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Thomas Franklin

Associate Professor, School of Communication and Media

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Thomas E. Franklin is an award-winning photographer, multimedia journalist, and documentary filmmaker, and serves as an Associate Professor of Multimedia Journalism in the School of Communication and Media.

Best known for his photographs taken at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, including his iconic image of three New York City firefighters raising the U.S. flag amidst the rubble of the World Trade Center, featured on the United States Postal Service’s Heroes stamp, and was instrumental in raising over $10 million for victims of 9/11 and other national disasters. LIFE cited the image as one of the 100 Photographs That Changed the World, and the photo is part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress, the National September 11 Museum, and the Newseum. In 2002, Franklin was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his work on 9/11.

His work since 2016 has delved into immigration and forced migration, culminating in the project "Seeking Refuge," currently exhibited virtually at the Paterson Museum. Franklin's multimedia work has garnered widespread recognition and has been published in media outlets worldwide. Tom’s documentary work has taken him to Central Mexico, the U.S. border with Mexico, where his dramatic footage of migrants in Tijuana was published by the Los Angeles Times syndicate, and to Lesvos, Greece, where he produced, The World Arrived at Our Doorstep, a 10-minute documentary film on the Syrian Refugee crisis there.

Prior to his academic career, Franklin was an award-winning staff photographer for The Record and for over two decades, covering a wide array of news and sports assignments. He transitioned to multimedia journalism in 2007, leading The Record’s foray into digital video, having produced award-winning multimedia projects on the Heroin Epidemic and toxic dumping on the land of a Native American community by the Ford Motor Company.

Since joining Montclair State University in 2015, Franklin has developed several innovative courses in visual storytelling, bilingual reporting, and immersive educational travel experiences, leading student reporting trips to Greece for reporting on Syrian refugees in Lesvos and Athens, Puerto Rico to report on the recovery from Hurricane Maria, Yellowstone National Park for a collaborative reporting project on conservation and environmental issues with students from both Montclair State and Edge Hill University in the U.K., and to Dundee Scotland for a collaborative project combing creative thinking, performance, spoken word, and multimedia. Under his mentorship, students have won several coveted student journalism awards, including the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Reporting, a national collegiate Emmy® award, and the prestigious Bricker Humanitarian Award. In 2017, he was an invited visiting professor at UNIVA University in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Additionally, Franklin is a frequent on-air guest, public speaker, and consultant, offering multimedia training to professionals in the media industry, and he is an executive board member of the Jérôme Lohez 9/11 Scholarship Foundation.

While many of his assignments focus on news and other difficult subjects; Franklin enjoys doing documentary work for nonprofits and grassroots organizations, traveling to and photographing new places, as well as capturing the beautiful strangeness of everyday life in and around his home state of New Jersey.
Courses taught:
Multimedia Toolkit
Multimedia Storytelling
Intro to Photojournalism
Reportondo las Noticias


Multimedia. Photojournalism. Visual storytelling.