News Thinking • 20 November 2010 • The SnowBlog
File this post of mine under 'a day late and a dollar short', but I thought I'd (belatedly) share this little morsel of interest from a couple of weeks ago that kind of makes you wonder about news reporting in the media. It's from the London riots over university tuition fees.
Most people have seen the picture in the thumbnail there. Click on it to see a bigger version. There are two really interesting things about it. One: it more or less became the print media's official picture of the riots. You can ask yourself why that would be (too good not to use? not much else they could use?). Anyway, click here to see what I mean about its popularity; it seemed as though it was in every paper.
And the second really interesting thing is this photo:
Please click on it to see a larger version. Doesn't that put a completely different complexion on the scene? Is it really a riot if ten photographers, in a pretty docile-looking crowd, watch one lunatic break a window? Or is it OK to use a picture that turns out not to be very riotous if you're using it to give the impression of the sort of rioting that you believe is going on nearby but don't have any cool photos to illustrate? Even if you go for the latter explanation, it's difficult not to feel like you've been 'had' when you get a look at the original photo's backdrop.
(And well done to the BBC for including that last, zoomed-out photo on their website.)