Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Author photos must go

Posted on | July 17, 2011 | 1 Comment

Here’s a suggestion for newspapers that want to reinvent themselves as they’ve evolving in the digital age: get rid of author pictures.

You know the ones I’m talking about: They’re outsized photos of head shots of columnists or authors that take up a lot of valuable page real estate in pri20110717-095816.jpgnt.

Second, I’d rather not know what he or she looks like in the same way I’d rather not know what the local radio personality looks like. I want my mind to imagine what that person looks like in the same way I want my mind to be stimulated by the columnist’s words.

Third, most of them look like slobs. You have pictures of guys in that classic reporters pose–ties askew, collars torn open, looking like they’ve been up for 36 or 37 hours working on the story. Seriously: who wears ties anymore? They’re usually really pasty looking like they haven’t been out from behind their desk in six or seven months.

But the real reason these pictures need to go is the fact that they represent the face of a dying generation of reporters, one, frankly, that hasn’t handled the transition to the digital age very elegantly. If you want to appeal to a younger audience (even in your digital properties) think about not making the face of your publications look like the kids’ grandparents.



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One Response to “Author photos must go”

  1. Bill
    July 18th, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    Agree 100%. The ego of most editors/reporters is one of the barriers between them and the audience–and the tired-looking, shopworn, cliched photos are just another manifestation of it.
    Sorry to be so direct, but I have met up with this ego issue so many times, when dealing with mass-market “consumer” (non-technical) media folks. In contrast, tech editors know that their audience is probably smarter than they are, so they usually don’t have this sort of “I’m so smart” ego problem–and they would be ripped to shreds if they did, IMO.

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