What writers and others say
“No task involved in producing a newspaper has a greater disparity between its importance to the reader and its attention from most newsrooms than writing cutlines. Too often, they are the first thing the reader reads … and the last thing the newsroom slaps together.”
— Steve Buttry, director of tailored programs, American Press Institute
“It turns out that pictures can say whatever we want them to say, provided we use the right words. The old writing adage ‘Show don’t tell’ is useless. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but when it’s paired with a caption that deepens, expands, or redefines its meaning, it can be worth a million.”
— Austin Kleon, a writer and artist living in Austin, Texas
“Don’t insult your readers. If you have a photo of an environmentalist standing next to a fence at a toxic dump site, don’t write, ‘John Johnson is standing next to the fence …’”
— Gregg McLachlan, associate managing editor, Simcoe Reformer
“Doctored photographs are the least of our worries. If you want to trick someone with a photograph, there are lots of easy ways to do it. You don’t need Photoshop. You don’t need sophisticated digital photo-manipulation. You don’t need a computer. All you need to do is change the caption.”
— Errol Morris, a filmmaker whose movie “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara” won the Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2004
“[Captions] can be to stories what trailers are to movies — intriguing, compelling previews.”
— Monica L. Moses, deputy managing editor/visuals, Minneapolis Star Tribune
How can you reach non-readers with words?
“Readers” don’t read. Even highly educated web visitors read fewer than 20% of the words on a page.
Learn how to reach people who spend only two minutes — or even just 10 seconds — with your message at Catch Your Readers, our persuasive-writing workshop, starting April 5.
There, you’ll learn how to put your key messages where your readers’ eyes are. You’ll discover how deliver your key ideas to people who don’t read the paragraphs. And you’ll find out how to draw even reluctant audience members into your message.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.