Project Topics

AN ASSESSMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHS AND CARTOONS AS COMMUNICATION INSTRUMENTS A STUDY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

            No branch of journalism requires so much knowledge and skill than picture reporting. The industrial revolution played a significant role in the development of press photography according to (Gelnshain, 2002), the first book with lithographic illustration (pictures) appeared in 1840. The photographs were selected on the basis of the criteria of in testing subjects, which stabilizes presentation. After this pioneering indeed, two publications, London labour and the London poor, appeared in British critical study.  the use of photographs as a graphical presentation started with books, according to peter (2009.p,6) the application of this experience in periodical came; surprisingly fast in May, 1842. This was when Herbet Ingram founded the famous illustrated London news. The publication relied heavily on pictorial information.

            According to Anderson (2014.p,140) Photojournalism is an arm of journalism that uses images to tell stories and report events. It is different from other forms of photography such as commercial, Architecture and industrial photography. This could be seen in its adherence to certain journalism norms like News, Timeliness Objectivity, fairness and accurate representation of the events.

            Photojournalism involves the use of camera to record events as they happen. Like a news reporter, a photojournalist is a reporter but he or she writes with camera and disseminates news events through images. Photojournalists use pictures to tell stories interpret event and communicate their feelings about the society as Journalists hoping for a better society (Harding, 2012).

            The advent of photographs mechanically printed into newspapers opened up market for press photography. Pictures were mostly taken for their action and content rather than any aesthetic consideration. Today, they are used in the newspapers for different reasons. The other factor was the introduction, by George Eastman, of small cameras in use at that time. Thus, convenient cameras gave photojournalists the freedom to record news events easily and quickly. The technological advancement enabled them to also take pictures which were previously impossible to take such as night and moving images.  One of the foremost photojournalist was a Frenchman, Henri Cartier –Bresson, who from 1930 to 2004 worked to document what he called the “decisive moment”. Cartier-Bresson believed that the dynamics in any given situation eventually reach a peak, at which a photographer will capture the most powerful image possible.

            Photojournalists have become visual interpreters, using their cameras and knowledge to bring readers a feeling of what an event was really like. Meanwhile, in the past, the photojournalist depended on artists to draw replicas of his photograph, which was later reproduced by an engraver into a Zinc plate, (Aliagan, 2006). The plate was then printed on a Hoe rotary press. Due to the long process, several days passed before these line-drawn renderings of photographs appeared on the front-page of the newspaper.

            The growth of photography and photojournalism can be traced to two major factors that occurred near the end of the 19th century. The first is the technical innovation. This includes the invention of roll film, smaller cameras, faster lens and the perfection of the half tone process of printing photographs as a series of light and dark dots which allowed newspaper publishers to reproduce photographs quickly and inexpensively.

            Photographs in Journalism inform, educate and enlighten readers about current issues and also reflect on the past as well. Photographs in Newspaper enhance the credibility of the stories. As they depict reality, they also furnish evidence to show the authenticity of a news story or give proof of an event that occurred. Its aesthetic values enable a photograph to serve as a tool to attract reader’s attention and break the monotony of news content. Thus, photographs enhance and beautify the pages of a newspaper (Gervais, 2005). Beyond the active construction in the creation of the image in front of the camera, photo editing in programs like Adobe Photoshop are almost roundly rejected by ethics in photojournalism. This issue can be debated, but standard photo post-production elements such as smoothing out wrinkles on a person’s face, enhancing the colors of a location, or changing the contrast could all be considered clear violations of ethics in photojournalism. There have been many major cases in recent years of photojournalists being let go from major publications for the most minor alterations during photo editing. An example of this could be a color alteration to a photo where the sky color could be changed. This change in sky color could indicate or diminish the appearance of pollution, it could change the interpretation of the season, and it could even shift the perspective of the subjects Bose, (2002). All of these changes would be the anti-thesis of the structure of the photojournalist project and would violate it on a critical level. Photo editing can be used in certain situations, but it should remain incredibly minor if it wants to fit the strict ethical standards that have been associated with photojournalism.

            A photograph in Newspaper speaks more than a thousand words. No formal education is required to understand a picture. Photographs are therefore able to break through literacy barrier to effectively communicate a message. It is a universal language.

            Cartoons are non verbal graphic communication channels that express the opinions, views and findings of a media organization. They are used to advance an opinion in funny ways and are often based on current, burning and topical issues. They are used basically to educate, inform and entertain the audience by the print media (Emi, 2008).

            Also, the need for investigative journalism has placed emphasis on the watchdog role of newspaper due to the fact that there are two sides of human namely: the godly and the animalistic side of human to behave in good manners but the animalistic side of the human is the evil side which can be seen in different wrong doings or atrocities of man.

            It also shows the human urge to dominate, satisfy base instincts of huger, wealth acquisition and their evil or erotic desires. Human beings are expected to be rational but their rationality cannot always guarantee good conduct because most times, the animalistic tendencies in them prevail. Hence the needs for mass media to expose evil and t bring perpetrators to justice so that the human societies do not become the animal kingdom and full of evil.

            There is also the need to check the excesses of the powerful or privileged people against the less privileged ones to hold rulers accountable to their people to bring about social reforms to expose crime and other wrong doings and to act as voice for the voiceless etc. (Aina 2001).

            Also, the belief in the saying that Nigeria is one of the most corrupt nation of the world is not an exaggeration. International organizations have consistently testified to this undeniable fact to confirm the claims of these organizations, the country has witnessed different types of corrupt practices. This must have baffled the past regime led by chief Olusegun Obasajo so much that he thought it is necessary to establish organizations that could fight corrupt practices among citizens two of these organization are independent corrupt practice commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial crimes commission (EECC). After operating for few years, many have come to describe these as an organization of toothless bulldog.

            The only organizations that Nigerians can fall back on or depends on, is the press which has been battling corruption with its in-depth news reporting opinion, comments, editorial, editorial cartoon etc.

            Watson, (2008) Says that the media is prominent among the public arbiters for our behavior. Many have also found cartoons on newspaper to be equally up to the task of acting as the society watchdog. This is what the researcher hopes to answer.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

            The study will examine the effects and significance of crime illustration in enhancing the role of newspaper cartoons as watchdog in the society.

            It is to ascertain the impact of comic illustration on readers and the level to which cartoons have acted as watchdog of the society.