BagNews reads the pictures.
BagNews analyzes and reports news and media images. In an ever more visual society, BagNews seeks to better understand the levels of meaning, the underlying story lines and the various agendas reflected in the more prominent news pictures of the day. We also publish and provide a careful look at original photojournalism and concerned photography.
No other site is as committed and singularly focused on the social, cultural and political “reading” of the individual picture. Given the power of photos to influence and persuade, we feel it is vital for citizens to become better “readers” and consumers of visual news, messaging and spin. With “visual literacy” as our goal, we study the content and context of key images to reveal bias, narrative, stereotypes and personality. We are interested in all persuasive imagery, whether conservative, liberal or commercial.
Our main tool, besides the key images in the media sphere, is the incisive analysis of our contributors and our community. BagNews is not a lecture but an ongoing conversation between citizens, professionals from the photojournalism world, visual scholars and leading instructors and students from liberal arts, communications and photojournalism and journalism.
BagNews originated in 2001 from a daily political cartoon on a lunch bag intended to engage high school kids in the news. Michael Shaw, BagNews publisher and clinical psychologist, adapted the site to focus on in-depth analysis of news photos in 2003. Today, BagNews’ approach and visual analysis is part of the visual studies and photojournalism curriculum at many universities and colleges.
The site has received important recognition over the years, including:
- LIFE.com’s Top 20 Photo Blogs – 2011
- Picture of the Year International Award of Excellence for Issue Reporting in Multimedia — 2010
- Webby Awards finalist for Best Political Blog (along with Huffington Post and Columbia Journalism Review) — 2006
- Winner — 2006 Koufax Award — Best Post
- Winner — First Gilliard Grant of Merit for Excellence in Journalism and News Blogging — Netroots Nation 2008
- Credentialled blogger — 2008 Democratic National Convention
BagNews Notes is dedicated to visual, political, and media analysis of editorial images, whether keyed to current headlines or specific cultural themes. Anchored by daily analysis provided by BagNews founder and publisher Michael Shaw, Notes also offers analysis by a list of regular and guest contributors.
BagNews Originals publishes original photojournalism. Whereas others are primarily focused on finished stories, we are interested as much or more in the photographer’s process and how a story develops and evolves. As well as presenting the reader with quality visual content, we want to engage the photographer’s aspirations and intentions for the imagery in an ongoing conversation with citizens, the photo world, students and teachers of visual culture, even between the photographer and him or herself.
Conceived in the spirit of a residency, each photographers will present work approximately once a month, a different post appearing in the Originals section about once a week. Focusing on either single assignments or, ideally, the unfolding of longer term projects, we imagine these posts as similar to either slow blogging, journaling, the creation of more developed field notes, even the serialization of a novel. The goal is to allow photographers to think more deeply and out loud about the intent, goal, nature or impact of their imagery; how that imagery reflects on the story narrative or trajectory; and/or how that imagery reflects on the photographer’s evolution or working process.
BagNews Originals will be presenting the work of some of the world’s finest documentary photographers and photojournalists. Joining senior BagNews contributors Nina Berman and Alan Chin are: James Whitlow Delano, Rita Leistner, Jon Lowenstein, Katie Orlinksky, Radcliffe Roye and David Schalloil. BagNews Originals is edited by Meg Handler.
The BagNews Salon explores key social imagery and the larger pictorial events of our times by way of live, interactive discussions and multimedia-based conversation between visual experts and photojournalists. Previous topics include an analysis of the early photo coverage of the Haiti earthquake; the media narrative of Obama at the 100 day mark of his presidency, and a look at post-Katrina New Orleans through the lens of photographer Mario Tama’s multiple visits there. Participants have included Loret Steinberg, Fred Ritchin, John Lucaites, Nathan Stormer, Brian Ulrich, John Schonauer, Tim Fadek, Chris Hondros, Yana Paskova, and Michael Itkoff. BagNews Salon is produced by Teresa Mahoney, a post-graduate teaching fellow at the Columbia Journalism School.