Through these blog assignments, I have noticed that the Pioneer Press will print mug shots of the criminals they mention in their stories while the Star Tribune typically does not.
A picture does tell a story on it own but in terms of criminal profiles, I think it is unnecessary.
I don't need to know what the the face of a 20-year-old looks like that has been sent to jail for five years. I understand that it has a localized appeal to it. Perhaps you live in the perpetrator neighborhood, then you might want to see it. But really it seems just invasive and sort of eery. Additionally the photo descriptions rarely add anything to the story.
Something I do like however, is having pictures accompany general news stories.
I have noticed that the Christian Science Monitor does a good job of always having a picture at the top of the story. It makes the page look much more inviting and the story more interesting.
When comparing a story with a picture from the Christian Science Monitor to a story without a picture from the Washington Post, I feel like I get more of a sense of what is happening by seeing the picture. For example, there was a story about the Tsunami and Hawaii, and posted was just a general photo of Hawaii. The photo was nothing special but I still felt like I experienced the story more by having a visual element.
With the Christian Science Monitor, it is also interesting that the photo captions are quotes from different news organizations. It gives a new take on the story, and another news source I could check out if I wanted it. I think it's an interesting approach to photo descriptions. I have a suspicion they do this because the photo belongs to the news organization they are quoting.