All burglars are ninjas, and hackers wear hoodies – The Rise of the Local Newspaper Stock Photo


If you look at local newspapers as much as we do, you’ll notice that increasing numbers of stories are illustrated by stock photos.

This is due to a number of things, but mostly because having a staff photographer costs money, and it’s far easier and somewhat cheaper to pull a picture out of the archive.

That does mean that you see the same old photos again and again, especially in crime stories.

For example, all house-breakers are ninja.

Bristol Post: Ninja breaks into a house

And following closely behind is any story about hacking.

All hackers wear hoodies.

They also live in The Matrix.

And if they’re feeling particularly paranoid, they wear both a hoodie and a balaclava, because you never know when The Man is watching.

We’ve seen so many Press Association crime stories that we’d recognise that police tape anywhere.

Every local newspaper journalist has a file image of police tape somewhere on their hard drive. And quite possibly one of a fire engine, or a rear view of a couple of police officers on patrol. And the court building, so they never have to go there.

Basingstoke Gazette: Idiot gets six months for drunken violence

The Reading Evening Post used to have a particularly shoddy picture of a police car and a pair of feet to illustrate any crime story, but that’s now lost to the mists of time. Still, nice generic police car shot…

Now move along, nothing to see here…


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