Our former Fleet Street high-flyer Rob Beasley blogs on the power of the picture…
Did you check out all the photographs of Ronaldo, Mourinho, Rooney, Mata and Lampard before you started reading this?
If you did, you should now fully understand the power of the pic!
For a strong image, or set of images, is the perfect way to attract attention to any media article or comment piece.
It also helps augment the write-up by painting a picture of who’s involved or what’s involved, giving an instant expression of a subject that could require a lot of text to fully explain.
So the old adage is true, a picture CAN paint a thousand words.
No-one understands that better than the media, especially newspapers.
I enjoyed 30 years on Fleet Street, including 22 years working as a senior correspondent for the two biggest newspapers in the UK – The Sun and the News of the World.
It was a regular occurrence to see a screaming headline alongside a huge photograph on both the front and back pages, accompanied by just a couple of lines of text teeing up the full story on the inside pages.
One of the biggest coups of my career was to organise and deliver a world exclusive front page photograph of awesome oarsman Sir Steve Redgrave wearing his five Olympic gold medals.
Less than an hour after his historic triumph at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, I was sweeping him away to a secret photo shoot to capture the famous shot.
Unknown to him, but with the co-operation of his wife Ann and manager Athole Still, I’d smuggled his four previous gold medals from the UK to Oz especially for this golden moment.
He was gobsmacked to see them but proudly posed, still in his GB rowing kit and in front of a giant Union Jack, with all five gold medals hanging around his neck.
The photograph said it all and made far more of an impact, and was seen by far more people, than the thousand or so words I wrote about his magnificent achievement.
The media also love to show off a photo of one of their correspondents alongside a ‘celebrity’ face – the Music Correspondent with Lady Gaga, the Political Correspondent with President Trump, the TV Correspondent with Peter Kay or the Sports Correspondent (me) with Cris, Jose or Super Frank.
The idea is to show you are a ‘friend to the stars’ and have access to the biggest names in the business and, by insinuation, are privy to everything and anything they are doing.
I travelled the world conducting interviews with some of the greatest sportsmen and women on the planet at some of sport’s most iconic venues and most famous events.
And I’d always try for a head-to-head, nose-to-nose shot with them, in a bid to show I really was up close and personal to these household names.
The Ronaldo shot was taken in the trophy room at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training camp, the Rooney one at Old Trafford, the Lampard one at Stamford Bridge.
But my favourites are those with my mate Mourinho – sitting in his manager’s chair in Madrid and laughing at images he was showing me on his mobile phone.
Yes I could have written an article claiming I’d sat in his chair and saying that he’d shown me through his private photo collection on his mobile phone – him with Al Pacino, him dwarfed by the world’s tallest man, him and his children on the red carpet with Hollywood mega-star Jennifer Lawrence.
That would have been good, really – but having the photos as proof was even better. Take another look if you don’t believe me.