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Do you know anyone who buys a newspaper for the photos?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by TigerVols, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. TigerVols

    TigerVols Well-Known Member

    Reading the Gannett thread brought to mind the question above.

    Some of my best friends are photogs; God knows they keep a newsroom lively and entertaining.

    But that said, I'm not sure of their value to the overall product in this day and age. Let's face it, about half of all photos are "pick up your phone and look busy and smile at the camera" shots or even worse, and standard headshots, which can be shot by any Patch editor, story subject's mom (hi, YF!) or a reporter with a point-and-shoot. The other half are the occasional car crash photo, artsy shot, and finally action sports foto, which can now be provided by the wire, the team or school itself, or a cheap freelancer (or in the case of the crash, a paper's TV partner).

    I'm not necessarily defending corporate media's photog pogrom, I'm simply saying that I think copy editors or "extra" reporters hold better value during this cash crunch.
  2. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    Much of the photographers' work these days seems to be shooting video.

    As often as not, we'll send someone to shoot video and just rely on some other outlet for stills.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Photo albums almost always get the most clicks on the websites.

    As far as the actual section goes, I agree, but photo albums are by far the most popular things on most newspaper websites. We used to get the numbers from after NFL games and the photo albums would frequently get over a million hits, while a gamer or column would top out at a couple hundred thousand.
  4. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Photos were the only thing people cared about on our site, which was why it was awesome when it stopped allowing us to load photos to the site.
    Now I dump them on our Facebook and that's where people go to see our sports shots.
    To answer your question, it depends.
    We sell a good amount of newsstand issues following Little League parades, where we run two pages of shots.
    If you put a great photo on the front of your paper, there's a better chance someone will buy it as opposed to a good story, IMO.
    Yes, there's a lot of boring photos, but the difference between a professionally trained photog and someone who thinks they're a pro is a huge difference. I think I'm good, but my stuff looks like shit compared to some of the pros around here.
  5. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    A lot of what photographers do can be done by "amateurs."

    But it's when the big-boy stuff comes up that you want to make sure you have enough staff to go around. Like Mizzou said, art of something worth having good art of gets a lot of traffic online.
  6. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Don't know what papers you guys are looking at, but the ones in my area (including my own) rely on impact art to carry the cover of each section. Yes, with budget cuts and such writers are called on to get mug shots and such out of the way...our sports department shoots most of its own stuff (quite well), but the photogs role is valuable (and no, I'm a writer).

    I can't imagine anyway re-upping their subscription if the only art on the page was a bunch of mug shots, and those grip-and-grins have no place in the paper in the first place...it is okay to decline submitted crap.

    Not to mention without valuable photos to fill out pages, you would be spending much more money sending reporters out to find stories to fill the gaps.
  7. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Interesting question that you pose. Not sure who buys a newspaper for "the photos" but certainly we get a lot of feedback from a particular photo.
  8. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I don't know if anyone buys a newspaper for the photos, they will buy 40 copies for a particular one however.
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Short answer, no. But if I bought a paper that didn't have any photos, or anything above amateur crap, I'd think a helluva lot less of the product.

    I can remember what was the centerpiece of my local paper's front page this morning -- a courtroom shot of a guy who lost his retrial for child rape and had his life sentence upheld. Pretty powerful photo that I sure as hell wouldn't trust to an amateur hack -- or myself if I was the camera-toting reporter.
  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    yes, photogs make their money...those shots are priceless and no doubt bring readers to the product.
  11. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Think of how far art from a single event can take you. Let's face it, most between-game art is going to be game file. So while photogs can have a lot of "anybody can do this" assignments, there are more than enough of those big-moment shoots that will carry the section not just that day but probably for days to come and periodically, perhaps, for years.

    Just yesterday, I went into the archives and pulled out a 14-year-old game action shot that went with a new column. I doubt that, on the list of things the photog thought he was shooting for that day 14 years ago, he checked off "for a column in 14 years."

    I'd submit that the chances of a 14-year-old photo finding new relevance and getting re-published is much greater than whatever story it was initially attached to getting re-published years later. They are gifts that keep on giving.
  12. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    Oh yes...a solid photo archive is your best friend...a coach gets in trouble, you have art to go with it; a player makes all-state, you have a photo to go with it; someone signs with a major college...guess what back to the archives.
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