Read & Respond week 11: Images

This week is all about visuals. In Briggs’ chapter 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 and simple ways for fans to share and interact. Check out what was hot on Tumblr in 2016 – there’s some funny, weird trend information here, but you need to click around a bit (try the “year in review” link to get started – it’ll take a moment to load up).

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 6, as a comment to this post.

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18 Responses to Read & Respond week 11: Images

  1. Rebecca Toro says:

    This week I read about the importance of visuals. As Briggs says in Chapter 5 “Journalism without photographs is like writing without verbs.” Briggs focuses on the importance of photography with a professional, digital camera and how it adds to the story. An important tip when it comes to photojournalism is to never use someone else’s photo. It’s “photo manipulation,” and copyright. Briggs focuses on how to take better photos. You hold the camera steady, you fill the frame, you have a focus, you get close, you go vertical and you can shoot in action to get motion shots. The most important factor to this is time, you have to be patient, you have to take multiple shots, it takes TIME.
    Then, once you have your photos it’s time to edit them. Photoshop is a great editing tool. You want to stay away from manipulating the photo. You should instead, fix red eyes, sharpen, contrast, crop, and resize. All these tiny things can add improvements to your photos but, you don’t want to completely change the photo from its original context.
    Personally, I took a photojournalism class last semester thinking it’ll be easy. It was a challenge, and I respect the students who are good at this. There’s so much more than just a photo, there’s action shots, close ups, layers, depth, and proper lighting, that all goes into a single shot. It’s hard finding a subject/ focus. But, it adds so much to the story through this visual.
    A photo tells a story, and it can add to a blog post, an article, or even have the story on its own with just photos.
    On the 10 free tools for infographics, I learned different methods in creating this.
    This article is saying that Photoshop is not a good method for creating infographics.
    They recommended using Canva, Vizualize, Google Developers, Inforgr.am, and more.
    The point is, digital art is time consuming but, with practice anyone can do it, and with the help of thousands of websites, you have yourself a professional graphic to add to your work.
    Next, is how to use GIFs properly. I will truly never know if it’s pronounced Gif or gif (with a soft g). There are many websites such as Gif Bin, Gif Soup in which you can find Gifs and add them to your Tumblr. You can also create Gifs in Photoshop.
    An issue with Gif’s is that it is hard to trace it back to the original source. So is it copyrighting?
    NO!
    According to What Journalists Need to Know About Animated GIFs, “Under the Copyright Act of 1976, courts are much more likely to find fair use when it’s transformative, brining work into a new context. Most cases with GIF’s are ok.”
    My minor is interactive media design. What we do is graphic designing, website designing, and coding. Graphics make the world go round. Graphics are anything from signs, to flyers, to animations and gifs. Millennials have an advantage with these skills because it’s a hot market. Adults didn’t grow up with the type of technology we have today and so they have to learn from US! All these elements add to your own writing. A gif can add emotion and humor to an article, an infographic can easily explain a concept, photos can tell a story. This form of art is apparent to today’s society.

  2. Adding Visual Elements to an article or blog makes it stand out. Colors and animation attract an audience that may be intimated by just a lot of text. Besides, sometimes showing is better than telling.

    Brigg’s chapter contained a lot of helpful tips for visual storytelling, and the graphic making links introduced me to a lot of new tools I can’t wait to try out.

    Journalists may struggle using photographs (especially gifs) as part of their story if they’re afraid of conveying a wrong message or making the story seem not as serious. However, as the John Long insert of Brigg’s chapter states, “We are not dealing with something brand new.” We need to evaluate images with the same ethical standards as our words.

    Also, the Poynter article had a good point about gifs: journalists need to take them more seriously. The animation allows a journalist to share more of a moment without needing to insert video.

    Images, charts and gifs can make a story more interesting, more complete, and easier to read.

  3. Cara Devenney says:

    After reading about Briggs perception on visuals, I could only help but to agree with him. He says that viewing visuals gives the reader a more realistic view on stories and things, whereas just reading text can be so bland and not expose us to the scene. He also stresses the importance of copywriting, and how sourcing visuals that you took (that aren’t yours) is important.

