Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ethics and credibility

"We have many problems in journalism today that threaten our profession and in fact threaten the Constitution of our country. Photo-ops, lack of access to news events, rock show contracts, yellow tape and bean counters are just a few. Everyone has a spin; everyone wants to control the news media. We are under attack from all sides.

One of the major problems we face as photojournalists is the fact that the public is losing faith in us. Our readers and viewers no longer believe everything they see. All images are called into question because the computer has proved that images are malleable, changeable, fluid. In movies, advertisements, TV shows, magazines, we are constantly exposed to images created or changed by computers. As William J. Mitchell points out in his book, The Reconfigured Eye, Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era, we are experiencing a paradigm shift in how we define the nature of a photograph. The Photograph is no longer a fixed image; it has become a watery mix of moveable pixels and this is changing how we perceive what a photograph is. The bottom line is that documentary photojournalism is the last vestige of the real photography.

Journalists have only one thing to offer the public and that is credibility. This is the first vocabulary word I want you to remember, and the most important. Without credibility we have nothing. We might as well go sell widgets door to door since without the trust of the public we cannot exist as a profession.

Credibility - some questions to ask

   1. In what Context is the photo being used?
   2. Is the photograph a Fair and Accurate Representation of the information being presented?
   3. Does this photograph Deceive the reader?

Text taken from, no one could have said it better!

In the photo above, the LA Times ran a story, below you can see the original image, above is the image that was ran.  They enhanced the colors.

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