Home > Uncategorized > Captions sell stories, Thursday lab (153)

Captions sell stories, Thursday lab (153)

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  1. Courtney Robinson
    October 22, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Oct. 22, 2008 Front Page of the Washington Post from newseum.com.
    The picture is of a black man who is looking off in the distant and behind him it looks like a small one-level apartment. The cutline states: “Warren Kent Vaughn, who has struggled to hold a steady job and keep a home, has tried to tell ex-hustlers of the importance of the election.”
    I think this cutline worked because it is intriguing to its audience. It captured my attention. I wasn’t expecting it to pertain to politics. Also, it was very insightful – I wasn’t expecting that conclusion from the cutline. Also, it follows Kenneth Irby’s “Hot Tips for Writing Photo Captions.” For example, it didn’t state the obvious; it states the main person in the photo; it doesn’t use terms like “is shown;” and its not too long.

  2. Garret Durst
    October 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    On Oct. 25, 2008, the Front Page sports page of the Lincoln Journal Star had a great photo and cutline. The photo is Parker Schoen, of Lincoln Southwest, crossing the finish line at the State Cross Country Meet. The cutline states: “Parker Schoen of Lincoln Southwest crosses the finish line Friday to win the boys Class A race at the State Cross Country Meet at the Kearney Country Club. Schoen finished in 16 minutes, 30.9 seconds to complete an undefeated season.”
    This cutline fits perfect with the photo because the photo shows Schoen just crossing the finish line and expressing emotion. The cutline doesn’t make assumptions. The cutline gives you facts that are true and that is what makes a great cutline. By reading this cutline, I learned a lot about Schoen and his successful season. I liked this cutline because it didn’t state the obvious, but gave me some details. Just reading this cutline sums up the entire article. I felt that is productive because then I don’t have to read the article about Schoen. This cutline fit the photo perfectly and that is what makes a great cutline.

  3. William Whited
    October 26, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    On Oct. 26, 2008, the online version of the Oregonian featured an article called Oregon leads the way in loving vote-by-mail. The article’s photo contains the caption “Eecole Copen (center) does the “voter dance” at a Portland voting party. About two dozen people attended the house party, where they drank wine, sang, debated the issues and marked their ballots.” Michelle Cole wrote this online article and Stephanie Yao took the photograph.
    I found this cutline to accurately describe and sum up the article. The cutline gives an example of how some people living in Oregon decide to vote.
    Copen is identified in the photograph. The photo shows what other people are doing. The cutline does not wander in focus or try to be humorous when it isn’t. I like how the caption describes Copen as doing the “voter dance.” This description brings the cutline down to a real human level and adds to reader interest before the article begins. The cutline is relevant and to the point because the time to vote is near. This was an enjoyable piece.

  4. William Whited
    October 26, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2008/10/oregon_leads_the_way_in_loving.html
    On Oct. 26, 2008, the online version of the Oregonian featured an article called Oregon leads the way in loving vote-by-mail. The article’s photo contains the caption “Eecole Copen (center) does the “voter dance” at a Portland voting party. About two dozen people attended the house party, where they drank wine, sang, debated the issues and marked their ballots.” Michelle Cole wrote this online article and Stephanie Yao took the photograph.
    I found this cutline to accurately describe and sum up the article. The cutline gives an example of how some people living in Oregon decide to vote.
    Copen is identified in the photograph. The photo shows what other people are doing. The cutline does not wander in focus or try to be humorous when it isn’t. I like how the caption describes Copen as doing the “voter dance.” This description brings the cutline down to a real human level and adds to reader interest before the article begins. The cutline is relevant and to the point because the time to vote is near. This was an enjoyable piece.

  5. Sarah Tenorio
    October 26, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Time.com’s “pictures of the week” included a photo released on Sunday, October 19. The picture is of three coffins standing on the side of a dirt road during sundown. The cutline read:
    “Morbid Reality: Coffins are sold by the side of a road on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan”
    After reading the two links about cutlines I wasn’t really sure if this cutline fit the requirements. But I realized that whether or not it fit the requirements, this cutline definitely made me want to read the story.
    It was short but if it would have had any more factual information it would have ruined the mood of the picture. The picture is somber, and the cutline parallels it.
    One might also argue that the cutline isn’t specific enough. I don’t get a specific idea about what the story’s about. But to me, the caption had enough information. There were two words that told me the story. They were “sold” and “Pakistan.” With those two words I had a general idea of what the story would be about.
    It was enough to make me want to read more.

