The first week of classes this semester, Professor Thomas Franklin played a video for his Multimedia News Production and Media Tech Toolkit classes that depicted the undertaking of covering the events of 9/11 as a news event and the making of the famous photograph that captured the American spirit emerging on a dark day in history. This image, showing 3 firemen raising the American flag at ground zero, just happens to be one of Franklin’s many ground breaking creative works that have proven images not only tell our stories, but have the power to improve and shape our lives. Franklin is now helping to shape the lives of students at Montclair State University as one of the newest professors of the School of Communication and Media and it is this underscored lesson he hopes to instill.
“There’s a whole world of stories out there waiting to be told and I hope that they [students] dream big and try to become tomorrow’s journalists,” said Franklin. “To use all this great technology that’s at our disposal to do it better than the previous generation.”
Franklin, still a working journalist, has a plethora of journalistic mastery resting at his fingertips to pass on to today’s fresh generation of storytellers. Not only is Franklin a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his 9/11 photo, but he has also received accolades for his “Toxic Legacy” documentary for NorthJersey.com, The Record of Bergen County, in the mid 2000’s. As another groundbreaking work, the Toxic Legacy project produced reporting that lead to the only time in history that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has re-designated an area as a superfund site. This event resulted from team investigative work concerning toxic waste dumping by the Ford Motor Company in the 1960’s on tribal land and sources of drinking water in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains.
Keeping with his desire to teach the impact of telling stories through images, Franklin conducts speaking engagements at schools and organizations to relay his personalized message about the principles and power of visual communication. Evidently, Franklin has not been content to keep his talents to himself. He has also been teaching for the past 11 years as an adjunct professor at Ramapo College.
School of Communication and Media