12

Journalism through the camera's eye
Barbie Zelizer
What does journalism look like when it comes through the camera's eye?
How do we evaluate journalism through the camera's eye?
What problems ensue when journalism comes through the camera's eye?
What does this say more generally about the workings and authority of journalism?

No one has yet been able to pinpoint definitively who coined the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words. But regardless of whom it was or the circumstances under which it was coined, its potential application to journalism was certainly not part of the notion's original formulation. And therein lies the misfortune, for journalism might have been different had more thought been devoted early on to its relationship with pictures. Instead, journalism has evolved without that question ever being sufficiently addressed, and the history, evolution and practice of journalism around the world have all developed alongside a long list of conflicting assumptions about how the image is supposed to work in news. Contemporary journalism is filled with images–still photographs, graphics, televised and cable video, and even interactive visual sequences on the Internet. Yet how many words those visuals are worth, if any at all, remains an unspoken issue in contemporary thinking about the incorporation of images in news. How to account for journalism when it comes through the camera's eye is thereby a critical topic when considering how journalism works.

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