You know that you can read the news in a paper, listen to it on the radio, or watch it on TV. But not many know that you can also see what’s happening around the world as photos or slideshows.
Journalistic photo essays have been around for some time now. Life magazine revolutionized this new style of consuming news and information. But now that Life has stopped, where should you go to see the news in an interesting new way?
Before we go further, you should know that all the archives of Life magazine’s photo essays are available online. You can see them at Life.com, which is a subsidiary of Time magazine now.
Time itself has its own section for such photo essays, called LightBox. It’s not always chronological, but it’s always topical. The site covers everything from events like a mass shooting to journeys through different countries.
All the archives are completely free, and the site works well on both desktop and mobile. Have fun going through this one, especially the Life magazine portfolios. It’s old, but it’s still among the most intelligent content you can read today.
Photo editor Alan Taylor doesn’t go out into the field himself. But he’s an expert at picking gems from the works of others to tell a story. At The Atlantic, Taylor has access to several news agencies to construct these hand-curated essays.
The variety is mind-boggling. Taylor tells stories of war, of seasons, of travel, or disaster, of sports, of culture, and anything else he can think of. They are all large-sized photos that look good even on a high-resolution screen. Each picture also has its original caption. And there’s a fullscreen slideshow option too. It’s an immersive experience.
Taylor also collates the best photos in the news every week. It’s a different way to catch up on what’s happening across the world, as a single picture and a caption tells the story. In Focus is an excellent example of the quality you get when real humans curate content.
Before In Focus, Alan Taylor started the Boston Big Picture photo blog at The Boston Globe. It has the same format, themes, and ideas. Some of the topical essays also repeat, but there is enough new stuff to visit both.
The original blog to support photojournalism, Big Picture continues to deliver quality updates every week. Again, you will get high-resolution photos that are highlighted above all else. Captions will tell you what you need to know about it.
A favorite is the “Globe Staff’s best of the month” which marries photojournalism and street photography. It’s the kind of blog that teaches you to be a great photographer, while still entertaining you.
In a time of fake news, for those who want trustworthy news through photos, turn to Reuters. The global news agency’s dedicated page has striking photojournalism covering myriad topics.
The blog features both styles of web photo essays. Established photojournalists get single-topic essays of their own. Meanwhile, Reuters photo editors also create slideshows from the works of the entire team. This adds a lot of depth to coverage of areas like the conflict in the Middle East, or a disaster like the recent Hurricane Maria.
Like all the other sites, you can view a slideshow in fullscreen mode, or expand all images on a single web page. Fair warning, the site takes a long time to load, but it’s worth it.
Even as a long-time fan of Alan Taylor, my personal favorite news photo blog today is Al Jazeera’s In Pictures. It effortlessly combines news events and interesting non-news features.
As you probably know, Al Jazeera is a leading news site that prides itself on being independent and free of censorship. So such uncensored photos can sometimes be a little hard to stomach. Look out for warnings in case the pictures will be traumatic.
It is also the most regularly updated site among all these photo blogs. The gamut of topics is also wide and varied. Bookmark this one, you’ll want to come back to it often.
Do You Read, Watch, or Listen to News?
The news is getting difficult to trust these days. It’s almost like the onus is on you to fact-check and verify the news, not on the journalists themselves. Naturally, you will end up finding someone you trust and stick with them.
How do you prefer to get your news these days? Do you like to watch video clips on social networks, YouTube, or a proper news channel on TV? Are you a reader who relies on newspapers and websites? Or are you that rare radio and podcast listener?