The War on Photojournalism: Pictures in the Age of Technology

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Photojournalism is an imperative in the news world. Unlike paper newspapers (although who doesn’t love a good newspaper over breakfast), good photojournalism is the difference between a decent newspaper and one that has fallen victim to the idea of the new age. Certainly there has been an increase in citizen journalism but one of the roles of a journalist, according to the book Blur by Kovach and Rosenstiel, is to be a role model for the citizen journalist. Photojournalism is no different. A good picture is not something taken on a whim; it is the result of hours upon hours of training and work.

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(Photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

Photojournalism is a necessity as we move into the age of technology. Photojournalists will be the ones to capture the robotic takeover and possible extraterrestrial invasion, if you believe in such things, because everyone else will be running for their lives. My teacher alleged that conflict photojournalists often have a sort of invincibility about them. They believe, in some deep part of their brain that they may not even be conscious of, that they will never die. In a way all photojournalists have a resilience that the public at large doesn’t have. They document the pain of a coffin coming home from a war far away, the joy of a new baby born to a royal family, the despair of a nation when a beloved president is assassinated. They capture much more than a picture, they capture emotion, raw and heart wrenching as it is.

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(photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

When we remove photojournalists from the picture, we remove much more than quality; we remove role models for citizen journalists and depth from our pictures. The emotion of a moment can’t be caught on a phone, at least not all the time; it takes a professional trained in the art of photojournalism to consistently see that which will make a good story-telling photo. Photojournalists hold a key part of the news world in their hands, they see the world as unparalleled images of beauty and agony, and that is why their removal from journalism will signal the end of journalism as a whole.

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(Photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

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The P.R. Way of Life

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I’ll be the first to say I’ve never been a fan of Public Relations officials, or at least I’ve never been a fan of my idea of how the P.R. world works. I’ve always thought that P.R. officials covered up the slimy conduct of their clients by distracting the public with shiny, new ad campaigns showing all the good the company does. After reading PR’s New Frontier: Storytelling at the Speed of Now by Richard Edelman, I understand that P.R. is similar to CIA operations; we only really hear about them when there has been a massive foul up. P.R. isn’t just about saving face; it’s about creating an aura of decency and profitability around a company.

(photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

(photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

Edelman lays out three basic concepts that, in his mind, envelop the duties of a P.R. agency: evolve, promote, protect, (Edelman 5). Evolution, according to Edelman, is “help[ing] position and transform companies…and their brands,” (Edelman 6). Simply put, P.R. companies help businesses adapt to changing business landscapes. A P.R. agent, therefore, must be as adaptable as they encourage their clients to be. Promotion, Edelman elucidates, is “help[ing] launch products…creat[ing] demand, spark[ing] conversations, generat[ing] visibility, driv[ing] retail traffic and trigger[ing] purchase,” (Edelman 6). This means that in addition to being adaptable, a P.R. agent must be creative. They need to know how to manipulate consumers into buying their client’s products. Finally a P.R. agency must protect their clients by “engag[ing] in the intellectually challenging work required to manage crises in real time…help[ing] to repair sentiments…and navigate reputational attacks,” (Edelman 6). The reality is that demonizing the P.R. world removes a lot of the good that companies do. Companies may choose to ignore the poverty around them in favor of profit if a P.R. officer didn’t intervene. The job of a P.R. person appears to be that of a wise guide. They function as the leader of companies to a path that attracts profit but keeps the consumers’ values in mind. In a way they’re the real superheroes of the corporate world.

(photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)

(photo courtesy of freerangestock.com)