  6. Nicole Manske
    October 26, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Oct. 26, 2008 Front Page of the Lincoln Journal Star from newseum.com.
    The photograph is of an aerial view of part of downtown Lincoln. The cutline reads: Lincoln taxpayers have contributed $68 million so far to the Antelope Valley Project through numerous taxes. This aerial view looks north. Bob Devaney Sports Center and State Fair Park are at the top of the photo; the University of Nebraska-Lincoln city campus is at the bottom. North Antelope Valley Parkway runs from upper left to lower right. Salt Creek Roadway (Holdrege Street) runs from lower left to upper right.
    This worked because it was not only accurate, but identified the major buildings in the photograph with the help of directional descriptions. The obvious is not the only thing stated, as the figure $68 million is used to give more information. This number along with the rest of the sentence informing the reader that this is the amount taxpayers paid would entice me to read the story and figure out what exactly this large sum of money is being used for.

  7. Grant Triplett
    October 27, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/27331340/displaymode/1107/s/2/framenumber/2/

    This caption reads “Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, Evan Longoria, right, takes the throw from Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Andy Sonnanstine during a rundown with Philadelphia Phillies baserunner Jimmy Rollins in the first inning. Longoria tagged Rollins, but the umpire ruled the Philly safe, and Rollins later scored the first run of the game.”

    I think this cutline is good for multiple reasons. The first is that it is informative and clearly narrates what is happening in the picture. It also is nice because it tells you what happened after the picture was taken. I watched this play happen, and anyone else who did knows that this was a completely blown call. Readers who watched the game would get an aesthetic feel because they were probably upset (or happy) when this picture reminded them of what happened during the game they watched. The headline “Caught in a Pickle,” is rather bland, but explains the situation clearly.

  8. Teresa Lostroh
    October 30, 2008 at 1:04 am

    A random photo of a Pennsylvania woman shoveling snow outside of her home ran in Wednesday’s edition of the Omaha-World Herald. The cutline read, “Charlene Sylvia of Tobyhanna, Pa., shovels snow Tuesday after the season’s first big snowstorm moved into the Northeast. Up to 13 inches of snow fell Tuesday in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, and up to a foot was forecast in parts of New York state. Some 39,000 customers in northeast Pennsylvania, which includes Tobyhanna, lost power, utility PPL Corp. said.” This captions pretty much tells the reader everything. Who? Charlene Sylvia What? She’s scooping snow because a big snow rolled through her area When? Tuesday Why? Big snow Where? Tobyhanna, Pa. This caption is significantly better than, “A Pennsylvania woman scoops snow outside of her Tobyhanna home.” The cutline told us why we should care: This place got a ton of snow, and it’s only October. And 39,000 people is a lot to lose power. I almost feel as if I should know what brand of jeans she’s wearing or what she ate for breakfast.

  9. PJ Hunsicker
    October 30, 2008 at 4:34 am

    New York Times, October 28,2008

    “Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, leaving court on Monday in Washington. Mr. Stevens was found guilty on seven counts of corruption after three weeks of testimony.”

    I like that word. Corruption. Very evocative and it sells the fact that the guy is from Alaska, a state that’s had no shortage of press coverage thanks to a certain VP candidate. It’s brief, too, which makes it that much more interesting and taut. They left the details for the reader to find in the actual article. That’s a good strategy and it doesn’t submit to visual elements fully telling the story.

  10. Elizabeth Gamez
    October 30, 2008 at 6:05 am

    The picture I’ve choosen is titled “Talking business” from msnbc.com’s “The Week in Pictures.”

    In the picture is a man with his lower face covered, talking on the phone under a light. The right side shows the dark tunnel. It reads:

    “A Palestinian smuggler speaks on a phone in a tunnel beneath the Egyptian-Gaza border Tuesday, Oct. 21. Hundreds of Gaza merchants throng around the border area of Rafah every day to pick up merchandise coming to Gaza from Eygpt via subterranean passages that have created a flourishing trade zone.
    At first glance, I realized how long and wordy this caption is. Yet after evaluating the information, the picture is well described and purposeful. I do wish thought that they would have been more specific with merchandise. Merchandise is vague and redundant following merchants. I did like the choice of descriptive words such as “throng” and “flourishing.” It paints paints a better understanding of what the situation is in the passage. I think that such construction intrigues people and makes them read the article. It tells the who, when, and why it’s significant.

  11. Max Wohlgemuth
    October 30, 2008 at 6:33 am

    At this early hour in the morning, I found a photo caption I liked very quickly. The photo was on the New York Times website. The story is about early voting, and the photographer found a unique set-up in a grocery store where there are slot machines, voting booths and groceries all in the same shot.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/us/politics/30early.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    “A store in Las Vegas offers groceries, slot machines and voting terminals side by side. Early voting has proved popular in Nevada.”

