Photojournalists have different focus at Ogden parade

Jul 29 2011 - 10:45pm


There is a subtle difference between photojournalism and the personal pictures you and I might take.

With photojournalism, the image is intended to tell a story. With personal photos, the image is meant to preserve a moment.

Sometimes the two can be one in the same, but not always.

The difference came to mind when we received some complaints about our photos of the Ogden Pioneer Days Parade.

Some readers said they wanted to see more photos of the floats. The two people I spoke with admitted they had worked on floats and felt photos in the paper were justified because of the work they put in on the projects.

We ran a gallery of photos online and some in the paper. Most of the shots were of people at, or participating in, the parade. Photojournalists will often focus on people at events rather than inanimate objects as part of their story-telling mission.

Now, we probably could have used more shots of floats since it was a parade, and that is part of the story.

However, photo-taking is not just limited to professionals these days, even when it comes to those published by news outlets.

One person complaining online indicated he had taken photos of the floats. Well, he could have sent them in.

We did a call-out asking for readers to send in their Pioneer Days photos. Readers can also upload their own photos to our Spotted website. This would have been an excellent opportunity for those who worked on floats to send in photos of their creations.

EMOTIONAL MISTAKE: Like many newspapers, the obituaries are an important element of the Standard-Examiner.

They are one of the most-read features in print and online and are an important element of information for a close-knit community. Obituaries are not just for family members and close friends. Former classmates, co-workers, fellow churchgoers and casual acquaintances also rely on them. The obituaries are testaments to a life lived, not just an acknowledgment of a life ended.

That's why any mistake in an obituary can touch a lot of people.

We experienced that first-hand Thursday when we mistakenly re-published the Tuesday obituaries rather than the 21 new notices scheduled for that day.

I won't go into detail as to how this happened, except to say it was human error. We ran the obituaries originally scheduled for Thursday on Friday.

As editor I take full responsibility for the mistake. Since obituaries are paid notices, there was a financial impact for the newspaper as well. However, that pales in comparison to the emotional impact. Many family members, already grieving at the loss of a loved one were dealt a second blow when the obituaries weren't published as planned.

I am truly sorry for the error.

WRONG STANDARD: Occasionally we get emails meant for The Standard, a newspaper in Kenya. This can briefly cause some confusion, but there are obvious signs when we have received a news release intended for the African outlet. Like this one that began: "This is to confirm that the Justice for Children Walk, Fundraiser and Goat Eating is on..."

We figured a Utah walk-a-thon wouldn't include that culinary offering.

Andy Howell is executive editor. He can be reached at 801-625-4210 or

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