Read & Respond week 11: Images

This week is all about visuals. In Briggs’ chapter 6 on visual storytelling, think about his advice and note the example experts he gives. Some of you have been incorporating visuals into your work from the start, and others have yet to do so. Regardless of your use of visuals so far, how might your blogs tell a story that is more visual than textual? Yes, photos are ONE possibility – what are others? Skim around this list and identify some options you might be able to apply to making your blogging more visual.

Photos:

  • Some of you are photographers. Many of you aren’t. Here’s a crash course on using a point-and-shoot camera for your blog (from Mindy McAdams’ excellent Journalists’ Toolkit)
  • Photoblogs: These blog-like formats are focused on image sharing. Sites like Cake Wrecks hit big a few years back, but there are more serious efforts like the Boston Globe’s The Big Picture.
  • Tumblr provides a resource for frictionless sharing of images. Check out some of 2015’s best.

Graphics:

GIFs:

Sure, they’re short and silly, but journalists use them too. Is confining an idea to a seconds-long clip any stranger than limiting it to a 140-character tweet, or a six-second Vine?

Remember, your responses are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 27 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, as a comment to this post.

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11 Responses to Read & Respond week 11: Images

  1. Images are a bit intimidating for me. I tried to take JRL 220 last semester, but I had to drop it because I could not handle 5 classes (13 credits). I did take JRL 225 and I learned a lot, especially about images. Many of the tips discussed in the Briggs book were covered in 225, but a refresher is always welcome. The other images this section is supposed to cover: maps, graphs, GIFs, etc. are more mysterious to me. I am getting a traffic story together for my second group blog posting (https://morgantownmatters.wordpress.com/) and I would love to incorporate some maps and pictures into it. These are definitely the visual aids that readers demand in their news stories. However, I do think a balance must be struck. Words can convey things an image cannot, and vice-versa. Especially in a blog setting there must be enough content (words) to convey what the writer is saying, but a good image can allow the reader to put the information into a context they could not without the image. I believe this is one skill I would like to master before I complete my program here.

  2. The whole idea of using visuals within media is something that really sparks my interest because visuals aid in a reader’s understanding as well as presents the information in a different way. They also just add something new to a blog post or a break from all the text. Typically with my blog posts, I just rely on video and photos, which is ultimately basic. However, there are many tools out there to create your own visuals for free, such as GIFs and word clouds. I found the two links 10 Free Tools for Creating Infographics and the Chart and Image Gallery to be very helpful. Both sites lay out various resources that we can use within our blog posts to incorporate visuals that meet our needs. I also liked the website that laid out how to improve photo quality for point and shoot cameras to be helpful. I am in charge of photography for our group blog and I may need to use these tips in order to make sure our photos are turning out the best as possible. I have very limited camera experience, so these tips could most definitely come in handy. Photoblogs are growing in interest and popularity because they are just short, snippets of information, like the posts featured on The Last Message Received and Animal Fact Book (2 of the most viral Tumblr pages in 2015). These posts feature pictures with very limited text that are easy for individuals to view and understand. One photoblog/blog that uses GIFs that I found interesting was Young Journalist Problems. Not only could I relate to the material being presented and find the GIFs funny, but the layout and presentation of the information was very effective. It was meant to take a funny approach to the problems that young journalists face and the structure was very effective. Using GIFs is not any stranger to a tweet or a Vine because it’s just a short presentation of information that is often depicting something or making fun of something. GIFs can be great visuals if used effectively. Through this class, I hope to use different visuals within my own writing and hope to perfect my skill of visuals.

  3. tuellkristen says:

    As journalists, pictures and videos are easy for us to utilize when telling our stories. They’ve been around forever and they’re usually very easy to find and insert into a story whether it be online, on television, or in a newspaper (pictures). When it comes to maps, graphs, and GIFs, I would say journalists are less comfortable utilizing. If you asked a senior news reporter, television or online, they may know nothing about GIFs or creating maps and graphs to help expand their story. However, we are at a pivotal time in journalism history where it’s evolving drastically. This gives us the perfect opportunity to learn new skills and work with new programs to creates GIFs and graphs to help tell our story.
    I really liked the site that offered 10 free tools for creating infographics. I could probably manage to create an infographic using a program like Adobe Illustrator or even Microsoft Word, but after checking out these sources, these would be way more interesting to create more in-depth and creative infographics. I never considered using GIFs in a news story because the GIFs commonly seen online are usually comical. I never thought of turning footage from an event, crime scene, or anything else I might be covering into a GIF to feature on an online story. The story of 5 questions for animated GIFs in journalism would help in decided when and what should be used for a GIF in a news story.
    The chapter in Briggs really stressed the importance of getting extremely familiar with utilizing photographs in stories. While I do take a lot of pictures, I am no where near being considered professional. The tips provided in the chapter, especially the detailed explanation of editing and correcting pictures, and the advice given is extremely useful for my storytelling and my blogging moving forward.
    I use a lot of images on my current blog, but they are usually images posted from celebrities. For my group blog, we will need to add visual content of the people of Morgantown, so mastering the art of photography and creating GIFs or graphs could be very useful in bringing something fresh to the stories on people we will be posting.