    The reason I think the caption works is because it ties the photo to the story well. It takes a really interesting photo that really doesn’t have a strong tie to the story and brings it to the story. The caption describes the photo, which usually is unnecessary, but in this case I think it is needed. It is just so unusual to see a scenario like the one in the photo that one has to have it confirmed in the caption. The caption delivers.

  12. Allyson Felt
    October 30, 2008 at 8:50 am

    http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/hr.asp?fpVname=WI_HTR&ref_pge=lst

    I chose the caption from a paper in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The photo itself is of a man working out in a gym. This caption reads:

    Jeremy Blahnik of Denmark performs pectoral flies Monday at Anytime Fitness in Manitowoc. Through changing his diet, walking and working out at Anytime Fitness Blahnik lost 265 pounds and has been maintaining his weight at about 224 since last Thanksgiving.

    This caption does an amazing job of explaining the photo and giving information about the story. It is a mini-story. It tells who is in the photo, where he is, what he has done to merit a photo about him and even goes far enough to explain the specific chest exercise he is doing. It gives every detail the reader needs to know. If I didn’t have time to read this article, I could simply look at the photo caption to know what I needed to get out of the story. One could argue this takes away from reading the story, but I don’t feel it does. It gives enough detail to grab your attention. How exactly did he lose the weight? What diet and exercises did he use? Why was he so big to begin with? What is he doing now? These are the questions the caption leaves unanswered.

  13. Marlenia Thornton
    October 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    The cutline that I liked came from the Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008 edition of the Omaha World-Herald. The cutline says “Kevin Roess on his front porch with his daughter, Elizabeth, Wednesday in Oil City, Pa. She successfully petitioned the City Council to bring back nighttime trick-or-treating, which was banned after a 1992 murder.” Although, the first part of the cutline states the obvious which for the most part can be seen in the photo, I think the second part of it effectively answers the “so what” question of this story and its photo. Yes, the first place helps explains the photo a bit, but the second part goes deeper and gives more detail and context such as the detail about Halloween being banned in that city since 1992 because of a murder. That small detail captures my attention and makes me want to read the story.

  14. Jamie Klein
    October 30, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/hr.asp?fpVname=MA_BG&ref_pge=gal&b_pge=4

    This photo just about broke my heart. It is from today’s Boston Globe. There are a line of soldiers and a little boy holding an American flag leaning onto one of the soldiers.

    The caption:
    “Reluctant Farewell – Three-year-old Morgan Riddick of Woonsocket, R.I., leaned on his father, Thomas, during a deployment ceremony on the Taunton Green yesterday for the 772d Military Police Company of the Massachusetts National Gaurd. The 180 soldiers departed immediately afterward for a year’s assignment of training police in Iraq.”

    I couldn’t find the story to go with the photo, and then I realized there wasn’t an accompanying article- the photo was a stand alone.
    I think this caption captured the photo perfectly.
    There is no mention of emotion in the caption, which I think is important. I would have hated a caption that said “Little Morgan is upset to see his father leave,” we can tell the poor kid is heartbroken by the way he is staring at his father’s shoes.
    By simply describing what Morgan did is powerful enough in my eyes, and the second sentence about the soldiers leaving immediately afterward is pretty heart wrenching (I think). With just an explanation of what and where the event took place gives the reader context and explains why Morgan looks so sad.

  15. October 30, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    There is a photo in todays NY Times that is America squared. There are peole voting, gambling, and buying groceries all at the same time in Las Vegas. The caption is very dry but works perfectly because it gives order to an otherwise insane cluster**** of americanism that you can only get in Las Vegas.
    “A store in Las Vegas offers groceries, slot machines and voting terminals side by side. Early voting has proved popular in Nevada.”

    There is an attached story about early voting, and the dateline is Hendersen, Nev. IN the photo there’s a casion, a produce section in the background, and people voting in front of racks of soft drinks and Halloween decorations. God Bless America.

    The lead for the story is great, too: “At grocery stores across Las Vegas, voters are casting ballots, and then shopping for bananas or hitting the slot machines a few feet away.”

  16. Matthew Butts
    October 30, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Jamie Moyer, born in Philadelphia, attended the parade celebrating the Phillies team that won the World Series in 1980. Now, he’ll be in one.

    This is from ESPN.com. The photo is of Jaime Moyer holding a piece of the field beside his children. I especially liked this because as a baseball fan, I know that Jamie Moyer is OLD. It gives us a very good idea about how long it has been for the Phillies. The caption really shows some emotion because you know that he has been dreaming of this since he was a child. In addtion, it tells us that Philly won without saying “Philly won”. It doesn’t tell you exactly what is happening in the picture, but gives you some background to understand what you see.

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