Exercise: Image and Text


Possible titles:

Grandfather Looks Lovingly On

LGBTQ  Conference Welcomes Civil Rights Champion

Trump Goons Gloat at Win

I remember the first time I started to think about image and text.  I was at an IB conference in my twenties and there was an image presented to us of a young African girl, looking not happy or sad, and covered in a scarf.  When asked what we thought this was a picture of, there were various ideas ranging from refugee camp, children of famine, etc.  I recall that the responses were all based on the assumption that the girl was poor and in a difficult circumstance.  One woman, said that it just reminded me of her daughter playing dress up on a sunny afternoon.

She happened to be African American and it was then that I started to really understand the power of images, our perceptions, and media messages.  Had this text had a caption that told us what was happening–or an anchoring text– (it was just a girl in dress up clothes) maybe our own biases wouldn’t have come out.  It was a powerful moment for me.

But the use of anchor can also be misleading if we aren’t careful.  One just has to think of the Brexit campaign or the Trump campaign to understand this.  I also think of the invasion of Iraq in 2001 when so commonly on news channels reports of war, terrorism, etc., had the reporter with a mosque in the background. Whether this was intentional or not, many American started then to associate a mosque with terrorism.  It was a scary thing to watch unfold (I was in Turkey when they invaded Iraq the 2nd time).

Relayed messaged I feel dying to some extent.  In this era of post-truth, it seems the masses of people want to be told what to think.  They don’t want to have to think about things or notice nuance in things. It is too difficult. I also think it is a dying form of of communication because people have also become inept at using critical thinking skills, therefore anchoring works better as a form of communication because not only are we in post-truth, we are in an anti-intellectual era where people who care about things or think about things at a deeper level are mocked, ridiculed, called ‘liberals’ as if it were a bad word, etc.  What we see now are world leaders who want to do and say what they want and have people follow them without any critical thinking.  So I would say what we see the most out there in the media nowadays is anchorage.  Relay is for those crazy liberals who still care about truth and critical thinking.



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