Saturday, October 2, 2010

English Writing Practice

A picture is worth a thousand words

        (only if it’s got a really good cut line, too!)
Photo captions and cut lines are the most read in a publication.

Of all the nes content, only the titles of stories or headlines have higher readership than captions. It follows that standards of accuracy, clarity, completeness and good writing and as high, if not higher, for captions and cut lines than for other body type. As with headlines, captions and cut lines must be crisp. As with stories, they must be readable and informative.

Captions : Captions are the little “headlines” over the “cut lines “ (the words describing the photograph). See example.
Cut lines (in newspapers and some magazines) are the words (under the caption, if there is one) describing the photograph or illustration.See example.

The first photograph’s caption is Bundle of joy’.The cut line is: “A tribal mother carrying her baby to the work place”.

Required information

The specific information required can vary from one photo to the next. But for most pictures a reader wants to know such things as:

• Who is that? (And, in most cases, identify people from left to right unless the action in the photograph demands otherwise.)
• Why is this picture in the paper?
• What’s going on?
• When and where was this?
• Why does he /she/it/they look that way?
• How did this occur?

Simply stated, cut lines should explain the picture so that readers are satisfied with their understanding of the picture. They need not - and should not - tell what the picture has made obvious. It should supply vital information that the picture cannot. For example, a picture can show a stork, but it likely does not show that the stork was saved. The cut line should give that information.

Tips and terms:
Be concise; be precise; don’t be trite; Cut lines should be as concise as possible, but they should not sound like telegrams. Unlike headlines (and caption lines), they should contain all articles itjid conjunctions, just as do sentences in news stories. News picture cut lines should he straightforward and clear.

Trite wrinting should be avoided: Do not point out [he obvious by using sut;h phrases us looks on, is shown and pictured above, Don’t editorialise; Never make assumptions iihoLit what someone in
a picture is thinking or \vy to Interpret Lie person’s feelings from his orher expression. The reader should be given the facts and allowed to decide for hersel for himself whul Uic fedftogs or emotions Lire,
Avoid the known; explain the unknown: Avoidcharaeterisuiy a picture as beatiti 111, di-amalic, ynsly or with other such descriptive terms that should be evident in the photograph. IT it’s not evident in the photograph, your telling the reader won’t make it happen.

Reflect the image: Make sure that the words accurately reflect the picture. If a picture shows two or more people, you should count the number of identifiable people in the photo and check the number and sex of the people identified in the cut line to make certain that they match.

Always, always, always check spelling: Check the spelling of names in the story.

“Wild art”: Photographs that do not accompany stories often are termed “wild art.” The cut lines for wild art should provide the same basic information that a story does, Such things as the “fives W’s”(who, what, when, where and why) are good to remember when writing such
cut lines.

Time elements. Most newspapers use a out line writing style that calls for the first sentence to be written in the present tense and for subsequent sentences to be in the past tense. The rationale is that the first sentence tells the reader what is happening in the photo. Subsequent sentences tell the context and background for what happened.
                                       BUNDLE OF JOY    A LITTLE DROP OF WATER....

Task 1: Look at the photographs carefully: Create your own cut tines using the guidelines given above and your imagination. For those photographs without a caption create your own captions.
Task 2: Collect us many photographs as possible from the newspaper and re- write the. captions and  cut lines using the guidelines: 

trite : common place
editorialise : giving opinion
crisp : snappy
innovative : original/novel
triggers : shoots/ stimulates
unscrupulous : dishonest

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