Mon 22 Oct
This turn of events in the career of Lance Armstrong is stupefying and tragic. But this lead image at the top of one news article about his seven Tour de France titles being taken away from him is unnecessary, if you ask me.
I see this kind of thing a lot. As browser-delivered news integrates more and more multimedia, it’s been surprising how little editors, photographers and visual journalists pay attention to this particular detail. More often than not, the preview frame of the playable media is a headshot — just a person’s head and shoulders with a play arrow superimposed on top — and almost always unceremoniously planted right smack-dab in the middle of the person’s face. If you ask me it’s not just unflattering but it’s also frequently inappropriate, even if the subject is undergoing a colossal public shaming of the sort that Armstrong is experiencing.
No one at these news organizations sets out to deface these subjects of course, and certainly no harm is intended. It’s just carelessness in the production process. But it can’t be that hard to find an image where the subject is off-center, thereby avoiding this aesthetically unpleasant and completely unnecessary effect. Generally speaking, that would be more visually interesting than a dead-center shot anyhow, even without the superimposition of the play arrow on top.