|Posted on April 5, 2010 at 9:15 AM|
While new technology has created greater opportunities for PR pros to get photos to the media in the current news cycle, the keys to placing photos with the media remain creativity and quality of the images.
These were among the messages presented at a recent U.S. Newswire workshop attended by more than 100 PR pros at Washington, D.C.'s National Press Club.
The event, presented by Medialink's U.S. Newswire division, featured Harry Walker, photo editor of Knight-Ridder News Service; Jonathan Elmer, former photo editorof The Associated Press; and Jim Sulley, director of photography for Medialink's WirePix division, a leading producer and distributor of news photosfor the PR field.
Walker stressed that a photo provided by a PR person has to be very special for him to run it on the KRTNS, which is now the second largest news service for photos.
He is looking for creative, compelling pictures that can illustrate a newsworthy story. For this to happen, Walker said the photographer shooting the work must understand the story.
PR people should look for photographers who are willing to take the time to understand the context and meaning of their story - not simply to show up and snap a picture.
A good PR photographer should be able to help suggest several ways to creatively tell the client's story with pictures, said Walker.
Elmer said during his days at AP, he would see as many as 800 photos a day and the staff reviews and considers hundreds or even thousands more.
These are actual pictures shot by AP's own news photographers and the staff photographers of AP member papers, as well as a network of paid stringers.
So, it is a challenge to create a PR photo that is of sufficient quality to move inthis group.
Elmer suggested studying pictures that are in the newspaper and seeing what gets used and why. He also noted that while meeting minimum technical standards (200 DPI,5 x 7), shooting in focus, proper lighting and captioning are all important.
There is also the matter of getting the photo to newsrooms in a timely and easy-to-use manner.
Sulley emphasize that with digital technology it is now possible to transmit photos directly from any event via wireless modem, laptop and digital camera. The ability to move pictures faster helps make it easier to deliver art to the wires in the same news cycle as text.
But timeliness alone will not make a compelling photo that will be used by the wires. For those instances WirePix has a contract with AP PhotoExpress, a satellite-delivered service that reaches AP member newspapers nationwide in minutes and before deadline.
Delroy A. Whyte-Hall