    Briggs also mentioned in chapter 5 that it is hard for journalists to be good at everything (reporting, writing, researching, photographing, videoing, etc.). I agree with this too, which is why I can understand why some journalists to not include imagery in their pieces.

    I use images in my blog posts to just add some color to my posts, or to show a statistic, or to even show my readers what the thing I am talking about looks like. I also included a video in my latest post because it is extremely relevant.

    I love Tumblr when it comes to photos. For some reason I just think Tumblr’s style is unique compared to normal photography. I also think adding GIFs to things are fun because it’s in the middle of a video and a photo.

    I think images are necessary for stories and articles because it makes the story become more alive. To be able to see what is happening or being done can make an individual feel more emotion towards the action.

  4. Cayla Nolder says:

    In this weeks Briggs chapter, I learned more about photography than I knew before. From pixel measurements, to copyright and fair use (always give credit for shit that’s not yours, it’s common sense!), to digital photography basics (including tips on lighting, how to take a good mug shot, staying true to the story, etc.), editing programs, and publishing photos online.

    I already use photos, videos, embedded links such as Twitter tweets, and screenshot visuals to give readers viewing my blog post an idea and/or further look into what I’m talking about. A blog without visual aids would be a boring read.

    I would agree that using a visual (show me, not tell me) is necessary for journalism because sometimes a picture speaks louder than words. For instance, the photo on pg. 163 of the single house left standing in the aftermath of the hurricane that hit the coast of Texas. It shows the devastation and causes a rise of emotion in viewers.

    As for other forms of visual aids, I personally enjoy a well done graphic. God, I love graphics – nifty summations of data (when done correctly). Out of the list, I’ve used piktochart and canva! I’m eager to explore some of the others.

    And I’m all about a good GIF because they sum up not only an idea but they’re comical and relatable. We use GIFS to portray how we feel about something and there are a wide variety of GIF options. I think that they are a very useful tool and I may attempt to implement one into my next blog post.

  5. stevendevineblog says:

    For the readings this week, Briggs focuses on photography and all the little things that go into it. The concept I took the most away from was copyright. Especially in the blogging world when people take images from all over the place, it is important to give credit to where you got your image from if it is not yours.

    In my blogs I use a lot of visuals. I am a fan of visuals in blogs, as it adds more too the story. I think reading a story with visuals makes it more entertaining and easy to read.

    In terms of infographics, they are extremely important in some instances to help tell a story. At times, an infographic is the only way to tell the story of that much data. I really enjoy looking at sports infographics that tell about statistics. Today, sports use these advanced stats, and infographics really make it easy to tell the story.

    Personally my favorite type of graphic is a gif. There is nothing better than a good gif in a story. Gifs can tell a story by themselves, so adding them to a blog post can really add to it. I made a few blog posts that told the entire story through a curation with gifs and I thought it did a good job of telling the story, so graphics can definitely be an important tool for telling a story.

  6. mglamastro says:

    Hi!

    Images, videos and other graphics are super important to blogs in my opinion, and increasingly more so as our society becomes less focused on lengthy writing and more into microblogging and the like. As a whole, we are definitely becoming more of a visual society; there is even the entire concept of YouTubers and vloggers, who, instead of writing, sit in front of a video camera and record their content that way. There are so many famous YouTubers out there, and it seems like there is a lot of money in it.

    As you mentioned in the original post, there is also the concept of photoblogging: blogs that are strictly images (with our without captions). This works extremely well for fashion bloggers, as they simply post a few snapshots of certain outfits from different angles, jot down where each garment is from, then publish the post. Fashion is definitely more of visual concept.

    Tumblr, in addition to being a great source for visual inspiration, is a really good indicator of what young bloggers are talking (or blogging) about, as demonstrated by the links you shared in the original post. This tends to be pop culture-y material; the “what was hot in 2016” link featured a lot of mainstream musicians like Adele.

    When it comes to hard news, however, graphics and infographics are the should be one of the primary visual components. There are so many different ways to illustrate data through graphics, so there is sure to be a way for almost any story. On top of that, they are a great way to better explain complex (and even not-so-complex) data to an audience; many people, increasingly more so, are visual learners drawn to graphics. Plus, they can be used to illustrate lengthy and complicated information on limited microblogging platforms such as Twitter–why explain something in 140+ characters when you can upload an infographic of it instead?

