Basic Requirements for News Writing for Dafa Practitioners (Part 4): Focus on Pictures

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Besides the quality of writing we can also make use of pictures, graphs, tables, maps, frames, etc to enhance the subject matter of our news reports. Successfully correlating the pictures and graphs will arouse more interest and also help readers grasp the content and information of the report quicker and more effectively.

Choice of Pictures

Pictures all contain some information. We need to choose pictures that closely relate to the content of the report and reflect a practitioner's high standard. If we fail to do so the pictures will not be harmonious to the article and might even conflict with the report's content.

If the atmosphere conveyed by the writing is festive and happy, but the picture is desolate or negative, or the message conveyed by the report is grand and solemn, but the picture shows only a few people wearing casual clothing, then it will fail to achieve the desired effect overall.

Subsequently, pictures should play the role of adding the finishing touches to the content of the report and include powerful captions. To achieve this effect, photographers have to first understand the subject of the report, then they can provide a group of high quality pictures for the reporters to choose from.
The basic requirements for taking pictures can be briefly summarized in the following points:

(1) The content of pictures should contain ample positive messages, so that the picture has deeper substance, and breaks the current trend of using deviated messages to make money.

(2) Dafa disciples should try our best to use orthodox and upright ways of expression.

(3) Pictures should portray a sense of motion to contrast the relatively static nature of the writing and help to encourage readers to read the reports further.

(4) Choosing picture content that is familiar to the reader will be attractive to them and help to bridge the gap between the reporters and the readers.

Writing Good Photo Captions

Captions should help strengthen the picture's influence. Good captions can also play a role to enhance the "soul" of the picture.
Good photo captions usually have the following characteristics:

(1) Pictures on their own are only a snapshot of a single instant in time. The circumstances before and after, background information, and the development behind the snapshot are impossible to include in the picture alone. This is where captions can play an important role. Captions can also emphasize the special or interesting parts in the picture that you want to bring to the reader's attention.

(2) Captions can explain what cannot be clearly seen in the pictures. For example, pictures taken from the slow-motion video analysis of the so-called Tiananmen self-immolation incident show the young woman Liu Chunling being hit on the head from behind, the military policeman as he hit her, and Liu falling down on the ground. However, all these could not be seen clearly in the pictures. If there are brief and precise captions accompanying these pictures, then the impact of the photos on the readers will be very different.

(3) We need to correctly estimate the ability of readers to draw information from the pictures and avoid redundant information. For example, some pictures show many practitioners performing the exercises. In this case a good caption would not be, "Falun Dafa practitioners practicing the exercises in a group." Otherwise the captions don't play any role of assisting the pictures.

We can make use of all good things in everyday people's society. The techniques and skills that are helpful for everyday people to understand the truth of Dafa can all be utilized by practitioners to increase the attraction and strength of our writing and pictures. What is important when Dafa practitioners clarify the truth is to use our hearts. Additionally our comprehensive and thorough understanding of the truth when we write articles is also important. Therefore, we don't need to go to extremes, and rigidly use or even attach to any one thing, because the formats are always secondary. By properly using the resources we have, we can double the effect with half the efforts. Otherwise, we may be constrained by the formality and only achieve partial effects after doubling our efforts.

(To be continued)
The Basic Requirements of News Writing (Part 1)
The Basic Requirements of News Writing (Part 2)
The Basic Requirements of News Writing (Part 3)

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