Key Concepts of Journalism
- Providing information that the public needs to know: Many publications are devoted solely to information that the public wants to know; fashion and celebrity gossip magazines are good examples of this. Ideally, however, journalists strive to write less sensational stories because they are important for readers to know about. SPJ's Code of Ethics emphasizes that good news judgment includes publishing stories because "the American people must be well informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives, and their local and national communities. - Giving a fair and truthful account of news: There is a great deal of talk about bias in the media. Many journalists believe that if a publication is being criticized for being too liberal by some and too conservative by others, it is doing a good job. On its Web site, the Associated Press defines fair and truthful as "reliability and objectivity with reports that are accurate, balanced and informed." - Emphasizing the importance of free speech: Journalists define freedom of speech and of the press in very broad terms. Many journalists have an absolutist approach to discussing free speech, meaning that they believe no limits whatsoever on speech should be imposed. Free speech and a free press are essential for journalism to exist the way it does in this country, able to criticize the government and conduct investigations. In its mission statement, SPJ refers to freedom of speech and of the press as "the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty." - Spurring people to action: Swanson said journalism is a service-oriented profession because journalism "isn't just about providing raw information. It's telling them how to use it to improve their lives and inspiring them to want to." - Having courage: Ugland said objectivity is often stressed as the key principle for journalists to live by, but they must have courage to even attempt being objective. "There are a lot of journalists who think that if they quote three Republican sources and three Democratic sourses, their stories are per se objective," Ugland said. "But all this does is simplify the issue and reinforce the shallow Red-Blue framework that has infected our public discourse." He said true objectivity requires the courage to go beyond two-sided, procon approaches and tell all sides of a story -- even if it angers those in power.
What is Journalism?
Journalism is the investigation and reporting of events, issues, and trends to a broad audience. Although there is much variation within journalism, the ideal is to inform the citizenry. Besides covering organizations and institutions such as government and business, journalism also covers cultural aspects of society such as arts and entertainment. The field includes jobs such as editing, photojournalism, and documentary. It is also a public activity involving the gathering, handling, and dissemination of news through such mass media as the press, radio, television, and motion pictures; also one of the forms through which mass propaganda and agitation are conducted. The information disseminated by journalistic means ought to have social significance for the audience, help form its opinions on public affairs and its world outlook, and give it some idea of the phenomena, processes, and tendencies of all phases of modern society. The information should also reveal the laws that determine the functioning and development of economic, social, political, ideological, and intellectual life in society. The Society of Professional Journalists provides an accurate, if somewhat optimistic definition of journalism in its Code of Ethics. The code states that SPJ believes "that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of modern democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues." Journalism, therefore, is serving the public interest through fair and honest news coverage. Swanson agreed that presenting information in an objective way is the core purpose of journalism.
Definitions of Journalism
The periodical collection and publication of current news; the business of managing, editing, or writing for, journals or newspapers; as, political journalism. The collecting, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles in newspapers and magazines and in radio and television broadcasts. Material written for publication in a newspaper or magazine or for broadcast. The style of writing characteristic of material in newspapers and magazines, consisting of direct presentation of facts or occurrences with little attempt at analysis or interpretation. Newspapers and magazines. An academic course training students in journalism. Written material of current interest or wide popular appeal. The occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business. A course of study preparing students for careers in reporting, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. Writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing as distinguished from scholarly writing.
A Brief History of Journalism
“Journalism is storytelling with a purpose. That purpose is to provide people with information they need to understand the world. The first challenge is finding the information that people need to live their lives. The second is to make it meaningful, relevant, and engaging.” The journalistic principle of engagement and relevance means exactly that – journalists are asked to present the information they find in interesting and meaningful ways, but without being overly sensational. There are two sides to this principle, however, and they must be balanced for the journalist to be successful. Engagement is what makes the story intriguing and readable. Relevance is what makes it worth the reader’s time, what makes the story important to the reader’s life. The industry has struggled to find that balance throughout its history, but studies, such as those conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, have shown that in the long term journalism that tends more toward the engagement (or entertaining) side without adequately addressing the relevant side will not be as successful. During the Penny Press era, news consisted of little political debate and much human interest appeal. Stories focused on sex, violence, and features instead; they were sensational and engaging, but not always especially relevant to their readers’ lives. In 1851, however, the New York Times was founded, declaring its commitment to objective and reasoned journalism, and the swing toward the relevant side began. To aid that shift, the inverted pyramid style was developed in response to the strategic destruction of telegraph wires during the Civil War. Journalists had to transmit the most important, or relevant, information first in case the transmission was cut short. This style was then carried through into the post-war era. During the period known as the era of Yellow Journalism, newspapers became for-profit ventures. Sensationalism still had a hold on the industry, with a focus on high interest stories and attention-getting headlines rather than useful information for the public. Stories focused on the mass appeal of death, dishonor, and/or disaster. In the 1890s, however, relevance made more of a comeback. With immigrants moving into the middle classes, news became more of a commodity. Sensationalism began to give way to the sobriety and objectivity of the New York Times. Two story models were in use at that time: the story model of the Penny Press and Yellow Journalism eras, and the informational model of objectivity. At the beginning of the twentieth century, even Joseph Pulitzer’s notoriously ‘yellow’ New York Sun had become more literary. By the 1920s, though, objective style was beginning to be questioned. Objectivity presented only the facts, the relevance parts, without any commentary or color, and the world was
becoming too complex for information alone. Parallel to the rise of radio, interpretive journalism was born to help explain what was happening.
