Photos add value to journalism

A group of soldiers in Afghanistan, passing the time while waiting to go home. Photo by Damon Winter

What is photojournalism and why is it important?

If you look up the definition in the dictionary, here is what you will get: journalism in which written copy is subordinate to pictorial usually photographic presentation of news stories or in which a high proportion of pictorial presentation is used; broadly: news photography (Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online). Complicated, right? In layman’s terms according to Jack Oughton, a Yahoo News Contributor, photojournalism is the act of telling a story through a series of images.  Oughton goes on to talk in his article about the basics of photojournalism, tools involved, tips on getting started, as well as post production tips.

Destroyed building post riots in London. Photo by Jack Oughton

Most people have heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is brought to a whole new level in today’s society with the availability of cameras in everything from an actual camera to cell phones with cameras built in. In the past, a photojournalist was someone who was trained to tell a news story with pictures. Today, almost anyone who has access to a camera can do what a photojournalist does on a daily basis by being in the right place at the right time. Take for example, someone on the scene of a disaster as it happens, who starts to take pictures with their phone. If a news organization picks up these phots, they become news.  That is exactly what happened to Elizabeth Jamison, who is not a news journalist, rather, she was at the right palce at the right time. Jamison was first on scene at the site of a fighter jet crash  in Virginia in 2011.

The power of photojournalism is so prevalent in today’s society that there is a contest held every year dedicated to the year’s best and most powerful images in photojournalism. This contest is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Follow the link to see some this year’s winners.

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