Thursday, 24 March 2011

Three Headlines

Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces. Image copyright of Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

The recent success of a photograph by Goran Tomasevic goes to show how just one image can fire up the media's creative talents for summing up a news story - in this case the current conflict in Libya. Considering that the 'explosive' photograph, impressive though it is, doesn't really tell us that much, it has been used widely by the international press online and on the front pages of a huge number of newspapers.

What fascinates me the most is how the image has been used to visualise and add impact to three very different headlines. The New York Post used the not very subtle, if slightly amusing, headline 'Khadaffy Dead Duck'. Obviously the headline writer at the Post must be a big Tex Avery fan.

The UK's Daily Mail went with the more conservative 'Yes we would Kill Gaddafi' aimed to shock Brits over the breakfast table, and referring to the contradictory messages coming from the British government and the Ministry of Defence. The former saying that they would kill him if necessary and the latter saying they couldn't legally do it even if they wanted to. The final headline comes from i, a British newspaper that has the simple headline 'Allies divided over Libya'. 

Three hugely different styles of front page headline that have used the very same photograph. A good result for the Reuters photographer no less but it also shows how the context of a photograph can be changed by a few words of a headline. From gung ho attack through to an allied force divided.

Reuters have a great blog article about the photograph's use around the world that can be viewed HERE

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