Monday, November 19, 2007
Shrunken dunk
Photojournalism online is a mixed blessing.

On the one hand, news Web sites can offer multiple images with a story rather than just one or two in print. Slide shows can be storytelling vehicles that are independent of story text and enlivened with sound.

On the other hand, many photos lose their impact because they are too small. That's the case here. In print, this photo of a UNC basketball player's emphatic dunk is a powerful image, stretching across five columns of the page. On the Web next to this story, it loses its sense of drama because it measures about 2 inches by 1 inch on a typical computer screen. (More on the photo here.)

The problem isn't this particular photo or this particular newspaper Web site. The problem is the medium itself and its limitations.
posted by Andy Bechtel at 4:02 PM | Permalink |


  • At 10:02 PM, Blogger Ryan Thornburg

    Not a limitation of the medium. A limitation of the imagination on how to best use it.

    I saw this photo online and had the same negative reaction. So I went hunting for the "Enlarge this photo" link that would display the shot in full-screen glory (see, among others). But no luck.

    So I -- miraculously -- found the link to the game photo gallery, looking for an enlarged version there. I found it, but only after clicking through a mess of severely less cool pictures.

    And never once during my entire quest to find a Hansbrough-size pic did I care to read a word of the story.

    The lesson here is that inflexible content management systems must be tamed to put the right story-telling unit at the center of the reader experience.

  • At 9:01 AM, Blogger Andy Bechtel


    Good points all. This is a fixable problem as you suggest.

    You were eventually able to get the information that you wanted. My point is you shouldn't have to search so hard for what you want to see. The print version didn't require you to do that.

    Of course, the print version of the photo was buried on 6D rather than placed on the Sports front, but that's a different matter.