#2: Ethics in Photojournalism

Like I said in my last post, talking abstractly about ethics, editing, and photography can be very confusing so I will use this post to show you real examples of photoediting that corrupts the integrity of the photo.

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#1: Ethics in Photojournalism

In this year’s World Press Photo competition, Made Nissen’s photograph of two Russian gay men embracing was rewarded as the 2014 Photo of the Year. In last year’s contest, John Stanmeyer’s photograph of African migrants in Djibouti trying to capture a faint cellphone signal was named the top photo of 2013. These photos are not only poignant illustrations of contemporary issues, there are beautifully lit, extremely well composed, and expressive.

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An Examination of News Discrepancies in Photojournalism

Recently, news anchor Brian Williams was suspended for six months without pay due to his “misremembering” of events related to a helicopter attack in Iraq after soldiers involved in the incident contradicted his story in social media. Now other statements he has made regarding Hurricane Katrina are also being called into question. According to the respected research firm, The Marketing Arm, his “trustworthiness” ranking has plunged from 23rd to 835th. This is incredibly important, as Mr. Williams has anchored the most popular news show for the past decade, and is a household name for most Americans. His presentation of the news has affected millions of viewers and moved political discourse, and disintegration of his professional character brings into question the amount of trust we place in our news sources. Whereas the television news anchor develops trust by intimately speaking to the American living room, the trust placed with the photojournalist stems from a perception that photographs portray facts, and the absence of a face behind the camera. This trust may also be misplaced: famously, the picture of American soldiers raising a flag over Iwo Jima was a powerful but false representation of the events that occurred.

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