Norwegian Newspapers are Boring!

Danish photo editor, Thomas Borberg, is sick of seeing pictures of people that are «just standing there.» During his talk under Nordic Media Festival, he gives ten great tips on how to improve the usage of photos in news media.

Thomas Borberg presenting
Inge Krossøy

Main content

Pictures are a language in its own right, and it is time to let them speak for themselves. For years pictures have been used merely as fillers or supplements for the text. In Denmark that tendency changed radically in the early 2000s. But in Norway, many newspapers still have the bad habit of using photos as page fillers. The reason for this, Borberg claims, is the lack of awareness and respect for the photo in the newsroom.

“You don’t crop a text from the sides or from the top, so don’t allow anyone to treat your pictures that way.”


Borbergs best tips

1.     Use and think of Photography as language – people think in pictures, so you should express yourself in pictures.
2.     Distinguish the genres – reportage, portrait or illustration? What are the premises for the assignment?
3.     Learning and Coherence – shape, color, theme, give yourself challenges to grow and to explore. And use all your senses, don’t just see; feel, taste, smell.
4.     Talk – about the pictures, talk about it all the time!
5.     Be brave – dear to try out new things, dare to fail and most importantly; dare to challenge your audience and generate discussions.
6.     Rules – take pictures of what they talk about, not when they talk. Urge to indulge the readers with exciting pictures, and step out of the box.
7.     TCS (FKS) – Total control system. Explain your vision and have a good dialog with the journalist, the editors and the AD department, so you have control over the layout from A to Z.
8.     Success – push limits, dare to fail and trust your guts.
9.     Not only in the weekends – aim to produce good stories every day of the week.
10.   Surprise – always aim to surprise you audience and never stop trying new things.