December 15, 2010

Community photojournalism - Blum on why posed photos aren't bad

Newspaper designer Ed Henninger, who does a lot of work for community papers, has turned his monthly column over to an oldie but goodie from Ken Blum, who ran community papers for three decades and now is a consultant (or "adviser," as he prefers it).

The title of Blum's column, In Defense of Post Photos, speaks pretty much for itself, but some excerpts:

But here's the confession of a former photojournalist: I sometimes encouraged group pictures and posed pictures to appear in the community newspapers I used to run.

Why? Because my audience, the readers of our products, like them. And it's my job to see that my audience is as happy as possible with the product they read every week. ...

Because community journalism is personal journalism. Because those 400 little-leaguers have 4,000 moms and dads, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers and preachers who are interested in them.

In the personal world of a community newspaper, a picture of a human face is a picture that tells a story.

I don't in any way want to disparage the great work many dedicated photojournalists are contributing to community newspapers. Nobody appreciates a good picture in a newspaper more than I do. There are many times I still wish I was out there chasing fire trucks or climbing trees to get the perfect angle for a good feature photo.

But when it comes to some types of posed pictures, some photographers need to chill out a bit and recognize their value to a community newspaper.

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