From the Depression through the Cold War, tabloids continued to give way to seriousness in reporting. This trend continued into the 1960s and ‘70s, as the Great Newspaper Wars whittled down the number of papers in each town. The surviving papers were not the tabloids, but the serious papers, and the same was true of television news programs. The news products that people chose in the long term were those that provided them with the more relevant information, rather than entertainment. During the USA Today era of the 1980s, news was increasingly being produced by companies outside of journalism, and a resurgence of primarily engaging news began. Radio and television had long since replaced newspapers as the dominant news sources, and papers began to add more feature-centered sections. When the industry addressed its readership losses, rather than addressing this substitution of entertainment for content, it focused on cosmetic solutions such as layout, design, and color, thus continuing the decline of relevance in newspapers. To illustrate, a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that news magazines such as Newsweek and Time were seven times more likely in 1997 to share a cover subject with an entertainment magazine like People than they had been in 1977. Whereas in 1977 those covers would have contained a political or international figure 31% of the time and a celebrity or entertainment figure only 15% of the time, in 1997 political figures were down to about 10% of cover stories, and celebrities were up to about 20%. “Infotainment,” or the new version of tabloidism, is still a prevalent format for today’s news, but as a result “avoidance of local news has doubled in the past ten years,” according to data from Insite Research. The public continues to show a preference for relevant information over entertainment-centered coverage. Another study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, conducted between 1998 and 2000, found that stations that produced higher-quality news programs were more likely to have higher ratings, and even rising ratings, than those that produced lower-quality ones. In this Internet era, also, the web has become a vehicle for up to the minute updates on news and information, providing the public with a venue for relevant and engaging information 24 hours a day, allowing for public and civic journalism to get a foothold among the many other choices the public has to choose from. Over the decades, the journalism industry has swung like a pendulum between a focus on the entertaining and on the significant sides of the news. Whenever it reaches one extreme or the other, the pendulum begins its swing in the opposite direction. Always, the optimal position for the industry and for the public is somewhere in the middle.
Brief History of the New Nigerian Newspapers
The history of print media in Nigeria goes as for back as the 1840s when European missionaries established community newspapers to propagate Christianity. This initiative later gave rise to the establishment of newspaper outfits by the likes of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1937. Titled West African Pilot, Zik’s paper pioneered a general protest against the British colonial rule and resulted to the eventual attainment of independence in 1960. This powerful influence manifested by the paper led to the establishment of many newspapers especially in the 1960s. The New Nigerian Newspaper Limited, with its head office along Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna, was established by the then government of the Northern Region on 23rd October, 1964. The first copies of the paper was issued on January 1st 1966. Its initial name was Northern Nigerian Newspapers Limited. But when states were created out of the regions in 1964 it was changed to New Nigerian Newspapers Limited as it is known today. Before the establishment of the New Nigerian Newspapers, the Northern Nigerian Government had established a Hausa language newspaper in Zaria called Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo in 1936. And within the stable of Gaskiya Corporation, printer of the paper, an English language vision, Nigerian Citizen emerged in 1965. Then a few months later (in 1966) its name was changed to New Nigerian and the headquarters relocated to Kaduna where it is now based. In March, 1973, the company set up the southern plant
(printing machine) alongside the one in Kaduna. The simultaneous printing of the newspaper in both Kaduna and Lagos enhanced a wide circulation of the paper. When the Northern Region was divided into six states through the creation of 12 states by the Federal Government in July 1967, the ownership and management of the company was transferred to the Northern states, managed by the Interim Common Services Agency (ICSA). Then later the company was fully taken over by the Federal Government in August 1975 and placed under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Information.
