A picture’s worth a thousand (newsworthy) words

14 Mar

TOW #8

Poynter’s News University is one of the most innovative online journalism and media training programs ever created. For my public relations class, I have been required to take some of these courses.

The most recent course I took offered by NewsU was The Language of the Image. Including an image in your news release makes the news release that much more powerful. This course was extremely helpful in learning to take news worthy photos, as well as deciphering which pictures are news worthy. Although I have taken a photography course at my university, this online course was helpful for photographs for specifically news releases.

I learned about the three different types of photographs: informational, passive, active.

  • Informational: basically just a visual record of a person, place, or event. It is simply for identification value.
  • Passive: photograph which is situations in which the main purpose is taking pictures for publication
  • Active: real people in real time are shown.

What surprised me was when I was reading about the variety of elements in photographs that make great photography. I always knew that some of these components included graphic elements, the quality of light, emotion, mood, moment… but some elements I hadn’t considered before include..

The opposing elements of the finely dressed women and ritzy department store is a strong juxtaposition to the poor man.




  • Juxtaposition. This means that opposing elements are together in one photo, therefore conveyingirony. Also…





  • This image shows a diver during the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. It shows a strong sense of place.

    Sense of place is an important element in a photograph.  This is when photographs are taken of the subject and a distinctive item is there which allows the reader to decipher where the photograph was taken by just seeing the picture.

From this course, I would love to learn more about the combination of different elements to make a great picture. Such as, if all the elements are utilized, if the picture would be too overpowering? For example, would it be better to just keep it simple and focus on one or two elements? I would love to see some famous photography or art and see the elements they use.


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