Journalism often has two aspects to it in order to create a story that will capture the attention of an audience. There is the written portion that most people pay critical attention to when reading a newspaper or online story, and then there is the photo journalism aspect which lends to both written and video copy of a news story.

First, the written aspects of a news article, or the verbal pieces for news portrayed on the television, it’s important for the facts to be on point and it needs to be written in a way that captures the attention of the reader or watcher. There are several ways journalists capture the attention of the audience and that is through the WOW effect, sympathy effect, or by hitting on something popular. The WOW effect is something along the lines of writing an article that scares the audience, and the most recent is the discussion of Ebola and how it has been brought into the US and many news outlets lending medical suggestion that it has become an airborne virus. Now, a sympathy effect, that is more an article written related to a tragic event, most often local. For example, “a young boy fighting cancer”, garners significant sympathy, and allows the reader to connect with the story. Finally, a popular topic will often be covered to get an audience. A recent example was the requirement of a Facebook App, and how news stations “tech experts” discussed the pros/cons of the app. Years ago, this wouldn’t have been covered, but today with the popularity of Facebook, and mobile applications, it became a story.

Secondly, there is the aspect of photojournalism, and that is the journalistic portrayal through the use of photos which can often have a huge impact on the audience. The best way for photojournalists to learn how to create that connection and impact they need to take photography courses to learn photography. One of the most vivid uses of photojournalism is in the usage in tragic stories such as the aftermaths of natural disasters such as tornados, hurricanes, volcanos, and typhoons. When viewers see the destruction it really strikes a chord with them. When Hurricane Katrina hit the user shores as one of the most devastating hurricanes to ever make landfall in the US, the pictures taken by photojournalists really showed the impact on New Orleans which was catastrophic. These images allowed the audience to really feel the destruction and emphatize with those effected. There is nothing more impactful than seeing images of people like you standing next to the remains of their flooded home, or seeing people floating down what used to be a street on a boat because it’s been flooded.

When looking to become a journalist, it’s important to remember there are two avenues to go, but both can create a connection with the audience if done correctly. If you’re more visually inclined then learning photography with photography courses may suite you better than going the written route. That decision is up to you to make.

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