Journalists should get snap happy – and here’s an incentive

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Don’t worry; we at Hacks haven’t resorted to just spouting clichés and quotes at you we have a point to make and that point is all about the value of the photograph.

Photography is a subject we have neglected on Hacks and this is something we are rather embarrassed about. Having all been section editors or editor-in-chief of our student newspaper we know from first hand experience how important a photo is to a piece of journalism and to a newspaper or magazine in general.

In fact, issues with photos even prompted both myself and The Student to become ‘photographers’ for the paper, covering sport fixtures and providing images for news stories. Are either of us experts? No. Are we going to be pros in the future? No. All we had were cameras, of varying quality, and a recognition of the importance of a photograph.

Every journalist, whether print, online or broadcast should not only be armed with pad, pen and dictaphone but all also a camera.


Without a strong front page image newspapers won’t catch the eye – no attention grabbing shot for your exclusive story and it won’t get the attention it deserves. Photos are everything and for me are one of the most important aspects of journalism today because we are all horribly lazy and want our information faster and faster.

If a photo can tell us everything we need to know about a story that is perfect.

To illustrate this I refer to some shots of every student’s favourite politician Nick Clegg and some front pages from the election. The Times front page on the day after the first TV debates (left) did exactly what I just referred to: it told what happened in the debate, who came out on top and also gave an indication to the mood of the party leaders. Clegg in the forefront of the shot, smiling, leading the way in contrast to the background figures of Gordon Brown and David Cameron summed up the pleasant surprise which seemed to be around as we all got drawn in to the idea of a Lid Dem revolution.

Front Page

Again The Times played a blinder with the front page image they used in the days after the election (and before any of you lot start there is no Times bias here just a coincidence I promise). Clegg again the focal point and this image really had the lot for me. A man isolated in a sea of blue, looking at his phone and perhaps about to make the call to his soon-to-be best mate Dave, this shot could not have summed up the news any better.

And of course sometimes you can literally tell the story with photos. The Independent (below) shot their front page after the coalition government had been formed. Their photo montage delivering not only the story but also their mocking and yet serious message of “oh look what you’ve got us into now.”

Indy Cam And Clegg

These days this is not limited to newspapers. Just look at the tragic story coming from Cambodia over the past few days. When the news broke the actual detail and factual information was limited but the various slidewshows on the BBC and newspaper sites told us everything we needed to know.

So as we touched on in the latest hacks podcast about the student protests a picture can really sum up your news angle and tell a story all on its own. And if that rousing call to cameras hasn’t inspired you to get snapping then how about our ‘Go Photo’ competition……


Wannabe Hacks have teamed up with Wonkyfrog for a photography competition…

And it could win you a cracking gift just in time for Christmas!

The Prize – First place will get a unique discount code entitling the winner to three personalised calenders courtesy of Wonkyfrog. Second and third place will win one personalised calender each.

What We Want – Submit one photo that you feel tells a story. It can be news, features or sport but it just has to be something which could be seen somewhere in newspaper (print or online). Send it to

It doesn’t have to be current; it just has to be your own work and must be accompanied by a short explanation of what the story is and why the photo tells the tale so well. The better the image the less explaining you’ll need to do.

The Deadline – Two weeks today, Wednesday 8th December at 5pm. This should give us enough time to pick our winners and you can have your calenders in time to give as Christmas presents if you wish. Some of the best efforts will be put on Flickr with some of our own offerings.



We want entries from all types of photographers, pros, enthusiasts or someone who has just picked up a camera, get out there and get snapping.

WonkyFrog is a young and fast-growing personalisation website where you can design, upload and create your own photo calendars.


About The Chancer
Tom is the former news and sport editor of Redbrick and also worked as the sport editor for The National Student. He has done work experience at local papers across the country and is currently studying the Newspaper Journalism MA at City University. He also co-writes the sport blog with The Student.

5 Responses to Journalists should get snap happy – and here’s an incentive

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Journalists should get snap happy – and here’s an incentive « Wannabe Hacks --

  2. Pingback: Oooo our blog on all things wonkyFrog | wonkyFrog

  3. Laura E Cox says:

    Welcome to the photo world, Northern. Great post – glad to see the hacks are bringing visuals to their writing, and nice idea to launch a compo

  4. Pingback: Go Photo: If I can do it, anyone can « Wannabe Hacks

  5. Michael Pope says:

    It’s on.

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