The story ‘needs’ art.

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

The Archaeoƒacts grid of recent posts.

Back in the days where I was allowed within several security screening points of American newsrooms, I remember when curmudgeonly desk people would allow as this or that story would benefit from what was then a scarce resource: an illustration or photo. ‘Art’, as it was called.

Since then, I’ve become among the loudest grumps when I see NPR or UGA’s Red and Black or the AJC or whatever the hell the Virginia Highland Patch is constantly run some sort of quickly cobbled together, pointless stock art illustration along with pretty much every tweet they emit.

It’s for “the visual thinkers,” y’know. The people who have an aversion to words. Why, I humphed, aren’t words just fine?

Well. Recently, as a coding exercise (hey, you gotta keep up on your PHP), I came up with a specially-coded page on both Sammy’s and my sites (not generally “out there” but if you know the URL, you could call it up) that presents a grid of images with the post’s headline superimposed, one per daily post, covering the last 90 days or so. This works great on Sammy’s site, because as a rule, she always posts at least one (stunning) image. Me, I’ve been doing a lot of posts that are just lots and lots of words, and when you look at my grid, at least back a couple of weeks, it looks like it has a swiss-cheese pattern of black holes.

So the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to make sure that including an image was part of my daily offering to you…even when, well, it seems like I was grasping for a visual even when I thought in the back of my head that the words were just fine on their own.

I’m surprised I haven’t grumpily tweeted a complaint to myself yet.

So I’ll have to think about what that means. I mean, I’m doing this site for, well, myself mostly (although THANKS for reading it.) I still think posts that are 100% words are just perfectly fine, maybe I just need a tasteful color fill as a placeholder for the grid page that won’t make it look quite as obvious that there’s no pic there. Ah, more coding!