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Writing Captions

The following is an exert from “Reuters Handbook of Journalism” 

Just as our news photographs must reflect reality, so too should our captions. They must adhere to the basic Reuters rules of accuracy and freedom from bias and must answer the basic questions of good journalism. Who is in the picture? Where was it taken? When was it taken? What does it show? Why is a subject doing a particular thing? 

Captions are written in the present tense and should use concise, simple English. 

They generally consist of a single sentence but a second sentence should be added if additional context or explanation is required. 

Contentious information, like death tolls in conflict, must be sourced. 

The caption must explain the circumstances in which a photograph was taken and state the correct date.
Captions must not contain assumptions by the photographer about what might have happened, even when a situation seems likely. 

Explain only what you have witnessed. All other information about an event must be sourced unless you are certain of your information. 

Captions also should not make assumptions about what a person is thinking e.g. England captain David Beckham ponders his future after his team was knocked out of the World Cup soccer finals ... 

Stick to what the photo shows and what you know. 
 

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