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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 9, 2011

Selection and impact of press photography. An empirical study on the basis of photo news factors

Patrick Rössler, Jana Bomhoff, Josef Ferdinand Haschke, Jan Kersten and Rüdiger Müller
From the journal


The selection of ‘good’ pictures has increasingly become a crucial factor when transmitting news to the recipients. Every day thousands of events are happening and millions of pictures are taken. By choosing photographs for newspapers and magazines, photographic editorial departments want to attract the recipients' attention, evoke emotions and get them to read their stories. But what exactly is a good picture that meets these expectations? Which criteria are decisive for selecting pictures and what effects of this selection can be measured on the recipients' side?

This article presents the results of a research project carried out at the University of Erfurt in 2008 and conducted in collaboration with the German weekly magazine stern. It deals with the selection and impact of press photography by introducing the concept ‘photo news factors’. Applying the traditional news value theory to pictures, photo news factors are defined as selection criteria that, on the part of the communicator, decide whether the press photos are worth publishing. Furthermore, they are assumed to exert an influence on the intensity of attention that a picture arouses.

Published Online: 2011-10-09
Published in Print: 2011-October

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston