Blog post 13: Photo stories

The National Press Photographers Association has a monthly contest for its members. Looking at the winners in the “Feature/Multiple Picture” category is a great way to learn more about telling a story visually.

This is one of those assignments where you will select one item and write about it. Please dig around and try to find a photo story that really appeals to YOU. I won’t ask you you to post your selected story in advance, but please make an effort to choose one that no one else has written about.

To view the winners and choose one story:

  1. First go to the 2013 winners page and select any link there (R1, R2, etc., stand for regions of North America).
  2. From the region page, select any month.
  3. On the month page, open the link for “Feature/Multiple Picture.” Only this category contains photo stories.
  4. Choose a photo story to write about.

This contest is judged monthly, but sometimes there are no winners for a particular month, or in a particular category. Some of the regions have a lot more entries than other regions. So search around and make sure you get a good idea of the wide range of photo stories and topics available here! Do not write about a story you don’t like, or one in which you don’t see the point or the value.

NOTE: Complete the assigned reading in Kobré BEFORE you start this assignment!

Contents of your blog post

  1. In the first paragraph, include a functional LINK to the “Feature/Multiple Picture” page where your selected story appears. Example: this page.
  2. Also in the first paragraph, fully identify the story you selected, like this: the second-place winner by John Hart, Wisconsin State Journal.
  3. Write a brief summary of the subject of the photo story. What is it about? How many photos in total? Color or black-and-white? Why did you choose it?
  4. Read all the captions in the story, and compare them overall to what Kobré says about captions in chapter 7.
  5. In the form of three separate paragraphs, write about three different photos in the set. Choose any three photos you feel worthy of comment. It would be ideal if each one of the three you choose has a very different composition from the other two.

In the photo story by John Hart on this page, for example, I would select these three photos: 3, 5 and 7. In writing about 3, I would emphasize the view of the audience and the way this photo sets the scene or gives us the complete picture of the event. Writing about 5, I would point out how appropriate this is as the single detail shot. For 7, I would write about the emphasis on the girls’ hair and how, even though hair is the focus in this shot, we do see one clear face. I would also note that the judges said this story had a “good edit,” and I would offer my opinion on why they said that, using some points from Kobré.

Requirements for your blog post

  1. The length must be (minimum) 300 to (maximum) 500 words.
  2. Write intelligently so that a prospective employer, reading your post, will see that you are able to evaluate visual stories.
  3. Write an appropriate and interesting headline for your blog post.
  4. After you publish your blog post ON YOUR OWN BLOG, copy the URL of your post page and paste it in a REPLY to this post, here, on this blog. If you paste a complete URL on a line by itself, it will automatically become a working link. That is what I want.

Please read about grading criteria for blog posts in this course. Those criteria apply to all blog post assignments.


Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 9 a.m.

Your reply posted here must be submitted before 09:00:00 in order to receive credit.


About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

12 Responses to Blog post 13: Photo stories

    • This photo essay gives a feeling of being there, at the event. This is the hot-air balloon story we saw in class, but it only won SECOND place. Compare it to the first-place winner for the same month and try to figure out why professional photojournalists (the judges) gave that one FIRST place.

    • Interesting that this photo story about soldiers leaving home does not include even one close shot of a soldier’s face. It’s really about the people saying goodbye.

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