Friday, April 23, 2010

Wall Street Journal Editors Should Make Their Own Paper a Must-Read

Photo Cutlines Really Are Part of the Paper Too

Taking up about a third of the real estate above the fold on the front page of Wednesday's Wall Street Journal is a photo of a street battle in Managua firing at a hotel where Nicaraguan lawmakers were meeting to try to repeal a decree President Ortega issued extending the terms of some officials.
All well and good. Nice picture and all. But what I just wrote above is all you'd have found in the Journal about this story. Normally, big display art would normally lead to a story inside the paper if it didn't accompany the photo. Not here. If the photo is deemed worthy enough to occupy A-1, there needs to be more to the story. There needs to be a story, first and foremost.
And if you do a story with matching art, make sure the photo's cutline refers to it. On page A10 in the same edition, the story headlined "Airports Reopen, Safety Debate Lingers" had a photo captioned: An Icelandair plane takes off Tuesday from Glasgow International Airport bound for Reykjavik in Iceland."
Only problem: The photo clearly shows the plane is one from Lufthansa and, as an online correction noted, it was taking off from Dusseldorf.
Glasgow. Dusseldorf. Hard to tell them apart after all that volcanic ash mucking up the works. But at $2 a copy, you expect Journal editors to be paying more attention to not-insignificant details like that.

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