project is similar to those highlighting Murphysboro in 2009, Cobden and Alto Pass in 2010, and the Tri-C community of Cambria, Carterville and Crainville a year ago.  The workshop will again culminate in a book, which Dolan anticipates will design during the spring 2013 semester.

The 15 visiting faculty newspaper photographers are: Chris Berry, The State, Columbia, S.C.; Robert Cohen, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Elizabeth Conley, The Detroit News; Daron Dean, The St. Augustine Record; Danese Kenon, The Indianapolis Star; Erin McCracken, The Evansville Courier; Paul Newton, The Southern Illinoisan; Todd Panagopolous, The Chicago Tribune; Julia Rendleman, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Rich Saal, The Springfield State Journal-Register.  Other visiting faculty include Scott Allen, a freelance photographer and regional director for public affairs, U.S. Department of Labor; Dominic Bracco II, a freelance photographer based of Mexico City and sponsored by The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting; Preston Keres, editor-in-chief, Airman Magazine, a former staff photographer for The Washington Post; Jeremy (J.T.) Lock, United States Air Force and six-time Military Photographer of  the Year recipient, and Jim Merrithew, picture editor,