Cameras

News photos: Best of the Web

Despite the obvious advantages of the Internet over print media for displaying news photographs, photo reportage isn't well served by many newspaper sites. We pick some of the best...

As a visual and dynamic medium, the Internet is the perfect place for news in pictures. With none of the limits on size and quality imposed by print, and the addition of multimedia elements, online photo stories provide a great opportunity for staying on top of bang-up-to- the-minute news from around the world. We've picked out the (admittedly mainly English-language) organisations that are making the most of this opportunity.

The internationally respected BBC News service sets the basic standard for news photo stories: photos grouped into themed galleries, including a 'picture of the day' gallery, viewed with previous/next buttons to click through. A numbered catalogue shows how far through the gallery you are.

Useful extra features are strangely inconsistent across each gallery, with an 'email to a friend' option, related story links and thumbnail galleries appearing in various combinations or not at all. The site also includes fascinating interactive 360-degree panoramas and audio slideshows, although on the technical side these lack thumbnails and a volume control.

UK newspapers, even the image-heavy tabloids, don't seem to have the same interest in photo reportage. Where photo news sections are even included, they're generally restricted to simple previous/next click-throughs, and are often overshadowed by large animated ads.

The Guardian (pictured) is one of the best in the UK for photo stories and audio slideshows, in Crave's opinion. Crucially, the pictures are large and the adverts are small. There's a daily '24 hours in pictures' format, which mixes local and international news. The picture-news format is made for events such as Glastonbury, the coverage of which is comprehensive and varied. User content mingles with reportage and images shot by performers and musicians.

Across the pond, photojournalism seems to be taken more seriously online. The Seattle Times groups galleries by photographer, and boasts extremely user-friendly navigation. Separate drop-down menus for news, sports and features provide easy access to the latest stories and audio slideshows.

Time magazine toplines photos and excellent audio slideshows, with an 'email this' option and links to thumbnails and related articles. Although there's a 'pictures of the week' gallery, these are more photo essays than news reportage, and many are historical compilations.

If you're willing to hunt for your news, you can view a direct hit of up-to-the-minute photos from the news section of Getty Images or Corbis, who provide many of the images used by the press. The news, sport and entertainment is so internationally varied it could be overwhelming, but on both sites powerful search functions with good refinement and links to similar photos make it easy to find what you're interested in. Each picture has a basic commentary, and once you have registered with each site, a lightbox allows you to collect together your favourite pictures from each session.

Photo reportage seems somewhat ill-served by the UK print media, with animated ads and elementary navigation overshadowing the quality of the picture and caption. If done well, as at the Guardian, Seattle Times and Time Magazine, news photography leaps right off the inky page. Let us know of any other good sites -- particularly from outside of the UK and US -- in comments below. -Rich Trenholm