When it comes to journalists following ethical standards, I always tend to think about written or spoken words. It has never crossed my mind to think that photos and photojournalists are subject to crossing ethical standards by making changes to photos and printing them not in their true form. With so many programs out there for the use of editing and doctoring photos, it just seems way toooo easy for photojournalists to make small changes that nobody would even notice.
An Easy Temptation
Makes me wonder how many photojournalists are making slight changes to their photos to get the perfect shot. For Allan Detrich from the Toledo Blaze newspaper to get away with 79 clearly edited photos is unacceptable in the world of journalism! According to the article "Distorted Picture", out of habit, Detrich changed and erased images out of the backgrounds just to make it picture perfect. Out of habit??....what is this out of habit??!! Who really knows how many more photos he changed and how many other photographers are doing the same and are fortunate to have not yet been caught?
Closer to Home
Now, I’m heading back to the broadcast side of journalism that I’m more familiar with and where I focus my ethics attention. During a summer internship at a local television station in Washington, D.C., I first learned what a “look live” was and why reporters do them. The article “Viewer Beware” brought to my attention that everyday, standard ways for telling a news story can be misleading and untrue. “Look lives” skew and make the viewer believe that a reporter is reporting the story live when they could have done the story hours before.
Are some of the techniques that I’ve learned throughout my work with the university and outside internships such as setting up certain shots, positions of interviewees and people, and “look lives” crossing the ethical line ever so lightly? Despite illustrating a true story and giving all the correct facts, am I aiding to the growing distrust that many people have for the news industry without even knowing it?