If stories can be told by news organizations with photos, CBS News is the master of the short story. It is true, however, that pictures can be worth a thousand words. Thus, one extremely gripping photograph can in some cases be enough. Getting that one photograph can be quite difficult, though. And in times where that photograph hasn’t be taken, or wasn’t available to be taken, the CBS News one-photo model can be come quite boring.
When viewers first go to their page many photographs can be seen. On their cover they seem quite interesting, and certainly compelling enough to draw viewers into the larger stories. Normally the photos are beside links and quick captions to allow viewers easy decision making on whether or not to click the story. Once the story is clicked, however, new photos aren’t there to hold a viewers interest.
For example, this is what a viewer gets when they click on the feature story that can be seen in the above first screen shot. It is a larger version of exactly the same shot from the homepage. Granted, their is various linking to keep a viewers interest as well as a way to get to a video about the story, but the viewer has already seen this image once. Why not link to something else?
Now since the internet is virtually infinite in its storage space scope, news organizations still have the option to post other photos within the body of their stories. CBS News, however, chooses not to exercise this option.
The above is the text of the story about halfway into the body. No pictures. Not much linking. Nothing even in the sidebar to keep viewers interest. In fact, their really isn’t much on the pages of the stories themselves once viewers get to them. All of this makes it fairly difficult for the organization to maintain viewer interest.
Granted, CBS does have an entire section of their website devoted to photo galleries. These stories, however, are largely feature stories and have little to no photo news value, as can be seen below.
Even in sections like sports that lend themselves very well to photo galleries, CBS News still utilizes the one photo option. In conclusion, while CBS may manage a lot of content on their website, most of it is not photo related. Thus, their integration of this useful medium could be upgraded as they move forward in this web journalism era.