    GIFs, in my opinion, are unprofessional and I think professional journalists should stay away from them. I do not publish GIFs on my blog; I keep them strictly to social media. When I see a blog/news article that includes GIFs, I automatically assume it is from a citizen journalist, whom I tend not to trust.

  7. miaswanegan says:

    When it comes to adding visuals to my blog post, I can say that I lack in that area a bit. I tend to get more across with my words, think its enough and then don’t add any visuals. Recently that has changed a little bit but I’m still not up to where I should be. I do believe that adding more visuals can make it much more enjoyable for the readers. A lot of people tend to skim through things so if you have a visual that contains the statistics of your overall graph, etc. then even if they don’t read it all, the story still comes across.

    This week in the Brigs chapter, they focused on photography. He gave a lot of tips on how to capture the right photograph as well as the digital camera basis. Not only did he give pointers on what to do while taking the shots but he also included what you should do when editing the photos on your computer. As great as it is using your own photos, you wont always be doing so. A friendly reminder, he also threw in the fact that we must give credit when using someone else’s photos, etc.

    Photoblogs are very cool just because photography takes real skill. There are so many things you have to focus in on to get the perfect image and those who have that profession have it down. I also think that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is something that applies and will always apply. Just from getting the correct angle and focusing in on the right thing can make a photo have multiple different stories all in one.

    As previously mentioned, with graphics, so much can be said without having to read a word at all. Wolfram Alpha is a super cool sight that I didn’t know existed. Being able to ask just about anything ( including how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop) and get an actual answer. The other graphic links were useful because now we know where to go if we ever want to create our own word cloud, etc.

    GIFs are so much fun and add a little something extra to your conversation. Since they are everywhere now, you could pretty much use it as a filler when you don’t know what to say or if the GIF happens to be the perfect scene in a movie. The Young Journalism link gave relatable things and didn’t use too much wording but with the use of GIFs, they just furthered the message that much more and made me laugh.

  8. Briggs gives a lot of different advice in this chapter. He takes time to explain each aspect directly. Everything from the choosing of the image and copyright to the editing and formatting is included in this chapter. One thing I particularly liked was when Briggs pointed out the steps to build a successful audio and visual slideshow. The steps he provided were to limit the slide show to two or three minutes in length, use the right amount of photos, march the photos to the audio, use captions, avoid awkward transitions, and avoid using overpowering music. I think that is something I need to work on a bit. Although I typically do not use audio on my personal blog, I do think the length of a video and transition to videos and photos can relate here. I use videos and photos myself.

    Of the 10 free tools suggested by Creative Bloq, I have used more than half. I find all of them extremely helpful when trying to portray information. Because of my blog’s topic, I haven’t found a fit for this type of information on my blog but I have used it in other classes and projects.

    GIFs are very fun but can be tricky. I find that they can be hard to work with because the tone of GIFs tend to be used for humor and relativity between parties. Because we are writing for class or professional outlets, it can be hard to incorporate GIFs in our work. That is what I find at least. But in my personal use, I love to joke with GIFs!

  9. Briggs gives a lot of different advice in this chapter. He takes time to explain each aspect directly. Everything from the choosing of the image and copyright to the editing and formatting is included in this chapter. One thing I particularly liked was when Briggs pointed out the steps to build a successful audio and visual slideshow. The steps he provided were to limit the slide show to two or three minutes in length, use the right amount of photos, march the photos to the audio, use captions, avoid awkward transitions, and avoid using overpowering music. I think that is something I need to work on a bit. Although I typically do not use audio on my personal blog, I do think the length of a video and transition to videos and photos can relate here. I use videos and photos myself.

    Of the 10 free tools suggested by Creative Bloq, I have used more than half. I find all of them extremely helpful when trying to portray information. Because of my blog’s topic, I haven’t found a fit for this type of information on my blog but I have used it in other classes and projects.

