Get the Picture? Hm….maybe not.

Every morning, before I rise from my cozy bed, I drag my laptop close for a snuggle and click my way to http://www.chicagotribune.com. Here, I spend most of my time reading the advice (naturally), and then devote a few minutes to skimming headlines and browsing reader comments (making the odd contribution myself). It is vital that I start my day strong in the knowledge that I am up to date on important developments in the Drew Peterson investigation, and that I have seen all the latest baby animal photos from zoos around the world.

The Trib has done well with its online presence over the years, taking advantage of tools like commenting, videos, reader contributions of photos and stories. You could tell they’d made the full transition from a web-i-fied print publication to a truly interactive digital news resource when they changed their logo from the traditional

to their current, sans-serif, facebook-blue banner:

But there is one aspect of the allonewordlightbluelowercasechicagotribune.com that I must dispute, and that is the gradual decrease of photography on the home page. It is increasingly common for the paper’s daily front page graphic to be a screen shot, map, or diagram, rather than an arresting action shot of something major going on.

Today’s front page features an interactive Google map of the locations of stoplight police cameras throughout the Chicagoland area. OK, OK, three cheers for javascript, etc. It’s nifty that my newspaper will now help me more carefully evade the police in my own hometown. But it’s a lame image. What about a view from one of these cameras down at traffic? Or police reviewing the images? Or a violator in court, disputing the photographic evidence captured at one of these cameras? Or even a picture of a professional showing us what the camera looks like? Come on, Trib! Put your shoulder into it!

(http://www.chicagotribune.com/ 8/18/2008)

I no longer live in Illinois and my parents cancelled their subscription, so I don’t see the newspaper in print–ever. This is probably the case for many readers scattered around the world. Hey, Trib, we have no idea if the web home page corresponds to your physical front page, but I have to say….I hope not.

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