The advent of printers and TV in recent decades has revolutionized news industry. Non-existent pictures in previous century became almost omnipresent on newspapers and on TV. It is a widely held belief that a picture is worth a thousand words and personally I cannot agree more since they engage visual memory, create a more dramatic effect, and connect to the reader or viewer on a more personal level.
Involvement of visual memory is of utmost importance for the news writers. The majority of people do not show interest in reading news articles, neither do they have time for it. On the contrary, a photo can attract their attention to the story since the visual memory activates their curiosity to find out what the photo is about. For example, although a very well-written article about a devastating earthquake might fail to appeal to readers, a photo of debris and utter devastation will undoubtedly engage the reader’s thoughts.
Furthermore, pictures can dramatize the news so it can have more lasting influence. As an illustration, an article about widespread poverty and misery of human beings accompanied by a photo of an extremely malnourished child enhances the likelihood of its impact on public opinion.
Last but not least, photos can help individuals to identify with the story and get emotionally involved. Seldom do people forget what an individual went through if they see his face in great pain and suffering.
In conclusion, the destructive images of a natural disaster, heart-breaking pictures of starving babies, and miserable lives of individuals will be ingrained in memory for ever, while words will disappear soon.