It was handed back to the Northern states in 2006. Hence, it is currently owned and controlled by the 19 states. At present, the company has four titles in its stable: New Nigerian, (daily) Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo (Hausa publication, published every Monday and Thursday) New Nigerian On Sunday and New Nigerian Weekly (published on Saturdays). New Nigerian was first published on 1st January 1966, Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo came on board on 1st January 1936, New Nigerian On Sunday was set up on 24th May, 1981 and New Nigerian weekly was established on February 21st, 1998. The company operates a commercial/stationery printing department which undertakes printing jobs of various types and produces high quality exercise books and other stationery. In order to consolidate its economic base, the company went into property development projects in 1977 with the construction of Imam House (named after the first indigenous Editor of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, Abubakar Imam) and the multi-storey building known as Nagwamatse House, presently housing Unity Bank, AIT station, Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, etc. This is in addition to the senior staff quarters at Isa Kaita and Malali Village, respectively.
Definitions of Photojournalism
Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, but in some cases the term also refers to video used in broadcast journalism. Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography (such as documentary photography, social documentary photography, street photography or celebrity photography) by the qualities of: Timeliness — the images have meaning in the context of a recently published record of events. Objectivity — the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate representation of the events they depict in both content and tone. Narrative — the images combine with other news elements to make facts relatable to the viewer or reader on a cultural level. Like a writer, a photojournalist is a reporter but he or she must often make decisions instantly and carry photographic equipment, often while exposed to significant obstacles (physical danger, weather, crowds).
Evolution of PhotoJournalism
Foundations The practice of illustrating news stories with photographs was made possible by printing and photography innovations that occurred between 1880 and 1897. While newsworthy events were photographed as early as the 1850s, printing presses could only publish from engravings until the 1880s. Early news photographs required that photos be re-interpreted by an engraver before they could be published.
The first photojournalist was Carol Szathmari (Rumanian painter,lithographer and photographer)who did pictures in the Crimean War(between Russia and Ottoman Empire,1853 to 1856). His albums were sent to European royals house. Just a few of his photographs survived. William Simpson of the Illustrated London News and Roger Fenton were published as engravings. Similarly, the American Civil War photographs of Mathew Brady were engraved before publication in Harper's Weekly. Because the public craved more realistic representations of news stories, it was common for newsworthy photographs to be exhibited in galleries or to be copied photographically in limited numbers. On March 4, 1880, The Daily Graphic (New York) published the first halftone (rather than engraved) reproduction of a news photograph. Further innovations followed. In 1887, flash powder was invented, enabling journalists such as Jacob Riis to photograph informal subjects indoors, which led to the landmark work How the Other Half Lives. By 1897, it became possible to reproduce halftone photographs on printing presses running at full speed.
Despite these innovations, limitations remained, and many of the sensational newspaper and magazine stories in the period from 1897 to 1927 (see Yellow Journalism) were illustrated with engravings. In 1921, the wirephoto made it possible to transmit pictures almost as quickly as news itself could travel. However, it was not until development of the commercial 35mm Leica camera in 1925, and the first flash bulbs between 1927 and 1930 that all the elements were in place for a "golden age" of photojournalism.
