The images accompanying textual stories can sometimes tell more than the words themselves.  In my opinion, the best photos set the scene for the readers and add something to the story that could not be understood through reading the story alone.  Here are some examples of photos that I thought worked well:

From The New York Times article "Artist Uses the Subway, as Subject and Canvas"

  • The above photo goes with a story about a New York artist who creates Subway scenes on Subway maps.  The photo does a good job of setting the scene because it focuses on the artist and his work and shows his environment or “office”.  The reader really gets a feel about how he does his work.  He’s literally right in the action on the street. It’s casual and fun.

From - A beached gray whale in Seattle

  • I like the composition of this photo.  Your eye immediately goes to the whale, and since the photo is taken from its tail, the reader’s eye is led into the distance by following its body.  The whale also divides the water and sand which I think demonstrates the tragedy (the whale was so close to home, but couldn’t make it back).  Additionally, the photographer captured a girl laying flowers next to the dead whale, which creates an air of sadness as well.

From The Seattle Times article "Felon accused of running animal-sex farm in Whatcom County"

  • This photo does exactly what a news photo should do in my opinion.  The story it accompanies is about a man who allegedly ran a bestiality farm on his property and hung this skull on a tree near the entrance.  Little details like this can be described through text, but the picture gives the reader a better understanding of the man’s kooky (sick?) personality by showing his choice of decor.  I also like that the photographer used the rule of thirds.  It looks like the skull is about to pop out of the photo.

The not-so-good:

From The New York Times article "Young Moviemakers Set Up, and Call, the Shots"

  • I don’t think this photo particularly adds anything to the story.  The article is about seventh and eighth graders who worked on a film during their lunch period at school for a major film contest.  The story describes a chaotic scene of these kids trying to finish their project by deadline, and this photo makes it look like they spent time sitting around.  In that way, it almost detracts from the writer’s words.  Also, composition wise, I think there’s too much going on.  Only the girl with the camera should be in focus.

From The Daily article " 4-20 U-District panel advocates for marijuana legalization"

  • To me, this photo seems pretty useless.  This Daily story is about a panel discussion on the legalization of pot.  Most, if not all, readers know what a panel looks like, they don’t need to be shown.  A closeup action shot of someone yelling, gesturing or even speaking would have been more interesting.  Also, the composition is poor.  There is no focal point.  It’s very cluttered.

From The Daily article "Vertical Limit"

  • Lastly, and clearly, this photo is poor.  The story is about the possibility that the liquor board may require people in Washington to have a horizontal ID to purchase alcohol.  We get it.  We don’t need blurry pictures of licenses side by side.  Putting this together was a waste of time by the news staff and is a waste of time for the reader to look at.  If you’re not going to bother to produce high quality work, don’t produce at all.