1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Why photographers aren't writers....

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by slappy4428, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. mose

    mose Member

    It has long since occurred to me that schools that offer photo journalism degrees must put the program under the domain of their vo-tech departments. A lot of award-winning photogs can't spell their own names, let alone write a grammatically correct cutline. I'm guessing most of them took welding as a prerequisite rather than English or history.

    Photogs at this shop are responsible for cutlines, which for sports basically means they ID the individuals in the shot. You don't dare depend on them to describe what is going on in the photo -- and you can't with AP shooters, either.
  2. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    If you want to see many (bad) examples of photographers' writing, go to www.SportsShooter.com and visit the message board. You have to be a member to post but you can browse all you like.
  3. audreyld

    audreyld Guest

    As a ss.com member, I can attest to the poor spelling and grammar there, but would like to at least offer SOME defense for us poor photogs.

    I write perfectly good cutlines, on top of writing stories and taking (quite literally) hundreds of photos each week.

    I think photographers SHOULD write cutlines. They ought to be able to supply well-written cutlines for all of their photos. To those of you whose photographers don't, all I can say is that I'm sorry. But we're not all like that.
  4. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Fuckin' bullshit on that. We ain't here "to have a little fun" -- we're here to get the goddamn paper out.

    AP cutlines should, at the very least, be USABLE -- identify everyone in the photo, first and last name spelled correctly, and a bare-bones description of what is going on in the photo.

    It doesn't have to be terrifically descriptive, colorful or exciting, but it should be basically functional. Of course you should take 30 seconds to write a more optimal cutline, but the AP cut should be minimally passable.

    While we're at it, is there any particular reason to keep identifying non-USA athletes by nation of residence in AP cutlines? Does anybody really care if Ivan Dunkalotivich is from the Ukraine?
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Most of the time our photogs don't bother with IDs of a game we're covering. If we're there, we (the reporter) usually has a roster so it's no big deal. It blew me away a couple weeks ago, though, when we shot some stand alone art of a little league game and the photog turned a  picture with no IDs. When asked about it, she said the photo editor had told her not to worry about it because we'd have it.

    On a side note, you could make up some fun cutlines for that picture:
    Jerome: Geez...I didn't mean to kill this guy. I yelled "Fore!" Didn't he hear me!? DIDN'T HE HEAR ME!?
    Tiger: Yep, he's dead all right.
  6. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Lighten up, Francis.

    You can get all the necessary information in there and still say it in an interesting way -- yes, even in a wee little cutline. Sure, you use the AP cutline to get the names and the situation. Then you use your writing skills, such as they are, to do a better job of it.

    A cutline doesn't have to be a throwaway. In my copy editing days, I tried to make sure a reader could get something out of it. Perhaps a little tidbit that didn't make it into the story or even (gasp!) a little chuckle.

    Actually, you are correct that a cutline must be functional, and no, it doesn't have to be terrifically descriptive, colorful or exciting. But it can be, and if you're not slammed on deadline, why shouldn't it be?
  7. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    Yeah, God forbid we should try to let our readers (or ourselves) have a little fun. ::)
  8. Bob_Jelloneck

    Bob_Jelloneck Member

  9. Hoo

    Hoo Active Member

    but you know, some of them will surprise you. at my place, we have one guy in particular who is semi-literate with his cutlines, while other guys have written pieces (usually packaged with online multimedia stuff) that is as good as any writer would do.
  10. Roscablo

    Roscablo Well-Known Member

    You know what makes for some rare fun?

    When the photographer has the right info in their cutline, but the reporter has it wrong in the story.
  11. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    I've seen that. It is pretty amusing.

    As far as the OP goes, did AP have a different photo that fit the cutline? Perhaps it got mixed up. I've done similar to that, though not for photos.
  12. mose

    mose Member

    Photog has it right, writer has it wrong ... that comes along about as frequently as Feb. 29. I'd have said as frequently as the Olympics, but I think once every two years would be pushing it.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page