In the "golden age" of photojournalism (1930s–1950s), some magazines (Picture Post (London), Paris Match (Paris), Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (Berlin), Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung (Berlin), Life (USA), Look (USA), Sports Illustrated (USA)) and newspapers (The Daily Mirror (London), The New York Daily News (New York) built their huge readerships and reputations largely on their use of photography, and photographers such as Robert Capa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White and W. Eugene Smith became well-known names. Henri Cartier-Bresson is held by some to be the father of modern photojournalism, although this appellation has been applied to various other photographers, such as Erich Salomon, whose candid pictures of political figures were novel in the 1930s. In Migrant MotherDorothea Lange produced the seminal image of the Great Depression. The FSA also employed several other photojournalists to document the depression. Soldier Tony Vaccaro is also recognized as one of the pre-eminent photographers of World War II. His images taken with the modest Argus C3 captured horrific moments in war, similar to Capa's soldier being shot. Capa himself was on Omaha Beach on D-Day and captured pivotal images of the conflict on that occasion. Vaccaro is also known for having developed his own images in soldier's helmets, and using chemicals found in the ruins of a camera store in 1944. Until the 1980s, most large newspapers were printed with turn-of-the-century “letterpress” technology using easily smudged oil-based ink, off-white, low-quality “newsprint” paper, and coarse engraving screens. While letterpresses produced legible text, the photoengraving dots that formed pictures often bled or smeared and became fuzzy and indistinct. In this way, even when newspapers used photographs well — a good crop, a respectable size — murky reproduction often left readers re-reading the caption to see what the photo was all about. The Wall Street Journal adopted stippled hedcuts in 1979 to publish portraits and avoid the limitations of letterpress printing. Not until the 1980s had a majority of newspapers switched to “offset” presses that reproduce photos with fidelity on better, whiter paper. By contrast Life, one of America’s most popular weekly magazines from 1936 through the early 1970s, was filled with photographs reproduced beautifully on oversize 11×14-inch pages, using fine engraving
screens, high-quality inks, and glossy paper. Life often published a United Press International (UPI) or Associated Press (AP) photo that had been first reproduced in newspapers, but the quality magazine version appeared to be a different photo altogether. In large part because their pictures were clear enough to be appreciated, and because their name always appeared with their work, magazine photographers achieved near-celebrity status. Life became a standard by which the public judged photography, and many of today’s photo books celebrate “photojournalism” as if it had been the exclusive province of near-celebrity magazine photographers. The Best of Life (1973), for example, opens with a two-page (1960) group shot of 39 justly famous Life photographers. But 300 pages later, photo credits reveal that scores of the photos among Life’s “best” were taken by anonymous UPI and AP photographers. Thus even during the golden age, because of printing limitations and the UPI and AP syndication systems, many newspaper photographers labored in relative obscurity.
Evolution of Photojournalism [contd.]
In the past, photojournalism was a highly specialized field that required proficiency not only in photography, but also in journalism. While the two disciplines are still inextricably linked, recent innovations in technology have made it possible for a new, amateur, do-it-yourself brand of self-published photojournalism to emerge. No longer does an aspiring photojournalist need to have connections at a major newspaper or magazine to publish his or her work. Today, almost anyone can set up his or her own website and publish at will. That being said, more traditional forms of photojournalism are still around, although the competition to land jobs in the industry is very intense. The article will provide the essential photojournalism facts for anyone interested in exploring this interesting field.
Essential Photojournalism Facts
Photojournalism is actually considered a form of journalism that utilizes pictures and not a form of photography that is accompanied by journalistic writing. This is significant fact because it distinguishes photojournalism from other types of photography in that the focus is more on the news story as opposed to the images. The images are there in the service of the news story, not the other way around. A work of photojournalism must be timely and relevant to contemporary news stories. Again, the point in this line of work is to deliver a news story, and the news story has to still be hot news for the story to remain relevant. This puts added pressure on the photography side of photojournalism, as photographers must take and edit their photos in a timely fashion so they can publish them while the story is still fresh. Although today's cable news channels might not seem to follow this rule, journalism's most sacred edict is its objectivity. A photojournalist acts as a reporter, and therefore his or her primary job is to make every effort to convey the story being told in the most objective manner possible. Photojournalism has been an important part of journalism since the late 1880s. While photographers documented noteworthy news stories from as far back as the early 1800s, it took advances in the printing industry to make it feasible for photos to easily appear in print. Carol Szathmari, a Rumanian artist, is considered to be the first photojournalist. Her work documented the Crimean War in pictures. Continual advances in camera technology in the early 1900s eventually lead to 35mm cameras that were small enough to be carried easily into any kind of environment. These new tools led to what is considered
the "Golden Age of Photojournalism" from the 1930s to the 1950s. During this heyday, magazines around the world, such as Life and Sports Illustrated in the United States, Paris Match in France, and Picture Post in England, regularly published works of powerful photojournalism. The Farm Security Administration, or FSA, was one of the main programs of the New Deal. The program hired photographers to take photos around the country that were initially intended to be used as promotional material for the program. However, the images have gone on to represent much, much more to the history of photojournalism. It should be noted, though, that some contend that many of the images were staged, thus calling into the question the objectivity of the work of many FSA photographers. The biggest professional organization for photojournalists in the United States is the National Press Photographers Association, or NPPA, which currently has around 10,000 members. A new branch of photojournalism has recently developed called citizen journalism. Camera phones, videophones, digital cameras, and the Internet have created an almost infinite number of opportunities for regular citizens to create works of timely photojournalism. In fact, many recent historical events have been photographed by citizens who where right there when the action took place. Some of these images have even made their way to mainstream media outlets.