  4. Sierra says:

    Considering that I am a visual learner, I can’t stress enough how important it is for me to use visuals in my blog post and also to see visuals when I’m reading something else. I have been using infographics a lot this semester. I also got the chance to make one for one of my classes so I really appreciated the 10 helpful tools to help make one. Piktohart and Venngage look like tools that I will use in the future for my business ventures.

    I liked the article about GIFs because I really never know how or when to use them. I thought that they were just meant to be funny and amusing in some way but the article expresses that there is a true need for them. The article says that GIFs say something that video and photos can’t and I have to agree. Sometimes you just need that short amount of time to see or say something powerful so it will stay with you and make you think. Thanks to this article I now know that GIFs are the way to go for this content.

    Words are just as important as visuals and I think that Wordle is a perfect tool to use for someone who wants to incorporate visuals but maybe can’t find the right image or video. I think that sometimes word clouds are the most powerful visual you can include in your content, especially if the correct words are used.

    Briggs states in the chapter how important it is to use the right platform to get a story to the public. This is a very important tip considering that people get their news in many different ways, on many different platforms, and from many different sources. Visuals come into play because they can add an emotional value to the story that maybe just words can’t do alone. As bloggers, evoking emotion in our readers is one of the most important things we can do.

  5. mtshadle says:

    Visuals in my opinion are extremely important to any type of media, whether it be journalism, advertising, even music because of the ability of a visual to take a viewer where words alone cannot. Think about the quality of a live performance with great visuals, it brings the words of the music to life and allows the listener to have a whole new experience. Photographs and videos as well are able to tell a story in a completely different and impactful way, some allow the viewer to interpret things for themselves, rather than tell them how the author intended for it to be seen… such as the photographs used in the use of photographs on the Boston Globe Website in the story about the attack on Brussles. No words could be used to describe the looks on the faces of those people or the scenery around them the way that photographs could. I am a very visual person so including visuals in any type of writing or story telling I do is important to me when it can be utilized. The article on GIFs was interesting to me because I am an avid user of GIFs in my personal life… I will frequently have conversations entirely with GIFs with my friends because they can illustrate a feeling or thought perfectly. I have actually attempted to include GIFs on my personal blog, however have no been successful with them being supported on WordPress. A great way in my opinion to tell a story that is more visual than textual is through video. You are able to capture so many different elements of reality in video through sound, expression, and reaction in video that are not possible even in photography. I would love to be able to find time for one of my more personal interview on the group blog to create a mini documentary type story.

  6. I feel that since my blog is about science, there are lots of ways to make the posts more visual. It’s hard with my topic to get original photos, but when I use photos from the internet, I make sure to put the original source of the photo in a caption on my blog. I like photography, however, and am constantly thinking about how I might incorporate originals into my blog.

    Science is all about data, so it’s easy to find information to present visually. The challenge is making a visualization that isn’t just a boring chart. Infographics and Prezi have been helpful so far. Using Google maps to present data is also useful. I have trouble finding the data I’m looking for sometimes, and Wolfram can help with that.

    I’ve used and created GIFS in a few posts, too. Reading the article from Media Bistro, it seems I have been using them reasonably. In the future, I will think more in-depth about the appropriateness of the GIF and ask, does this medium convey something others do not?

    I usually feel I am competent with computers. After going through all the readings, I’ve realized I need to learn more about servers and coding to create the visual representations I imagine. I run into this problem a lot. I think of a great visual, but I am not advanced enough to make it happen. This will definitely be something I start to work on more and dedicate time to.

