PICTURES AND THE MASS MEDIA
The mass media, particularly the print cannot be complete without photographs or pictures. It is pictures that add colour, embellishment and illustrative outlook to the written words presented in newspaper and magazine news stories, features and articles. They, therefore, not only demonstrate, but also clarify, describe, illuminate, expand, brighten and authenticate the claims of the presented write-ups of the story.
This lays credence to the popular Chinese adage that a picture tells a thousand stories.
It is, therefore, no wonder the popular and significant roles pictures play today in the mass media. All these: television, cinema, social media, books, journals, newspapers and magazines, especially the last two, massively use photographs as tools for achieving their communicative goals. They contribute to the news. Indeed, one would marvel sighting a newspaper or magazine without pictures. This takes the mind back to when that was the case. In fact, some readers today would just go through the pictures accompanying stories to get the gist and move on, hence journalism is today not complete without photographs.
3. 2 FUNCTIONS OF PICTURES IN PHOTO-JOURNALISM
Pictures today arouse readers’ interest and attention a great deal because they give the readers a sense of participation or at least witnessing it personally which makes it easier to identify with people and situations and become emotionally involved. Also,
pictures make it easier to retrieve stored information from memory, this happens because pictures are encoded in terms of both their graphics and written content. The presence of an additional memory code for picture items would enhance their probability of being recalled because if one was forgotten or simply unavailable for retrieval, the other could be used instead. So also to say that pictures present more details than words do and provide a better grasp of relationship. This clarification allows readers to form accurate visual memories of unfamiliar people and event and to remember events done in the past.
In Journalism today, picture serves some useful purposes in newspapers. Thus pictures can be identified majorly as follows:
I Credibility: a photograph makes whatever is pictured seem more real and true. lt lends credibility to the story as people are more inclined to what they see than what they read.
2 Visual appeals: pictures are visual magnets, drawing readers into a page or a story.
For this reason, pictures often serve as entry points. Part of a picture’s visual appeal is the variety it adds to a layout. The contrast between a picture and copy is exciting and eye catching. This is why pictures are usually the dominant element on a page or spread.
3 Vitality: a picture adds life-vitality-to a story in a way no illustration can match.
Even a mug shot do wonders as it makes readers feel as though the person in the story is real. Sometimes a Story has vitality, but it needs a picture to highlight that vitality. Pictures are especially suited to bringing out the action on human interest in a story.
4 Aesthetics: aesthetics has to do with the beauty which is being portrayed in the picture. Pictures add so much beauty to the story and also the newspaper as reader may be attracted to the newspaper just because of the beauty of the picture.