Flapjacks and Photo Ops

Habib, Dan
March 2004
Nieman Reports;Spring2004, Vol. 58 Issue 1, p43
This article offers insights about the photojournalism style in the New Hampshire newspaper, Concord Monitor. Covering the primary election in New Hampshire is different between photographers and campaign staff. Campaign workers carefully plan events and arrange settings to mold how they would like to convey the candidate's image, while photographers seek out engaging moments to communicate an accurate nature of the candidate and the campaign. For the publisher and staff of the newspaper, images influence voters. During each primary season, Monitor photographers negotiate with each candidate to get an access to the campaign. Although campaigns take some risk in granting this access, they also stand to gain by it if the resulting photographs give readers insight into the political process and the personality of the candidate and their staff. The Concord Monitor's ethics policy forbids reporters and photographers to stage, alter or re-enact news events. One example of stage directing happened when members of the media gathered for General Wesley Clark's State House arrival. They were told that he would be entering by a back door. A television reporter protested that it would be a much better visual if Clark walked up the front steps. As a result, the plan changed to have him walk up the front steps.


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