Photojournalism tends to make journalism more personal or real.
Most people when they read about someone or a group of people struck by tragedy they feel bad, but when they have a visual of what it is going on they are more inclined to be affected by it.
I took a journalism ethics class and when we hit the topic of photojournalism there were many points of views offered to us to consider.
When it came to pictures of grief, a couple arguments for publishing them were:
1. Using these pictures can help explain an event to readers.
Sometimes even if we hear it from someone or read about a tragedy that happened it might not impact you the same way if you saw a picture of the devastation it was causing. Hear about it is one thing but actually seeing it is completely another thing. Lets take the earthquake in Haiti for example; if I didn’t see the numerous pictures and videos of the devastation there I might’ve not fully understood what was happening there. These pictures and videos helped me understand the magnitude of the tragedy.
2. Using these shocking pictures is that the pictures can teach readers lesson about life.
One picture that really hit home for me and was impactful in my experience in the journalism ethics class was a picture of a lifeless body of a drowned boy. This picture was published in hope of raising awareness of these sorts of accidents and they hoped that this kind of tragedies could be prevented.
In my opinion photojournalism varies from picture to picture and it depends what you are trying to tell with the picture that you couldn’t otherwise do through writing.
The photos need to further the understanding of some aspect of the community and should help the community make informed choices.
Bottom line, if a picture is needed to tell the story then we should have it. After all journalists should have the public interest should be the first priority.