Sunday, January 23, 2011


From The Gainesville Sun
Third-grade jugglers participate in Littlewood Elementary School's annual Medieval Faire Thursday in Gainesville.

The second tip on the cutlines checklist is to “write with energy… a good cutline can sell the readers on taking a look at an accompanying story. I think that this is a good example of a cutline that could use a little more flair. “Participate in” and “third-grade jugglers” could both be reworded to reflect the lighthearted, fun nature of the story and event. With these kind of events, I think the writer has a lot more leeway in the types of words they choose.

Three ye-young jesters juggle for the crowd Thursday at Littlewood Elementary School's annual Medieval Faire in Gainesville.

From The Independent Florida Alligator

Freshman Gabby Jackson drums on a garbage can on Turlington Plaza Thursday afternoon. The garbage can drums were part of an effort to spread gospel through different mediums such as music, step, dance and drama.

The third tip on writing cutlines is to “Explain what is happening in the picture, without wasting words on what is obvious.” This is an example of a cutline that explains the obvious. In my opinion, some of the best cutlines are those that include quotes from the people pictured in them. I’m sure the photographer would have talked to Jackson, so he or she could have gotten a quote about “spreading the gospel,” the importance of music, etc. To make room for this quote, I would merge the two sentences into one and get rid of the unnecessary “drums on a garbage can”:

Freshman Gabby Jackson makes music on Turlington Plaza on Thursday in an effort to spread the gospel. “Quote,” Jackson said.

From The Gainesville Sun

In this photo provided by The White House President Barack Obama takes part in a conference call in the Situation Room of the White House concerning the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. From left are Obama, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, incoming Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Deputy Chief of Staff for Ops Jim Messina, Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer, and Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Phil Schiliro. Also taking part in the call are Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

This cutline is way too long, and pretty daunting to readers. Most readers will not want to read this cutline, nor the story accompanying it. It’s an AP photo, so I’m sure the cutline was provided on the wires. Not everyone in this photo needs to be identified. All this information is not necessary, and the editors should have cut it down to make it more readable like so:

Barack Obama takes part in a conference call at the White House concerning the shooting of Rep Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8. Photo provided by the White House.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent choices and analysis - and with the very fotos posted on your blog.