News photography quality drops when non-professionals are used - Quelle Surprise!!

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#4
Is that why the photos of the 'faked' moon landings are so good?
No idea and frankly couldn't care less. Chinese commies have made it and they have crappy looking images so it must be all real :)

I was rather referring to journos on the greek beaches shooting staged fake news or nice montages from the US / Mexico border making the cover. Maybe this is all the payback for being fake.
 
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I would agree with this generally but occasionally you get that one off photo by an amateur/ someone with a cell phone that catches something that was never expected, a professional is very unlikely to be there in this situation so the amateur rules ! Sometimes it's not the quality of the photo but the fact that someone actually got it ! It explains the lady who took a photo on her cell phone of the Royals and has so far earned £40,000 from it or all the other video footage you see of unexpected news events.
 
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No idea and frankly couldn't care less. Chinese commies have made it and they have crappy looking images so it must be all real :)

I was rather referring to journos on the greek beaches shooting staged fake news or nice montages from the US / Mexico border making the cover. Maybe this is all the payback for being fake.
What do you think is 'fake' about this news?
 
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#15
Anyone else remember Picture Post? [Sigh!]
Hi Chris - yes I can understand Magazines like the old Picture Post and modern like Nat Geo etc requiring high quality pictures but I didn't think the quality of print on News papers or what people actually bought the papers for that Picture content was all that important?

Isn't most news now 'online' where video is probably more sought after than stills?

I might be quite wrong but the cost of a paper keeping a Photography branch must be quite high?
 
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#16
...........but who buys newspapers for the quality of the photography?
I think the problem is that not many people buy newspapers at all, so they try to economise by using cheap or free images. But a few do care about photojournalism, like The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/news-photography
https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/ten-best-photographs-of-the-day
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/series/twenty-photographs-of-the-week
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/series/guardian-picture-essay
https://www.theguardian.com/inpictures

This is perhaps the closest thing we get in popular media to the sort of work that was printed in Picture Post and Life.
 
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...........but who buys newspapers for the quality of the photography?
Granted few buy newspapers almost exclusively for the photography alone, but the readers certainly miss good visuals when they're absent and it figures highly in their perception of 'value for money'.

An inverse example to possibly illustrate my assertion:

Many many moons ago when I was a trainee staff photographer on a regional paper... there was a breakdown of some equipment which meant that the editors were 'forced' to publish two full pages of photos.The only text on the page was an apology.
All the wordsmiths were horrified with having to publish pages with no covering words and dreaded the inevitable reader 'feedback'.

Did the readers care or even notice? Yep, a large number took the time and effort to make their thoughts known...they loved it, and wanted more!

Regional/local newspaper readers' legitimate complaints are generally very few; however, get a clue wrong with the crossword and the phone lines light up. :)
 
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#19
I would agree with this generally but occasionally you get that one off photo by an amateur/ someone with a cell phone that catches something that was never expected, a professional is very unlikely to be there in this situation so the amateur rules ! Sometimes it's not the quality of the photo but the fact that someone actually got it ! It explains the lady who took a photo on her cell phone of the Royals and has so far earned £40,000 from it or all the other video footage you see of unexpected news events.
A one off snapshot by someone in ‘the right place at the right time’ doesn’t compare with the thousands of brilliant news photographs that shape our history.
 
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#20
A one off snapshot by someone in ‘the right place at the right time’ doesn’t compare with the thousands of brilliant news photographs that shape our history.
Looking back I certainly remember 'iconic images' rather than articles. Images from the miners strike, messenger dispute, Mohamed Ali standing tall above a defeated opponent etc. Can't remember what articles said but remember the images.
 
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#21
Hi Chris - yes I can understand Magazines like the old Picture Post and modern like Nat Geo etc requiring high quality pictures but I didn't think the quality of print on News papers or what people actually bought the papers for that Picture content was all that important?
You're missing the point - or in a way proving it by conflating a good picture with a photograph that is technically well executed.

You can have two photographs of the same subject/event, the same content, but one will be a better picture. That's what the research was about. The pictures taken by the non-professionals were not as good as those taken by the professionals. It had nothing to do with how well focused or sharp the photos were. It's storytelling and so forth. Qualities which most bystanders with smartphones wouldn't have a clue about..
 
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#22
You're missing the point - or in a way proving it by conflating a good picture with a photograph that is technically well executed.

You can have two photographs of the same subject/event, the same content, but one will be a better picture. That's what the research was about. The pictures taken by the non-professionals were not as good as those taken by the professionals. It had nothing to do with how well focused or sharp the photos were. It's storytelling and so forth. Qualities which most bystanders with smartphones wouldn't have a clue about..
Hi Ed.
Initially I did think that quality photography wasn't that important for newspapers but as can be seen in my last post, after giving it some thought it was the images I recollect from the past and not the article so I accept the importance of good images that have far more impact than words.

However if readership is falling then the papers have to make economies - I'm not certain where those economies are best achieved.
 
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Hi Ed.
Initially I did think that quality photography wasn't that important for newspapers but as can be seen in my last post, after giving it some thought it was the images I reccolrec from the past and not the article so I accept the importance of good images that have far more impact than words.

However if readership is falling then the papers have to make economies - I'm not certain where those economies are best achieved.
They've probably cut as many costs as they can by now.

It's strange, I heard on the wireless the other day that book sales are on the rise after falling for some years. Maybe newspapers will have a resurgence?
 
