ERIC Number: ED232191
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
How Photographs Become News: Photojournalists at Work.
Ohrn, Karin Becker
The activities of the photography staff at three metropolitan newspapers were observed to identify those routines used in making photographic assignments, carrying them out, and selecting the best photographs for publication. Among the observations were the following: (1) assignments could originate from any "desk" or editorial department in the newspaper as well as from the picture desk; (2) matching photographers and assignments involves knowledge of photographers' work schedules, preferences, moods, and history of work; (3) each photographer develops a routine for entering a scene to take a picture, and most can easily describe the pattern they use--obsequious or pushy; (4) photographers usually look for a person or group that visually sums up what they consider to be the significance of the event; (5) when assignments are made, the picture editor knows which one is likely to produce the page one photo without seeing any photographs; (6) the photographer is usually the first one to look at the film and select the frames to print; (7) the photographs that will be on page one are the first the picture editor selects and "offers" to the editors who decide the content of the page; and (8) errors involving misinformation and those attributed to poor judgment are common to all newspapers, and their staff develop strategies for resolving those errors. The advocacy role of the picture desk and photography department--to develop an atmosphere in which photographers and their pictures are used well--is based on the belief that photography is a poorly understood yet powerful means of communication. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (66th, Corvallis, OR, August 6-9, 1983).