Framing the News

The New York Times today launches Lens, a photojournalism blog “presenting the finest and most interesting visual and multimedia reporting — photographs, videos and slide shows.” It will also aggregate photos and video from other outlets and agencies. The site’s design conforms to the MediaStorm brand of visual-storytelling slickness—a black background with a sparseness that lets the photos speak for themselves.

They do.

In a recent issue of the magazine, Alyssa Quart described the plight of photojournalists—given less attention than that of their ink-stained counterparts, but dire nonetheless. Visual journalists, Quart notes,

have been struggling with downsizing, the rise of the amateur, the ubiquity of camera phones, sound-bite-ization, failing magazines (so fewer commissions), and a lack of money in general for the big photo essays that have long been the love of the metaphoric children of Walker Evans. Like print journalists, photographers are scrambling not only to make sense of the new world, but to survive in it intact.

Lens, in showcasing the power of visual journalism, gives a nod both to sense and survival.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.