Cell phone visuals in news coverage

At 9:50 a.m., on Sunday, September 5, the following news story featuring cell phone visual coverage was posted onto the website of Denver television station KUSA: http://www.9news.com/news/investigations/hit-and-run/denver-police-respond-to-two-overnight-wrecks/313719217

The photos appear to have been taken by the reporter, Mallory Davis, with her cell phone because they are used to explain the scene of a story, but with little attention paid to lighting or focus.  The reporter, working for a television statement, likely had only a cell phone as her only resource, unless she was there with a 9News television camera.  Because these photos are still shots, my assumption is that they were taken with a cell phone.

In the case of this story published online, a cell phone was the appropriate technology to produce the coverage, if only because it was the resource most readily available.  Six photos are provided, which simply compliment the text of the story (which is quite limited).    The story is written in both the past and present tense, and the photos reinforce the facts that police are on the scene, the location is Chestnut Place, and the road is closed while police investigate.

The photos were seemingly intended to compliment, or reinforce, the information provided in the story.  None of the aesthetics are particularly pleasing to the eye, although they are effective in fulfilling their purpose.  Two of the photos depict police vehicles on the scene, three are of police officers either arriving or conducting an investigation, and the other shows the street sign which is likely intended to provide perspective regarding the location.  The photos of the police officers seem to have been taken from a designated location, with little attention paid to detail or focus, beyond their ability to compliment the facts in the story.

The cellphone’s camera function and online presentation were reasonably effective in contributing to the story.  I’m not completely sure when the story was originally posted because the photos were clearly late in the evening, or in the early morning hours, whereas the website indicates that the story was posted mid-morning.  The photos would have been most effective for people who could have seen them very close to when the police investigation was occurring.  Because the story is written in multiple tenses (past and present), and the photos were taken in the dark, the reader and viewer is left wondering what further information will come available.  Otherwise, the reader is basically aware that an intersection had been closed following an accident in the middle of the night, and a reporter happened to be there to take some pictures.

The text of the story also indicates that another street, Colfax Avenue, was closed earlier.  That part of the story is not complimented with pictures, and may be in reference to the fatality which was mentioned, but not specified, earlier in the story.


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