In the interests of full disclosure, I make a brief cameo appearance in her video but what I really want to reference is the value of this form of presentation as a vehicle for connecting the dots of journalism and art present in compelling images. Brian Storm, TWIP’s originator and the original multimedia director at MSNBC.com, conceived of it as a vehicle for presenting the most compelling photos of the week as shot by professional photographers working for wire services and newspapers around the world. Rather than trying to be a recap of the news, he saw the feature as connecting an audience to the most interesting photos that could truly express the diversity of life on our planet and the varied types of events and experiences that were being referenced visually.
This goal continues today, even as the style of presentation has evolved to include audio and the web template itself has become much more sophisticated. I think the current group of editors has done a very good job of curation and filtration to ensure that the fundamental mission is carried out. Their work helps ensure that the cream rises to the top and that the resulting images are truly among the best to be on offer each week from those sources. It has been widely emulated and imitated by other news websites, becoming a visual presentation convention.
The fundamental truth about a particular challenge of photo editing today is actually going through the massive tidal flow of images that pours forth each day to make good selections. The complexity of that task has been magnified because of the massive increase in high-quality amateur photography yielded by digital tools and the multiplicity of distribution tools available via the Internet, like Flickr for example.
Once upon a time, accessing situations that yielded such great photography was hard to do, and people with the skills and resources to do the work at that quality were still relatively scarce. Today, part of the equation has been turned on its head. It is audience time to consume images that is relatively scarce. Therefore, it is not surprising the audience would place a premium on resources and distribution platforms that can ensure rapid and timely delivery of the best images. Those images themselves have immense value in helping us all understand and appreciate the world around us in all its nuance, complexity, joy and heartbreak. It is equally important that features like TWIP continue to evolve to ensure we can all have access to the truths contained in those images.