AS A VISUAL EDITOR, my challenge, depending on the assignment, is to sift through hundreds or thousands of images to piece together the most evocative, contextual and narrative images.
I don’t do it alone, though. The visual journalists I work with go through and tag their best work, which I review in addition to their full take. They also provide valuable contextual information while we’re looking through the initial take, which helps me understand the story better and make a more well-informed edit.
Editing is like a three-legged bar stool. Each leg has to function and support the weight of the others or the edit will come crashing down. Without attention to selection, arrangement and production, the edits quality is impacted, as is the journalist’s work and the audience who consumes it.
The arrangement ensures that the carefully selected details are ordered in a logical manner, whether in a linear edit, such as in an online gallery, or a non-linear one, such as when laid out on the printed page.
Production encompasses both editing and presentation. Often our cameras can’t match what a scene looked like to our eyes, so the job of an editor is to work with the visual journalist to ensure the image on the editing desk matches as closely as possible what the journalist observed from behind the lens.
From the presentation standpoint, I ensure that captions are complete and accurate, that a visual hierarchy exists and that the images with the greatest storytelling potential receive the most play.