I was looking over the Pulitzer-Prize winning photographers’ work today. And it reminded me that a great photographer is worth his or her weight in platinum. (At $1,147/ounce, that’s not chump change.) Seriously, good photos grab a viewer into the page or story both online or in print. I always tell designers and reporters, “If you want to get your story read, get a great photo to accompany it.” But the reciprocal is true as well: a crappy photo will turn a reader/viewer away just as fast. Indeed, it’s better to publish no photo — alternative copy, other story-telling devices, other entry points — than a bad photo.
Are books a thing of the past? Are newspapers dying? What about yearbooks? When blogging first started getting hot in the early years of the millennium people were dying to start blogging. The blog was the new journalism. Now, the power of the press didn’t belong to he who owned a press, it belong to he (or she) who owned a computer, say some 300 million people. But books aren’t going away any time soon. Neither are newspapers. Neither are yearbooks. And even I am blogging more frequently now. They all will be part of the new media, each serving a niche and a need in the market. Indeed, even Twitter, for which I find little use, has its niche — and about 18.1 million people agree. (eMarketer.com, April 2009) But none of these new technologies has decreased the need for good journalism, for quality reporting, reporting that goes beyond the surface and provides unique information to the readers. Good reporters will always be worth their weight in gold.
DEBBIE AYLESWORTH — In the newspaper business, no one wants to get “scooped.” That is the process in which one newspaper beats another in the same market with breaking news. Scooped is often the “one up-manship” of the newspaper business.
I helped to write a textbook on journalism a while back. “Journalism Today.” On page 79, we said, “Once a journalist is trained and experience, news judgment becomes a matter of instinct, of course. Professional journalists make judgments without reference to techniques beginners often rely on.” But for beginners, there was the “Who cares?” technique that I recommend. The more people care about information in the story, the greater its news value.