Posted on June 29, 2006
Every picture tells a story, don’t it?
Several people have contributed thought-provoking comments on my recent post about photojournalists doing multimedia work. They include Colin Mulvany, of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. (example slideshow: Brothers in Arms, produced by Mulvany with photos and audio by his colleague Brian Plonka); Aaron Vogel, a photo-j student at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif.; Will Yurman of The Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle (see their multimedia); and Bryan Murley, who frequently writes about multimedia at the blog Reinventing College Media.
As might be expected, there’s a deep concern about the quality of the work. In short, if I have to bring back video for the Web site AND a still photo for the paper, is that still really going to be good? And not inconsequently, will the video even be decent?
The question is really more urgent: Do I have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a good still photo?
But there’s a concurrent question and conversation too, and that one is even more interesting to me: Can I tell a good story if I don’t get good pictures?
I think every journalist in the world needs to be thinking about that question. I think a lot of the video that the TV journalists consider acceptable is garbage (especially on local TV news) — it doesn’t help tell the story at all! A lot of Page One pictures in newspapers (I’m thinking of “baby ducks out for a walk”) don’t even HAVE a story! We are becoming more and more image-centered (thanks to our immersive visual culture). Just because people WILL watch garbage (e.g. on video-sharing Web sites) does NOT mean garbage helps us tell a story.
To read their comments in full, go to the post.