Cutline writing assignment

for Journalism B

A cutline needs to add to a photograph. Great photographs can often tell a story themselves but cutlines can really enhance the story for the reader. A cutline tells the 5 W’s and an H. It shares the experience of the photographer with the audience by adding the details that a reader might not know since they were not there to experience it.

Assignment: Go to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Photobucket, Flickr, etc. – anywhere online where you have school appropriate photos. If you do not have any of these accounts, find photos of yourself or your friends from their sites. NOTE: You cannot go and pull Google images – they must be social media photos of your own or friends.

You need to write 10 captions for school appropriate photos. With photos of six people or less, you must identify all people by name and title (title can be their grade). All cutlines must answer the 5 W’s and an H (for the when, do your very best – at a minimum, give the year the photo was taken but if you can be more specific with date/month, please do so). Captions cannot be opinionated and must be complete sentences. Each caption needs to be at least two sentences. Verbs need to be in present tense as much as possible as you want to bring life to the photo and describe the action as if the audience is watching the photo take place in person.

If you are in the photo, reference yourself by name and not in the 1st person. When identifying a group of people in a photo, list from left to right or start with the most prominent person in the photo, regardless of their location. For example, if there are five people in the photo but four of them are watching the fifth person juggle bowling pins, you would identify the juggler first then the remaining four observers from left to right.

Tip: candid photos work best. Six friends just standing together is not only boring for somebody who is not friends with these people but it makes it much more challenging to write an engaging cutline. Think of photos of yourself bungee jumping or friends playing sports – some sort of action.

Example caption:

Coppell High School journalism teacher Chase Wofford (right) assists freshman students Mary Sue and Bobby Jack write cutlines during first period on Friday. Sue and Jack are planning to apply for The Sidekick newspaper as photographers and will need to write cutlines for their photographs.

Assignment due – end of class Wednesday, March 20


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