  7. pmlilly says:

    Though I would not call myself a photographer I do really love to take photo’s, and a lot of photo’s out there amaze me. The quality of photo’s and the angles that people are able to get is great. One of my favorite things about pictures is when people get a cool natural frame. Like when someone uses flowers as a boarder when they take a photo. Taking journalism 225 was one of my favorite classes, all I had to do was capture good photo’s of something that interested me. So what I would do was take photo’s of concerts that would go to and post them. It was a great class and even very fun to do the assignments. The tip that I got from that class that I thought was the most helpful was never to use zoom. The first link that was in this lesson said something very similar. The only difference was that the lesson was talking about a nicer camera, where as our class all we used were our iPhones. My teacher always said that you should never use zoom, and that if you want to get a closer photo you better get closer and take the photo. After I graduate I do really want to buy a nice DSLR camera so I can take quality photo’s of shows and festivals that I go to. The only thing that I found particularly helpful with the chapter was the section talking about editing photo’s. I have taken classes about it, but having a nice step by step set of instructions is always very helpful. There was one ver cool photo within the chapter as well. The one I am talking about was the picture of a house sitting all alone after a hurricane. That photo was so cool to me because it completely captures the amount of devastation and does not even need a caption, the picture says it all. All in all photo journalism is very interesting and I would really like to get better at it, and hopefully with time practice (and buying a new camera) I will get better at it and can use it in my future career.

  8. EmilyGMartin says:

    I am in no way shape or form a photographer or even a novice photographer. My extent of photography skills comes from constantly using the dog filter on Snapchat or taking a picture of my food, so it’s probably a good thing I’m taking 220 in the fall. I LOVE gifs, I use them all the time, from in just regular conversations, to reacting to something on Twitter, they are so versatile. For me, a gif draws me in more than a picture or video. I usually do a quick glance at a photo, and I almost never have the attention span for a video. But, with gifs, I always watch them a few times, usually trying to figure out how I could use it for myself in the future. In my personal blog, I usually just stick to one or two photos and call it a day, but after reading these links, I may have to start incorporating word clouds, maps, gifs, etc. into my posts more to draw others in.
    My group blog is Humans of Morgantown, so we need to have pictures with every Human we profile, or it there wouldn’t be much point in profiling them. I could really take away some of the tips from the using a point and shoot camera link in making the photos for my group blog better.

  9. I’ve always loved photography and the idea of telling stories through photos. Going into my freshman year at WVU I had the pleasure of meeting Lois Raimondo and viewing some of her work and I found her to be truly inspiring. (I’m still on the edge of my seat at the end of every semester trying to get into one of her VISJ classes).

    Our blog, Humans of Morgantown, will have to embody who we feature in a photo. So, I feel that having good photos in our posts will embody our subjects, which is imperative. The article with the photo quality tips for point and shoot cameras will be very helpful for any journalist to get a good photo for a story. I bookmarked this page because the article is a great reference point for me to look back at when I am taking photos for the blog.

    While I feel that GIFs and charts are important images for journalism, I don’t think they’ll work well for our blog because we are doing feature articles on individual people. However, I find infographics and charts very appealing to the eye. I love the idea that you can look at something visually pretty that also holds content. For my personal blog I’d definitely be able to use different imagery throughout my posts.

    Briggs stressed that without photographs, journalism isn’t journalism. I feel strongly towards that statement because I think that photography is what got me interested in journalism in the first place. Briggs’ tips regarding working with digital photographs, capturing natural photos with good lighting, and using photoshop will be very helpful in the future for my posts.

  10. After reading Chapter 6 and the above links, I’ve come to many conclusions and formed plans in my head. I do take a lot of photographs when I’m out and about, especially when I visit big cities. I want to start using my own photos when they pertain to an article to keep my blog more authentic and 100% my own. I really liked the discussion that Briggs brought up about publishing photos on a blog. I thought it was very useful and he fed us tips on uploading photos without getting into copyright issues. By using my own photos that I have taken, I can also steer away from any copyright issues as well.

    I’ve always wanted to make some sort of Buzzfeed blog, and when visiting the graphics and photography links, I was reminded of those fun and engaging stories. My favorite link about graphics was Wolfram Alpha. I hope to utilize this sight for data and graphics to make my articles fun to read. I also really enjoyed the 10 free tools to creating infographics. I’ve used infographics in other classes before, but I would like to refresh my memory and hopefully use them on my group blog articles.

    -Patrick J. Clarke

  11. amdewitt94 says:

    I feel like images are a lot trickier than what meets the eye. In my capstone course, we had a guest professor come and talk to us about images and photography. She had us rent out cameras to bring to class so she could teach us how to use them. The whole concept seemed so silly to me, I know how to use a camera. I learned more in that course about photography than I have my whole life. I had no idea how much lighting and shutter speed could impact a photo, and it blew my mind the knowledge this woman had in regards to the art of the image. It was fascinating. Brigg’s segment about publishing photos on our blogs was also inspiring. I noticed when writing my piece on the mural that the photos really made it so much better. I think they make things more readable as well. We are more interested because we can really see what’s being discussed. Humans are visual by nature and providing imagery is a great way to attract more attention. I follow the blog “This World Exists” – I follow their Instagram account – because I want to see the photos of the exotic places as I read about them. It’s a necessary addition to our blogs.

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