Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Credibility is Everything

John Russo

In today's media credibility is, if not the most important, one of the key factors to gain trust from the public. Without credibility, we as journalists are nothing.

It is evident with all the access and tools in today's world that it is much easier to lie in the media world then ever before. This also raises the awareness of these frauds and if they do get caught, makes the scrutiny that much worse.

One recent example was Brian Williams who lied about the facts regarding his flight into the Iraq war zone in 2003. While Williams was one of the most credited and well-respected anchors of our time, this one mistake cost him to step down temporarily from NBC and be viewed differently in the public eye forever.

While broadcast journalists can make this mistake, so can photojournalists as well but much more differently.

Photojournalists have different tools such as photoshop and other programs that can help make a picture look like something it is not. These tools are much more deceptive and hidden than lies coming out of broadcast journalist mouths because it would have to catch your eye in the picture and the changes are easily looked over.

A Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Narciso Contreras, was fired for manipulating a photo of a Syrian rebel by using photoshop.  Contreras admitted he had tampered with the photo by using a common technique called cloning where he takes a part of the photo and moves it to another area to erase a portion of the photo.

Contreras told reporters this was the only photo he had ever manipulated. With this being, it goes to show that again one slip up in the journalism trait is enough to put a taint on your entire career.

Having all these tools to change the actually photo brings up the controversy of where the line is drawn. Most widely known and accepted area of manipulated photos are seen in magazines.

These photos usually contain a woman who appears more beautiful and skinny than she actually is. With these deceptions, what can we and can we not believe in today's world?

In 2013, The Huffington Post did an article about before and after weight loss pictures that were taken in the same day. They explained how with adjustment with lights and the sucking in and out of the gut with a little touch of photoshop was how these pictures were taken.

In a society where all information consumed is determined by a journalist and however he/she decides to portray it can either be scary or a blessing, just depends on your perspective. As a journalist, I know accuracy is the number one priority for most journalist and that is very reassuring. For those who look at the media as deceivers and liars, I can see how the whole trust factor may not be evident.

Some journalist make mistakes but to put accusations on journalists as a whole is downright wrong. Believe what you want to believe but when the credibility and accuracy is there, journalists are truly a blessing.


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