Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When Enough is Enough

 Brittani Roper

The readings examined cases where journalism has been compromised by those that choose to alter images using Photoshop and other editing tools. They also discussed whether showing a violent or controversial image can straddle the line of being in the public's best interest or harmful to not only those involved, but those that could be disturbed.

In the past, violent images have been been used to cover big stories and tragedies. In addition, as the digital age makes it easier to fabricate and edit images it adds public in journalism.,16641,19940627,00.html

Honesty is Policy
Photoshopped photographs can deter the audience away from the original purpose of the story. In 1994, Time Magazine published a cover of O.J. Simpson reflecting him in a dark and almost evil form. This type of photo editing was created for dramatics to appeal Time audiences, however it fails to reflect a true image of Simpson. Seeking the truth and creating honest content essential to basic journalism ethics codes. It is okay to evoke emotion within the audience, but it can be done in an honest way. The key to honest journalism is to be honest when no one is looking. 

Photoshop is Harmful
 Social media and web based sources have placed us in a culture where people need their news and media in the palm of their hand. In the days where newspapers were the primary medium of getting information it was fairly easy to create an ethics code. According to Sherry Ricchiardi's "Distorted Picture" news organizations are expressing the need for a Photoshop ethics codes. This is exceptionally challenging because according to Ricchiardi's article it is difficult to "…define the correct use of tonal differences--lightening and darkening aspects of a picture in a way that accurately reflect what the photographers saw."

News organizations and photographers have freely utilized the motto: "Ask for an inch, take a mile." Most of these journalists who violate ethics codes create phony images because they have gotten away with it prior to getting caught. Not only has news organizations let it slip through the cracks, but ad campaigns and photos generated by companies have the potential to do harm to the community. Today's ad campaigns focus on being one type of woman with one type of body type. These campaigns, using Photoshop and displaying women in body types the models do not even have is harmful to the teenage community and women in general. This forces young people to be convinced that the images that they see is their reality, and if they do not possess that certain image it is invalid. Recently, some companies, such as Seventeen Magazine mentioned in "Who Can Improve on Nature? Magazine Editors" has pledged to not distort or Photoshop images of women in the magazine. In 2014, Aerie, a lingerie store owned by American Eagle have pledged to publish their ads without retouching photos. 

This is not to say that Photoshopping is completely harmful to the audiences it reaches, however when people are altered as a emotional appeal it is dishonest. Add in all the green trees and perfect blue water you want to create beautiful a beautiful image, but stay away from the people. Journalism was created to inform the people, not distort and portray false images of them. 

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