The impact of new technologies
Smaller, lighter cameras greatly enhanced the role of the photojournalist. Since the 1960s, motor drives, electronic flash, auto-focus, better lenses and other camera enhancements have made picture taking easier. New digital cameras free photojournalists from the limitation of film roll length, as thousands of images can be stored on a single memory card. Content remains the most important element of photojournalism, but the ability to extend deadlines with rapid gathering and editing of images has brought significant changes. As recently as 15 years ago, nearly 30 minutes were needed to scan and transmit a single color photograph from a remote location to a news office for printing. Now, equipped with a digital camera, a mobile phone and a laptop computer, a photojournalist can send a high-quality image in minutes, even seconds after an event occurs. Camera phones and portable satellite links increasingly allow for the mobile transmission of images from almost any point on the earth. There is some concern by news photographers that the profession of photojournalism as it is known today could change to such a degree that it is unrecognizable as image-capturing technology naturally progresses. Citizen journalism and the increase in user contribution and submission of amateur photos to news sites is becoming more widespread. As early as the Crimean War in the mid-19th century, photographers were using the novel technology of the box camera to record images of British soldiers in the field. However, the widespread use of cameras as a way of reporting news did not come until the advent of smaller, more portable cameras that used the enlargeable film negative to record images. The introduction of the 35 mm Leica camera in the 1930s made it possible for photographers to move with the action, taking shots of events as they were unfolding. The age of the citizen journalist and the attainment of news photos from amateur bystanders have contributed to the art of photojournalism. Paul Levinson attributes this shift to the Kodak camera, one of the first cheap and accessible photo technologies that “put a piece of visual reality into every person's potential grasp.” The empowered news audience with the advent of the Internet sparked the creation of blogs, podcasts and online news, independent of the traditional outlets, and “for the first time in our history, the news increasingly is produced by companies outside journalism
A brief history of photo journalism
"A picture is worth a thousand words" should be the motto of the photojournalist. It certainly is what they are all about. Who can ever forget some of the most memorable photos of the 20th century? It was the
photo journalist who brought us the horror of the holocaust, the joy of the sailor who returned home and the faces of the world. We have been a part of history through the eyes of a camera lens. Photo-journalism is almost as old as the camera itself. The first photo journalist was Carol Szathmari who did documentary photos of the Crimean War in the 1850's. It was Matthew Brady who really should have the title of Greatest photojournalist of the 19th century. His photos of the Civil War were made into engravings and published in Harpers Weekly. They are no less poignant today than they were when he took them over 150 years ago.He brought to life the main players in the Civil War. If it wasn't for him we would not have seen the care worn face of Abraham Lincoln or the meeting of the great generals. It took until the 1880's for photographs to be published in newspapers. The invention of the flash powder allowed photography to go indoors added a whole new dimension to the ability of the photojournalist to tell his story with pictures. It wasn't until the flash bulb was invented along with the 35mm camera that photojournalism really took off. The period between the 1930's and the 1950's is called the Golden Age of photojournalism. Henri Cartier Bresson is called by many the Father of modern photojournalism. He isn't the only one who has been given this title but he certainly is deserving. His photos have taken us from Africa in the 1920's, to the Spanish Civil War, Gandhi just hours before his assassination and the liberation of Paris.
During the 1920's Germany was at the forefront of photojournalism through its magazines Munchner Illustrated Presse and Berliner Illustrirte Presse. They began printing candid photos of politicians and other people of interest to the public. Cameras had become small enough to be sneaked into places they would never have been able to go before. In American Look and Life picked up the cue and dished up full page photos to bring the world to their readers. It took a while for America to catch up with the idea of the candid shot but eventually it became the norm. The 1950's saw one of the most famous roving photojournalist of all, Jackie Bouvier. She could be found roving the streets of Washington DC looking for an interesting photo, story or handsome senator. Today the word paparazzi has replaced the photojournalist in the common jargon. It has also come to be considered an invasive and frightening occupation. These celebrity seekers have placed a cloud over what has been a long history of exemplary work, often under dangerous and trying conditions. It is time that magazines and newspapers refuse to buy these photos and that readers refuse to purchase publications that print them. They cheapen the work of the great photojournalists who follow the real stories around the world. Photojournalism Although amateurs may break into this field without formal training, photojournalism is often limited to professionals. One reason photojournalism is generally practiced by professionals is that serious photojournalists must be sure that their shots maintain the integrity of the original scene. Photojournalism requires the photographer to shoot only the facts: no alteration or embellishment of the photo is permitted. Photojournalism pictures are often powerful images that engage the viewer with the news story. Knowing how to take such shots to capture the original emotion is often learned only through years of practice and experience. There are two types of photojournalism: The first type is where an image is used to illustrate a story. Many feature journalists work closely with photographers and commission them to produce images that will be published with their articles. There is no limit to how many images can be used. This is usually the photo editors decision. The second is where an image is used to tell a story without any words. One single image may be used or
as many as ten images are often used in magazines. If you can write - do so; it will be an advantage when you submit some images. One of the most important qualities of a photojournalist is his ability to react quickly when he comes along a scene that may be news worthy. Other than the obvious, here is a list of items which may be news worthy: * * * * Impact pictures. Pictures of the Environment People. New buildings.
