Eyetracking points the way to effective news article design is a fascinating article. The first two case studies in the article offer strong scientific evidence that a picture is not always worth a thousand words. The third case study has some disturbing insight into the male psyche.
People read faster and retain more if copy is formatted in a manner that is easily scanned, easy to read from top to bottom. That means subheads, bullets and good use of whitespace. This approach allows readers to answer the questions “where am I?”, “what am I reading?” and “do I want to be here?”
The bottom line is that good, clean text formatting is far more important than a random pretty picture. So be sure to ask yourself if the images you’re using are vital to the page you’re publishing.
Remember: good design is the practice of subtraction, not addition.