COMM11007 Week 10 Blog Activities

  Week 10  Blog Activities

1. Practical – Photo Essay:  

a. Take a series of 10 photos that tell a collective story. These might be of an event, or illustrate ‘a day in the life of’.
b. Caption each photo so that the detail of the moment is captured, and that together, the photos represent a story to a reader/viewer. 
c. Essentially, this is a photo-essay but it is entirely reliant on the captions to build and tell the story.
d. Pay attention to technical detail in your captions. 
e. You may use Flickr/Storify or any other platform to build your photo-essay, and you should then link this to your blog.
f. Note that we are not assessing the photos; rather, we are assessing the captions. 

Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind Humans of New York, in Kate’s Storify article: ‘Media Writing: Photo Captions’, has created compelling human-interest stories in this photo essay. To see the person’s story captured in the body language of the photo, added another dimension. The photo invites you to read the caption/story – they are very moving and well written, link.

I had a look at the Defence Force’s image gallery; it is very professional, with informative ‘branding captions’, that have a lot of detail when you click onto the photos. The example I looked at was; link.

Miller (2012) says not to just state what is already in the photo, you need to use strong, ‘narrative’ captions, with information that is not seen; such as names, backstory, challenges etc. It is a window into the journalist’s experience, link.

Murabayashi (2008) writes about the AP Style, using the 5 W’s, present tense, date and two sentences. The first sentence describes and the second give context to the image, link.
In the photo essay that revisited Rwanda 20 years after the genocide, Edstrom (2014), the images are multilayered, and you need to click on the arrow to go onto the next image/story. It is like looking at a magazine, with the caption telling the story on each image as it comes up, link.

Nikola (2013), suggests using the opening words as a headline, or make them bold. Also, to make the font the same size or larger, so the captions stands out from the text, link.

I have already done my photo essay, and the captions look very minimal, in keeping with the short, catchy one sentence media writing we have been doing, but these photo essays have more depth of information, while still being brief. I might have to redo them.

My Photo Essay is on a separate post, as I had great difficulty putting it on the blog. I spent many hours trying to make a word document insert, in which the images were jumbled, and I could not unjumble it. Then tried Storify, with a couple of drafts. They would not bring up all the images when I put them in. So, in sheer frustration, I tried putting the images and captions straight onto the blog, which, to my surprise – ACTUALLY WORKED. So, they have their own post.


Ames, K 2017, COMM11007 Media writing Study Guide Lesson10 : Introduction to Media Writing,  Week 10 link,  CQUniversity, Rockhampton.

Department of Defence 2017, All defence imagery, viewed 23 September 2017,

Edstrom, M July 4 2014, the guardian online, Rwanda: a scene from the genocide, viewed 23 September 2017,

Miller, D November 27 2012, Matador, How to write compelling captions for your photos,  viewed 23 September 2017

Murabayashi, A April 16 2008, Photoshelf blog, Writing killer captions for travel photography, viewed 23 September 2017,

Nikola 30 September 2013, Matador, What to do with picture captions,  viewed 24 September 2017.

2. Practical - Headline:

a. Return to your Week 8 press release submission. Come up with three alternative headlines for the media release story (that is, the one you wrote), and write one sentence against each as to why it could be a possible headline option. 

Those 25 Stupid Newspaper Headlines from BuzzFeed, were a scream. It made me laugh out loud. That shooting spree in the morgue was a dead loss – must have been those homicide victims.

Equally funny are the zankRank Top 9 Unfortunate News Headlines. One in particular stands out; the fifth one, with the caption: One-Armed Man Applauds The Kindless Of Strangers. Kindless was Kindness in the newspaper headline, the caption gives it a whole new meaning.

On a more serious note, you would think that sending tweets is good practise for writing headlines, just like a lot of social media – you have to get your message across instantly, as quickly as possible.
A checklist, in which, Thompson  (2011),  outlines 10 questions to ask yourself when writing a headline:

1.      Is the headline accurate?
2.      Does it work out of context?
3.      How compelling a promise does it make?
4.      How easy is it to parse?
5.      Could it benefit from a number?
6.      Are all the words necessary?
7.      Does it obey the Proper Noun Rule?
8.      Would it work better as an explanatory headline?
9.      Does it focus on events or implications?
1.  Could it benefit from one of these 10 words? Top, Why, How, Will, New, Secret, Future, Your, Best, Worst.

Wainwright (Hubspot) explains accuracy in a headline is critical, you can set clear, high expectations by putting brackets [ ] around: New Report, Interview, Podcast or Infographic, etc - which is inserted in the headline. Wainwright (Hubspot) cited a study that found that; headlines with this type of clarification performed 38% better than headlines without it.

Headlines must grab attention and summarise, using minimal words, around six, according to Whitaker, Ramsey & Smith, (2012, p. 284).

After reading the article by Matt Thompson, and Corey Wainwright and excerpts from Whitaker, Ramsay & Smith, 2012, I decided to use some of their criteria in re-writing my headline from the week 8 media release.

Week 8 Media Release Title:
Fight Breaks Out Between Cosplayers at Sydney Convention Centre

Alternative titles:
FakeComicCon Concerned for All Involved in Incident
This change considers point seven (checklist) by using the Proper Noun Rule. Using the name FakeComicCon will be of interest to followers of this event.

How Did Fake Fight Turn into Real Injuries?
Considering points eight and ten. An explanatory headline, and the use of the work ‘How’.

FakeComicCon Helps Investigate Incident
Considering point six, ‘omit needless word’, using less than six words.

Four People Arrested Over FakeComicCon Fight Incident [Media Release]
Considering point five: will headline benefit from a number? Plus use of brackets [ ].


BuzzFeed, 4 March 2012, Community 25 Stupid newspaper headlines, viewed 23 September 2017,

Thompson, M 2011, 10 Questions to help0 you write better headlines, viewed 23 September 2017,

Wainwright, C n.d., Hubspot, How to write catchy headlines and blog titles your reader can’t resist, viewed 23 September 2017,

Whitaker, WR, Ramsey, JE, & Smith RD 2012, Media Writing print, broadcast, and public relations, 4th edn, Routledge, New York and London.

zankRank, Joe n.d., Top 9 unfortunate news headlines, viewed 23 September 2017,

Week 10 Quiz - Punctuation

Read Chapter 6 of Hicks, English for Journalists (Punctuation – again!) to prepare for this quiz.

In Hicks (2013, p. 86), it explains the exclamation mark as the screamer, and only to be used as such, not to make comments, signal jokes or mark rhetorical questions – this is something new to me, I have often used it for all the above examples.

My first attempt was 80%, the hyphen question, and the ellipsis question tripped me up. I can see now that the hyphen in middle-distance, does make it look like a place. With the ellipsis being used to indicate something has been removed from a sentence, I thought that shortened to sentence as well.
There are so many uses for the comma, I must be careful not to overuse it, or underuse it. I must keep in mind the parenthetical use of commas, and make sure not to use it where the phrase is essential to the meaning of the sentence.

Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists, Chapter 6, Punctuation, pp. 73-93, 4th edn, Routledge London and New York.


  1. Hi Karen
    You have been so very thorough in your work!
    My blog now feels very underdressed.
    Apart from not having a link to your photo essay, I cannot fault your work.

    1. Hi Tor,
      Thanks for your feedback, it is very encouraging.
      I put the photo essay on a separate post, as I was having the devil's own job of getting it on the blog. I made a separate post, so the blog gremlims would behave themselves, and not mess up my other work, it seems to have worked.

  2. Well done Karen. Your critical reflection here is excellent!


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