More Fish Pictures

2014 12-December 23 (585) Vatican; Sistine Chapel

A few decades ago I was visiting my best friend, Charlie, at his work when I heard a story about James Knight, the owner of Knight-Ridder Newspapers, and its flagship, the Miami Herald. Charlie worked for one of their papers, The Keynoter, a weekly tabloid-style paper aimed at residents and tourists in the Florida Keys. Every page has three things: a news story, advertisements, and a picture of a tourist with a trophy fish catch.

The manager of floor told me that one day, there was something unusual about The Keynoter and James Knight saw it. As Mr. Knight was proofing the paper after it came off the press, something caught his eye. Actually, it was the absence of something. He picked up the phone, called the editor, and told him the paper needed “more damn fish pictures.”

Mr. Knight knew that a large portion of the sales of the newspaper was by tourists who bought dozens of copies to take home to show their friends their trophy-sized fish. If there weren’t fish pictures then sales would drop off. Mr. Knight knew his business and he knew the power of images.

I’m not suggesting that churches publish more fish pictures, but I am saying that churches should use images and pictures more and words less. The current best example I can think of to prove the value and power of images is Facebook. We are naturally drawn to read stories and captions where there are pictures. When friends post only words, we skim what is written, but our eyes are drawn to the next post with a picture.

Use images as often as possible. Jesus used word pictures because there weren’t any images for the common person in Gospel days and people could see in their mind’s eye what Jesus was telling. Be imaginative in your use of picture and images. And use lots of them!


Lead On!