By Kirby Neumann-Rea • Of the News-Register • 

Letter to Readers: Newspaper photo situation not always black-and-white


Readers may have noticed that two of the four McMinnville School District board candidates ran in black-and-white, rather than color, on the front page of our April 25 edition. Photos are integral to our coverage relating to the May 16 special districts election; we took steps in this edition to avoid a repeat of the situation.

We did not choose to run the April 25 photos without color. We had asked candidates in all cases to send us an image, and some chose to send black-and-white. Yet this is something we could have caught, and worked with the candidates to supply a color option in time for publication deadline.

We want to underscore that any submitted image be in color (unless it is a black-and-white original) and unedited; most newer devices provide workable images.

Some practical and process notes on photos: Invariably, color is available for photos on the front page. With inside pages, that varies, so we change an image to black-and-white by necessity.

Head shots have a purpose: They help people recognize a present or potential public figure, and they serve to enhance familiarity as well as accountability. Also, any story is more interesting if it has a face with it. It’s also important to present images in as fair a way as possible.

With this election, some candidates declined to submit a photo to us, and by and large, it was the same folks who also did not submit them to the county’s voters’ pamphlet.

We reached out a second time to those candidates, and received one photo in response. (Candidates not replying at all to media inquiries happens more and more, and is a topic for another day.)

We opted in this elections season to rely on submissions rather than taking our own. We are reconsidering that policy, but at any time situations might dictate we ask for a supplied photo.

The specifics to remember with a submitted photo, whether for election, business or community coverage, are to send an unedited color image, JPG or HEIC — minimum 3 MB preferred.

Looking back, we have not always made it clear. That was part of the reason for the photos running as they did. It has been a good lesson for us, and one more opportunity to affirm this avenue for people to connect with us in our mission to educate and inform.