We live in an extremely visual world

Anything and everything comes with some sort of visual aid, and there are multiple social media platforms that focus particularly on images

So obviously, photography made its way into the journalism industry. However, many people don't really believe that photojournalism is, in fact, real journalism. 

They either believe that it falls under art as it is photography, or they think it needs words and text in order to count as a piece of journalism.

Naturally, we wanted to weigh in on the discussion. 

That is why Alrika Möller from media update is zooming in on photojournalism. 

Before we can even consider answering the question, we need to take a look at what photojournalism is. 

So … what is it? 

Photojournalism got its big break along with the boom of magazines in the 1920s. When magazines became a thing, they had the option of publishing better-quality photos than a newspaper. They were also able to give one photo a full page in the magazine. 

Since then, photography has become a way of reporting on events and people that impact the world. The reports are done by telling a story through a series of photographs. As with most stories, they also have a beginning, middle and end. 

Photojournalism follows the idea that 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. That means that a series of photographs is the equivalent of thousands of words. So, if a photojournalist does the job right, there is no need to add any more words as an explanation. 

The pictures tell the story. 

How is it different from other forms of photography? 

Photography is generally a form of self-expression. You take photos of things you find pretty or interesting. Not to mention, there's a whole category for taking photos of memorable moments in life — such as weddings and graduations. 

It is also a popular art form, with photography filling many art galleries every year. 

The difference here, though, is that art can be open to interpretation. It is all about the emotion that a photo or an art piece evokes. 

Photojournalism is not at all about the photographers themselves. It is not at all focussed on the things they find pretty or interesting, and it is definitely not open for interpretation

With that being said, the main difference between photojournalism and all other forms of photography is ethics.

Photojournalists subscribe to a code of ethics that demands objectivity and truth. Their photographs are a way of holding a mirror up to the world and showing the truth about a situation or person — regardless of the journalists' opinions. 

How is photojournalism different from other forms of journalism? 

Most forms of journalism are built on the concept of reporting facts. When the story breaks on the news, we are presented with the hard facts. And when a newspaper article about an event comes out, we get as many facts as they could dig up

Photojournalism is also a fact-hunting spree, but there is no angle or subjective narrative that can be sprinkled into the report. 

A big difference is the lack of interviews. As most news stories unfold, journalists interview people who are close to the situation to get some more information, an authentic angle or flavour

Photojournalists don't interview anyone. They take pictures of things as they are without changing a thing. They capture a moment in time and use that to tell us everything we need to know. 

So, is photojournalism real journalism? 

The long answer is that it is a way of reporting, which gives us a truthful look into what is happening in the world and provides a window into the lives of people and events. 

The short answer: Yes … Yes, it is! 

There are so many aspects of the media industry, and they all spark their own conversations. What media-related topics do you want us to tackle next? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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Do you need more knowledge of the journalism industry? Take a look at What is investigative journalism [Infographic]

*Image courtesy of Canva