Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Photojournalism: Technology Advancement vs. Ethics

Cidnye Weimer
cw359310@ohio.edu

Technology is advancing every minute of every day. New tools are coming out to make our lives easier and allow work to get done quicker. But with advancement in technology comes even more ethical decision making. Is doctoring a photo to make it look better okay? Can you use other people's images if you can't find one? The answer is no and has always been no, but people seem to be forgetting that and are falling subject to the glimmering excitement of technology.

The fact that Brian Walski photoshopped or changed more than 79 photos was completely shocking. For a seasoned professional who has been in the business since 1989 he should have known better! The very first thing you learn as an aspiring journalist is that truth and honesty are vital. That is how we gain our credibility. What's even scarier is that he was doing it for so long and never got caught and didn't see a problem with it either. As a professional it is your job to report the truth and come up with creative ways to tell a story. Not to cheat.

Pictures Trigger Emotions
One of the biggest reasons photojournalism has such a huge affect on the public is because it triggers emotions. The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" rings very true. People are more likely to have feelings and relate to a story if they see a visual image. Think about 9/11. More than 12 years later and people are STILL emotional when they see pictures from that day. One of the most famous images is the heroic image of firefighters and the American flag.

Photo Credit: concordville.org

With that being said, if you photoshop or change a picture you are changing the story and emotion that people are seeing, and you are essentially lying to them. The important thing to remember is, how would you feel if you found out you were being lied to or a picture wasn't real?

Photoshop is killing photojournalism and it is something that needs to be stopped. A good photojournalist uses photoshop and doesn't get caught, but a GREAT photojournalist thinks creatively to tell his or her story without cheating. The trick is to use technology in a good way and figure out how to use it ethically.

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