Friday, November 23, 2012

Let's just go back to the 1A cartoon

Quick, your first two thoughts on seeing this hed and photo.

Mine were:


1) Looks like some spicy privacy issues for the Fair 'n' Balanced legal team in the post-holiday lull there.
2) Hold those calls, ladies and gentlemen, hold those calls! We have a winner in Stupidest Stock Illustration of 2012!

You might get a hint from the hed on the story itself:


German lab: Qatar man suffered from new virus related to SARS


...and if you read on a bit, you might well start to wonder whether this is a live-on-the-scene shot from the German clinic where the Qatari man in question was released this week after a month of treatment.


The random stock photo illustrating a specific story is hardly unique to Fox, and -- tempting though it is -- I'm a little hesitant to blame it on those pesky kids and their Internetz. I would like it if all serious news organizations declared the technique to be out of bounds. If you're that desperate for visuals, maybe we could return to the days when cartoonists and illustrators roamed the journalism landscape, always ready when an editor demanded a drawing of ... you know, a bird! With a skull-n-crossbones! Waving a syringe!

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Ed Latham said...

I think, to make it happen, we'd need to persuade Google News not to use/append art with every story it lists in its search results. I think as long as it's doing that, click-hungry news outlets will keep using pictures, no matter how terrible, to keep up with competitors - especially if, as we've discussed previously, Google News will attach another news outlet's picture to your story if you don't do it yourself.
Cartoons would be great, but, crucially, stock photography is free.

5:06 PM, November 23, 2012  

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