Most leading news sites are no better at using pictures than magazines were in the 1920s, according to one of the world's leading experts on photojournalism.

In a sobering interview on the state of photojournalism in online news, Professor of Photojournalism at San Francisco State University Ken Kobré, told dotJournalism that pictures are rarely used to create drama or excitement. "Instead they are merely used to break up a long, grey column," he said.

Mr Kobré, author of the photojournalism bible 'Photojournalism - The Professionals' Approach', says that even leading sites in the US and the UK such as the BBC and Guardian Unlimited have often 'ghettoised' and 'segregated' pictures from text.

He added that, while there has been a revolution in the use of photojournalism in newspapers, online sites have gone backwards.

Part of the problem, according to Mr Kobré, is that news sites tend to be rigidly formatted. This means that pictures are slotted into existing page layouts.

"So one of the tools of using size to emphasise importance and drama is not being used. It is easy to make internet pages fixed in terms of format - that makes it easy to get the page out every day - but the reverse is that it is not good journalism."

For the full interview, see Missing the big picture - Ken Kobré talks to dotJournalism.

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