A thousand words
I don’t know about you, but I like to know how things work behind the scenes. I’m not sure why that is. In college, I worked on the concert committee to help bands and other groups visiting our campus have a good experience, whether that be taking tickets, crowd control, keeping an eye on things backstage, or whatever. When my dad worked as a contractor for NASA when I was a young girl, I would go to the weather observatory with him to see how it all worked as he monitored the machines for different projects.
Some people like to show up at events and they don’t think much about what goes on behind the scenes to make things happen, but I’ve always been fascinated with how things work.
I imagine some readers might like to know the behind-the-scenes aspects of how the news comes together. Before the pages get uploaded, printed, then distributed both in paper and digitally to readers, many, many hours of work go into the thousands of words that come onto your doorstep or mailbox, and into your email inbox twice a week.
One of the fun parts of reporting is taking pictures at an event. The saying “a picture’s worth a thousand words” is very true, even in the news business. When I cover a local event, sometimes I take dozens of pictures of the people, activities, food, you name it.
I try to avoid photos of backs (not interesting), wide open spaces where nothing is going on (yawn), or if at dinners, I avoid taking photos of people chewing their food (yuck). Some pictures get deleted, but some make it to that coveted spot of “the folder.”
For every publication, we have an online shared folder for photos of events. Part of the fun for me when covering local events is looking at the pictures afterward. I never know exactly which ones will end up in print, because the layout and photo selection are up to our in-house Yoda/Jedi Master of all things graphic design and layout, Travis.
When I pick up the printed proofs after layout is complete, it’s always fun to see what ends up where in the newspaper, which photos are used.
We only have so much room in every publication to tell a story with written words. Some stories are short, maybe several hundred words, and others can be longer, nearly 1,000 words. For me, pictures are that icing on the story’s cake to help add extra flavor to a story.
So, with all those photos, what happens to the others? One of the things we do is use them on our Facebook page and share the link to our digital publication for that day. Print newspapers haven’t died, but those who publish them are wise to make the most use of the digital ways to reach even more readers. For me, that’s in the pictures.