If you are serious about photojournalism build a collection of images from your area. Many of these pictures will not be immediately news worthy but may be down the road. Take pictures of all the factories and buildings in the area. Some day a factory may close and you may not be able to get to the scene. Also have plenty of pictures of local businessmen and politicians. Some photojournalists are lucky enough to get assignments from newspapers or magazines, most have to follow or find the news to make a living. The world of digital photography has made the work of the photojournalist a lot easier. Being able to view, scan and e-mail images to a publisher instantly is a massive advantage. The work of a photojournalist can be extremely harsh - taking pictures in all kinds of extreme conditions and in very dangerous situations. Many photojournalists die each year in war zones and at different natural disasters around the world.
The Photographer’s Photographer The Photographer’s Photographer is one who makes pictures for the approval of other photographers. We strive to best each other, impress each other, intrigue each other and feel like modern Cartier-Bressons. The pictures that result from this effort are amazing in our eyes. They are complex, layered, full of “deeper meaning” or social criticism, and great light. They may even rack up industry awards. But these images can also be baffling to our readers. The Editor’s Photographer We live in an image-glutted world. Our modern job description goes beyond the old “just the facts ma’am” idea of reporting the news to also catching reader attention among the unfathomable number of images that cross their device screens, daily papers and HD screens each day. We all strive to make interesting pictures. If our readers are glutted with images, think of our editors. They get all the same their readers do, plus the feeds of wires, agencies and pesky freelancers. They are buried in them and have a mandate to make their publication stand out on the rack or screen. Often the most successful photographers in this business are the ones who know exactly what trend, what style, what look, what content is wanted by those editors. These shooters make money, and we (as above) self-obsessed Bresson aficionados hate them for “selling out. I want to be this shooter as well. My freelance career survives because I try (not always succeeding, but I try) to make sure my editor’s needs are met. I need to make a living and I want to not be a bitter old hack when I retire.
The Reader’s Photographer
This post is an homage to this rare kind of photojournalist. The one who thinks only of the readers and what details and moments they need to understand and feel the story. No gimmicks. Nothing that can’t be read in three seconds of attention to the page or screen. This kind of photographer’s images jump off the page or screen not just because of complex layers, cool trendy techniques, or moody toning. They jump out at the average person for their honesty, understanding, and ability to tell a story. If you really want to understand what your readers want or appreciate in a photo, look at what non-photographers choose from among their own pictures or yours. It grants deep insight into what in a photo is valuable to your reader.
Contributions & Relevance of Photojournalism to the Society
Our society relies on photography for a wide variety of needs. We take photos for our own albums, to remember important occasions and people who are significant to our lives, or to remember ourselves as we were but are no longer. Portrait photographers fashion formal photographs, while technical and architectural photographers make pictures as instructional tools. Photojournalists, on the other hand, make photographs: * to report news based on standard journalistic standards; * to communicate to a "mass" audience; * to tell a "non-fiction" story. Photojournalism as a separate profession is a fairly recent concept--the term was coined in the 1940s by historian Frank Luther Mott. It reflected the growing power of the news image in our society, a language unlike words, with no past, no future, often transcending culture, but appealing directly to emotions as a "slice of life."
Photojournalism style photos always include cutlines to help give the work context, but what many of remember is not the words, but a visual image tied to an important event. World War II and the Iwo Jima flag raising, Vietnam and the Viet Cong prisoner execution, the China Tianenmin revolt and the tanks facing a lone protester—for many it is a single image that symbolizes the event, even if it's an entire war. Photojournalism as a profession is not a growing field, and competition is tough, because for those who love to take pictures it offers travel, excitement, and access to interesting places and people. The majority of photojournalists work for newspapers, but many free-lance for agencies or magazines.