Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Some Posed Photos Pose No Problem

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Some Posed Photos Pose No Problem

Article excerpt

No news photographer could argue with the advisability of putting readers' faces in the paper. Nothing delights a photographer on an out-of-town assignment more than encountering somebody from back home in a picture situation.

Most, however, would part company with Joe Smyth, CEO of Independent Newspapers, who argues: "While there may be times when an action photo is appropriate, the best way to show community involvement is often through posed pictures.

"Grip-and-grin photos may have no place in metropolitan newspapers, but they are the `meat and potatoes' of the community newspaper's photo coverage."

Smyth's company, which is owned by a nonprofit holding company, publishes community newspapers in Arizona, Delaware, Florida and Maryland. Among them is Dover's Delaware State News, a morning and Sunday newspaper with a daily circulation of 23,643 and Sunday sales of 34,000 in combination with the 4,282-circulation Daily Whale of nearby Lewes, Del.

Michael Pelrine, editor of the State News, did not disown his boss' edict as set forth in the "Newsroom Guidelines for Independent Newspapers"

"The main thing is that we get a lot of people's faces in the newspaper," he said. "People love to see their faces in the paper."

He defended the quality of photography in the newspaper, and pointed to a local life-on-the-street photo spread that could have run in one of the metro newspapers that Smyth derides for their "arty" photos.

Chief photographer Kevin Heslin, who arrived at the State News six years ago after graduating from the University of Delaware, where he earned a master of fine arts degree in photography, did not feel repressed by Smyth's photo guidelines. …

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