    GIFs are very fun but can be tricky. I find that they can be hard to work with because the tone of GIFs tend to be used for humor and relativity between parties. Because we are writing for class or professional outlets, it can be hard to incorporate GIFs in our work. That is what I find at least. But in my personal use, I love to joke with GIFs!

  10. dshedrick says:

    I am one of the bloggers who have been incorporating visuals from the start. I like to think I make my posts a little more photogenic than say, a Cosmo article but less photo-heavy than say, a Buzzfeed article. I also like to dabble with well-placed and videos and GIFs.
    That being said, I am not a photographer. JRL 225 was the bane of my existence, even though I value what a well done photograph or piece of media can accomplish. As the opening quote to this week’s chapter of Briggs pointed out, a picture can do the work of 1,000 words (the photos in The Big Picture or the photos featured after a disaster, like the one in Briggs, are good examples of this). I just do not have the patience to take one.
    Graphics are also very valuable tools, and they really aren’t that hard to utilize with the sites that are now available. There are definitely times when these formats work better than masses of text, especially when there are numbers involved.
    Finally, who doesn’t love GIFs? When the timing is right and the GIF or video is the right one, these pieces can do even more than a photo. People love interacting with things, and videos make looking at something more of an experience, but GIFs can be the sweet spot between the two.
    I think each of these types of media could be easily and helpfully utilized within my blog. I have already experimented with photos and video, so I might dabble in GIFs and infographics next.

  11. I think I did a better job of incorporating visuals into my blog at the beginning of the semester than I do now, but I think it’s important for most written pieces to be accompanied by some type of visual. Briggs mentioned the importance of understanding digital photography, even if you don’t plan on being a photographer. I couldn’t agree more.

    As journalists, we need to be ready to capture a moment, even if we don’t have a DSLR on us. Many smartphones are capable of capturing decent photographs, and many of the same basic principles apply. The Journalists’ Toolkit article did a good job of covering these basics, and I recommend the photojournalism course offered at WVU to anyone interested in learning more.

    Personally, I prefer to bring my camera on all reporting trips, even if I think that I won’t need it. You never know when something interesting is going to happen, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to get that really good shot. Like I said earlier, you can use your smartphone, but I still prefer using a camera so that I don’t have to worry as much about the quality of the image.

    I also liked that Briggs offered some alternatives to Photoshop. When you’re not a master photographer, your photos will rarely come out perfect, so it’s important to edit your shoot. Otherwise, your photos may be under- or overexposed.

    For infographics, Canva is an easy to use resource. I would recommend that to people. Knowing me, I would probably try to do it in Illustrator before becoming frustrated with the design and using a template.

    As for gifs, I like them, but I think people tend to overuse them.

  12. Laura Andrea says:

    Brigg’s chapter is focused mostly on pictures, the best way to take them, to edit them and to incorporate them. Pictures are probably the most common way to make blog posts visual, but finding a picture that not only fits with the piece but also adds to it might be difficult.

    This is where things like graphics come into play. Graphics are particularly useful for helping the reader visualize numeric data. Humans aren’t very good at visualizing large numbers, so portraying that in a drawing of sorts will be better than listing off stats in a long paragraph that everyone will skip over. And now more than ever it’s easy to make graphs, just look at all the different free options listed above.

    GIFs are good at conveying emotions or intent where words might become ambiguous or misinterpreted. This can help smoothen the channels of communication so that our original intent is what readers interpret.

  13. lindseybaatz says:

    In the reading Briggs goes into the details of copyrighted images. I took a media law and ethics course and this chapter refreshed a lot of the specifics of copyrighting. It also reminded me that even though some things may not be illegal, there are still ethical standards as journalists to uphold. I still get nervous using images on my blog though.

    Briggs also talks about how journalists today do more than just find a story and report it. They have to be a master in all trades in a sense. A journalist must be able to interview, write, edit, photograph, record, and design a piece themselves.

    I found a site specifically for bloggers that provides images and it states what sort of credit you must give. Some photos do not require any attribution. I use Canva quite a bit, but the “10 free tools for creating infographics ” provided even more tools to create graphic. I already have it bookmarked. I think adding visuals makes your blog more dynamic. It breaks up text and can make your blog easier to read. After searching around on the article from computerworld.com, I really wish I knew about these tools at the start of my college career. These tools just go to show you how useful and accessible creating graphics can be.

