Street-view replaces local photographers in local reporting

DESPITE the ease of access to hand held camera technology, it seems we are in an era of news reporting where our local reporters (if you can find one) are more inclined to open mapping services, a not so smart way of getting poor quality images of important places. Simply switch to street-view, take screenshots of the places of interest, dust off your hands and sit back feeling at least somewhat accomplished.

Even Google can get the images wrong

On my journeys around Mid and West Wales, I can’t help but question this method when technology has become so conveniently easy to use, especially with regard to our smartphones, digital cameras and many other smart devices that make taking pictures so much easier.

While on my walks, I make sure to seek out interesting sign posts, buildings and objects that might be considered good stock for the diverse range of news stories that crop up through the week.

A picture of a bin goes a long way to bring to life a story about littering or waste collection services. The picture of a castle would be ideal for a story about heritage sites falling into disrepair or being vandalised by unruly youths. Pictures of the A&E ambulance staging areas bring to life the stories about key workers striking and new NHS services (you get the idea).

Why take to mapping services for a quick screen grab when there is a free and original way to create stock imagery right outside your front door? While you’re out and about town, doing your grocery shopping or picking up your children from school or pootling around in your car, there are so many opportunities to grab a stock image.

On my walk today I managed to snap a few quick photos on my smartphone that prove my point. It only takes a keen eye and a quick reminder to yourself that a picture of an ambulance or a council building might come in handy when the news stories start rolling in.

Outside Bronglais A&E – Elkanah Evans

Traws Cymru ‘all-electric’ long distance bus – Elkanah Evans

Bakery Isle in LIDL – Elkanah Evans

Entrance sign to Ceredigion Council Offices – Elkanah Evans

The BBC in its wisdom has chosen to ignore the services of so many local professional photographers thus consigning many of them to history. The preferred option it seems is  Getty Images. The analogy I would make is like the one used for the changes made to children’s books. Sanitised imagery from someone with absolutely no links to the local community only serves to completely under represent those communities. The Oxford Tree series Biff and Chip learned that lesson and now they even have Welsh translations. It would be heartening to believe that something similarly radical will happen when it comes to pictorial representation in the media.

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