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#24
They've probably cut as many costs as they can by now.

It's strange, I heard on the wireless the other day that book sales are on the rise after falling for some years. Maybe newspapers will have a resurgence?
I do hope so! I'm one of those that finds reading ''articles' on paper than on a monitor much more enjoyable.
 
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#25
TBH, IDT it matters that much to the end user. If the images are good enough to be considered "fit for purpose" then that's all that matters when it comes to news IMO.
Yes, the rare iconic image can make a significant difference... but I don't think that's relevant to the core of the issue. I.e. how many photographs from others have you purchased to hang on your walls? How many of those iconic news images have you saved somewhere? Me, none...
 
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#26
How many of those iconic news images have you saved somewhere?
I have photobooks and books about photography with such pictures in them.
 
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#27
All that matters is whether professional pictures add to the profit of a paper or not, accountants rarely deal in the subjective, unfortunately.
 
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#28
I think the problem is that not many people buy newspapers at all, so they try to economise by using cheap or free images. But a few do care about photojournalism, like The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/news-photography
https://www.theguardian.com/news/series/ten-best-photographs-of-the-day
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/series/twenty-photographs-of-the-week
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/series/guardian-picture-essay
https://www.theguardian.com/inpictures

This is perhaps the closest thing we get in popular media to the sort of work that was printed in Picture Post and Life.

The Guardian has always been very strong on photojournalism; used to love Don Mcphee and had his classic 'Copper Vs Miner' image as a screen saver for some time; bit sad I suppose but this type of image is what inspired me to love photography and 'gritty HP5'.

https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-archive/gallery/gnm-archive-don-mcphee
 
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TBH, IDT it matters that much to the end user. If the images are good enough to be considered "fit for purpose" then that's all that matters when it comes to news IMO.

Then I'm afraid that you don't understand the regional and local newspaper market in the UK (or at least how it used to be).
 
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#31
The Guardian has always been very strong on photojournalism; used to love Don Mcphee and had his classic 'Copper Vs Miner' image as a screen saver for some time; bit sad I suppose but this type of image is what inspired me to love photography and 'gritty HP5'.

https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-archive/gallery/gnm-archive-don-mcphee
A month ago they had a nice article about McPhee's photo (the dramatic version I remember) and a shot I didn't know, taken at very nearly the same time by Martin Jenkinson, which finds the humour in the situation:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/dec/06/photographers-scrum-winning-image-picture
 
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#32
Then I'm afraid that you don't understand the regional and local newspaper market in the UK (or at least how it used to be).
So your premise would be that the loss of photographers and quality images are the cause of the market decline rather than a result of it?
That doesn't make sense to me... if the quality images were of significant importance to the typical consumer then the market would be less influenced by the availability/flood of minimally acceptable images/news available elsewhere.
 
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#33
A month ago they had a nice article about McPhee's photo (the dramatic version I remember) and a shot I didn't know, taken at very nearly the same time by Martin Jenkinson, which finds the humour in the situation:

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/dec/06/photographers-scrum-winning-image-picture
Apparantly Don Mcphee took four images of this and his contact sheet shows he selected the second image, the last two showed the friendly nature of the confrontation.

The miner was George Brierly who by all accounts used to 'don' his toy policeman's hat and inspect the officers on a daily basis. He was known for his witt and humour and used to share jokes with the Officers on a daily basis as well :)
 
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#34
So your premise would be that the loss of photographers and quality images are the cause of the market decline rather than a result of it?
That doesn't make sense to me... if the quality images were of significant importance to the typical consumer then the market would be less influenced by the availability/flood of minimally acceptable images/news available elsewhere.

The loss in quality of written and pictorial journalism has contributed significantly to the continued drop in readership. The drop in income is in the most due to a drop in advertising revenue.
 
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#36
The loss in quality of written and pictorial journalism has contributed significantly to the continued drop in readership. The drop in income is in the most due to a drop in advertising revenue.
I can't agree with the first part of this post Mark; have you any evidence to suggest this?

Most of the evidence supports @AJS Photography views:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_newspapers

The decline in Journalism is worrying though as all of our news does come from this source; google etc don't have journalists in the field but rely on our newspaper journalists for the stories.
 
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I think technology and how people consume the news has more to do with a drop in (paid) readership than anything else. I don't know why I'd buy a newspaper when I can get it all for free on my phone!
But for how much longer? We'll always be able to get basic news, but free journalism with a bit more analysis and insight is in increasingly short supply. We now seem to be seeing a shift towards full or partially paywalled websites for 'quality' news sources. The Times and the Telegraph have put up paywalls, and the Independent is experimenting with making some of its articles non-free. The Guardian has resisted, mostly because a call for voluntary subscriptions seems to have been successful (well, you have to pay for the crosswords!). In the US, the NYT and the Washington Post are no longer free, and the financial papers (The FT and the WSJ) have similar schemes. It's probably far too much to hope that all this will lead to a renaissance in professional photojournalism, though.
 
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#40
I would guess most of us don't get our news from newspapers. We tend to get that blipped onto our phones or from some websites. What I'd look for in a paper is thoughtful analysis or thought-provoking alternatives to uneducated public gut reactions to events. Here, pictures are generally less important and newspapers would,therefore tend to make economies in the pictorial areas, using photographers mainly to illustrate specific ideas of writers as appropriate or useful.
 
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