    Gifs combine photo and video together. They tell a story within a few seconds maximum. They started out to simply be entertaining, but even online news sites use gifs. Like the article on poynter.org said, gifs are hard to source. Do you site the creator of the video being used, or the creator of the gif. Gifs are also shared at a large volume, that the source can get lost. In most cases, a gif is under fair use protection. Gifs are currently pretty bad quality, so I am excited to see how gifs evolve throughout the next couple of years.

    The Young Journalist Problems was everything but inspiring and has me rethinking my entire life.

  14. Ashley Conley says:

    I have a little experience with sports photography, but I definitely learned this week that there’s so much more than you’d originally think that goes into getting good, quality shots, but there’s also a ton of elements that go into editing the photo that can make it even better. For instance, in the Briggs chapter, we learned that there are seven basic tips for editing photos. The first tip, edit a copy (not the original), was my favorite. This is something I’ve actually experienced before. The worst part about editing an original is that if you mess it up, you can’t always get it back. Don’t make this mistake!

    There are also a lot of great tips in the extra readings from this week, like the Mindy McAdams piece. Using a digital camera is not an easy task, especially if you’ve never photographed before. Photographing still shots may be relatively easy, but when you start taking shots of moving subjects (like a football player), things can get tricky. At the end of the day, it’s important to read things like the Mindy McAdams’ piece because you can get a feel for the basics.

    I thought learning about tumblr was also interesting. I’ve never actually used tumblr, so this was something new for me. tumblr seems to be a really simple way to compile your favorite things in one place by using photos and GIFs. By looking at the “year in review”, tumblr made it really simple and easy to get an idea, both visually and textually, about what was popular during the year in entertainment, music, celebrities, etc. The use of photos and GIFs just make everything a lot more simple.

  15. Haley says:

    In The Big Picture article I thought all of the photos were moving and fascinating images that can strike an emotional response in many for many different emotions. I really liked the Mountaineers in Training series of photos. It is what I would think of real life Mountaineers. I really honestly enjoyed the site that just had pictures of cakes. I have an entire Pinterest board filled with uniquely decorated cakes. The power of visual is important when picking out cake. It’s not something you can always just write down for examples. The Fandometrics Top of Tumblr page was interesting. I had definitely heard of many things on each of their Top lists, but my friends and I tend to know what is going on in mainstream culture without actually participating in it all. Although I had heard of the Top 10 TV shows, I did not prefer to watch all of those. I like the use of images, but my personal Top Ten’s matter to me most. I felt that the 10 free tools for infographic creation as well as the chart for data visualization tools are both important and helpful to this class. I LOVE GIFS. I liked the article on gifs because it mentioned the extreme difficulties in finding it able to source gifs and how we can make them on our own if we wanted. It also mentioned a pronouncing it with a “soft g.” (lol) Briggs applies the use of imagery to verbal language and I think it’s important to note the differences in each, but know that humans are visual creatures and can learn well from seeing images.

  16. Clutter Mama says:

    I really enjoyed this week’s readings. I have some background in web design and I am somewhat familiar with Photoshop, so I look forward to exploring creating slide shows and gifs to compliment my blog posts. When I first started tinkering around with the internet, I had a Web TV (yes, FOREVER ago!) and gifs were the only kind of animation available at that time. This was still in the days of dial-up, so I was surprised to find gifs so relevant today.
    The tools for infographics from creativebloq.com is a really great way to add data to a blog post in an interesting way. These tools will be useful in making my blog posts stronger, especially when relaying demographic information for the group blog. They will also be useful in my capstone class, in which I’m creating a series of infographics to be used on social media.
    Although there is a copyright statement in every syllabus we ever see, I agree with Briggs on highlighting copyright issues. I worked at a Kinko’s in a university town, so I am pretty well-versed in what is acceptable or not, but this was a great review.
    This week’s readings also helped revive my desire to use my DSLR camera. It really takes amazing pictures, but so far, I have only been using my phone for any photos I have taken. I think I can upgrade my photos with the suggestions from Briggs about lighting, backgrounds, and camera settings.

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