A Picture Is Worth a 1,000 Words–Sometimes

A day late on this. Searching for inspiration. Got it. It all started, I think, with the ridiculous hyperbolic aggrandizement of calling comic books “graphic novels.” If the art were removed, the word content might equal what–microfiction? At the highest page count a very short story? Do the images really amount to 1,000 words each? If they did, would the total amount to a novel of 100,000 words? Then it spread to websites. Now, every news site has increasingly more images.

Here are two examples, both from March 9, 2015. One is CNN and the other MSNBC. To be fair, I captured a smaller part of MSNBC’s home page but that’s because their images are SO  much larger. I leave it to you to form your own opinion of which is better.

CNN.com home page Mar 9,








MSNBC.com home page Mar 9







On LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook it is frowned upon and aspersions are cast on mere text without frontloading either an image or an infographic. When we were preschoolers, we looked at books which were mostly pictures, with only a tiny amount of text, congruent with our ability to read or lack thereof. Through elementary school the size and amount of pictures began to decline, year by year and the text increased. By the time we got through high school the images had become an occasional thing, included for genuine value–a battle scene, a picture of the Declaration of Independence, a space capsule or launch, etc. Now, we are reverting to younger days, with more images and less text. There is the good, the bad and the silly. I don’t need pictographs to absorb knowledge or lead me to information. I can skim headlines, synopses and the like quickly. Done well, images on the web are fine. Done poorly or to excess they are a distraction. Photo and content editors are better at some sites and worse at others. My advice: If you are posting images yourself, make sure you shoot for the pictures worth 1,000 words, not attention grabbing throwaways.


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