In English, we have this phrase “Seeing is believing.” In Chinese, we say “眼見為實(眼见为实) — To see is to believe.” On the internet, this new expression, “有圖(图)有真相 — No photo, no proof,” is also very popular in our part of the world.
In fact, many countries have very similar, or even identical, expressions; the idea seems universal. We tend to believe what we see with our own eyes.
That’s why photos and videos are an essential part of the news.
Images show what it’s like to be at the scene. Cameras serve as our eyes and ears. We feel like we understand news better with visual information because, like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Here are some great aspects of photo and video journalism:
But there are a lot of issues we need to be aware of at the same time. In the age of PhotoShop, we all know that fake photos and videos are ubiquitous on social media.
Many of us have uncles and aunties who believe, and share, some outrageous “news” images that are clearly manipulated or look suspiciously unnatural.
But manipulation is not the only thing we need to be careful about. There are a lot of ways legitimate photos and videos can be misleading. On social media, some people borrow (or should we say steal?) photos and videos from old news events or other places.
Here’s another example during the recent Typhoon we had in Hong Kong, which AJ did not mention in the video:
Not all fake or misleading images are simple hoaxes, though. News photos and videos show only a glimpse of the whole action, which sometimes leads to misunderstanding. The Koi feeding incident AJ mentioned in the video is a good example:
Photojournalists can also dramatize the scene. Years ago, photographer Ruben Salvadori documented in Jerusalem this very issue.
There are many other techniques of photography and videography that could “trick” the news audience and we will discuss those in the next episode of Strapline (EP06).
Students will be able to develop a better understanding of how news photos are being made and chosen to be shown to the audience.