Proper pictures please!

Tomorrow's Business

A plea from hackland to flakland: spend some money on some proper pictures for gawd’s sake.

The disparity between the effort spent on press releases that are going nowhere (huge) and on pictures for stories we are definitely running (none) is hard to understand from our side of the fence.

Pictures have never been more important to newspapers, simply because they are so much better designed, so much more attractive to look at than they used to be.

The resource to find those images has also been squeezed until the pips squeaked.

Which means reporters are increasingly trying to do a job previously left to a talented picture editor. (They still exist; they are overworked.)

The growth of the web means that at many news sites, including the Evening Standard, every story now needs an image.

And the typical offer is: a very boring picture of a 50-something man in a suit, which is apparently either photocopied from his passport or comes from a police line-up.

Of what, we wonder, was he accused?

I understand the temptation to supply a boring picture. The client may even prefer it, may think rubbish pictures are somehow more professional.

But if they are unusable we will go with the picture you and the client just hates. (Admittedly, we might do this anyway, for sport.)

You want us not to run the pic of your client with her trousers tucked into her socks/his dress tucked into his knickers.

We want an image that can hold a page. Meet us halfway.

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