Who is that? Or how to waste journalists’ time

Who are they? | Supply a caption when sending photographs to journalists
Many journalists don’t have much time. They are often working to tight deadlines so have to get information fast. As many publications reduce staff, often they have to produce the same amount of material with fewer people.

This means that everything you can do to help journalists by providing interesting, good quality, detailed and accurate information gives your material a greater chance of being featured.

Who is that in the photo?

One of the most common pieces of information I have to chase up is the caption for a photo.

Many press releases are sent with accompanying photographs, but all too often there is no caption detailing the subject or naming the people pictured. Or perhaps the people are mentioned, but there is no clue as to who is who.

I have to know who is in the photo as it could be the wrong photo and include someone else entirely. This means sending an email or calling if I’m approaching my deadline.

This takes time, not a lot, but time that I would rather spend more productively on interviewing someone or writing.

Detail who and what are in your photo

When sending photos to journalists, it’s good practice to provide a caption.

Say who is in a photo and if there is more than one person, list them in order, eg (from left). It’s also a good idea to give their titles, eg managing director of [your company], so that the journalist can see the relevance of the photo to your press release.

It sounds like a small detail, but is quite important. Your photo might not be included if the journalist can’t be sure who or what it is.

It takes just a few minutes to write a caption.

2 Comments

  • Suzan St Maur

    14-Dec-13 at 6:24 pm Reply

    It’s very important to get captions right, as you say, Robert. Yet I’m amazed at how many newspapers/news websites just can’t manage it … hence my lampooning of them on my own site. If you’d like to see an example, here’s one – it’s not only funny but also reminds people to get captions right and proof read them for grammar, syntax, spelling, etc.

    http://howtowritebetter.net/how-not-to-write-picture-captions-by-a-leading-uk-newspaper/

    • robertz

      14-Dec-13 at 8:04 pm Reply

      Yes, it’s just as important for journalists to get captions right too. I always proof my material before I submit it, but always afraid that the a howler will slip through.

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