0
Warning:
This presentation contains graphic content.
!
Photographs remain copyrighted by the original photographers and ar...
All I Needed to Know About
Photojournalism Ethics,

I Learned in Kindergarten
!
Presented by Bradley Wilson, Ph.D.
Midwest...
Ethics: An Age-Old Discussion
Ethical issues may pit the photographer’s
professional duties against his or her own
conscie...
Discussion on ethics
“Every day, every edition, we face challenging decisions.
We know that many of the calls we make in a...
Discussion on ethics
“Although many editors found the images [of 9/11]
disturbing, the overwhelming reason for publishing
...
Digital Ethics: Evolving Standards
One of the major problems we face as
photojournalists is the fact that the public is
lo...
Sports Illustrated, December, 2012
Never
Hard news
Feature
Illustration
Always
0 10 20 30 40 50
19.17
25.83
11.67
2.5
40.83
22.64
29.25
11.32
1.89
34.91
27.7...
Boston: Another Study in Tragedy
I always wondered what it would be like when I
see photographers covering this stuff all o...
Boston: Another Study in Tragedy
Research questions:
What are the ethical standards both in terms of
what can and should b...
Yes
No
0 25 50 75 100
12.3
87.7
12.94
87.06
Professionals (n=285)
Non-photographers (n=122)
Online, huffingtonpost.com ran t...
Yes
No
0 25 50 75 100
11.48
88.52
14.04
85.96
Professionals (n=285)
Non-photographers (n=122)
The Philadelphia Inquirer wa...
Yes
No
0 25 50 75 100
41.32
58.68
57.25
42.75
Professionals (n=285)
Non-photographers (n=122)
Online, the atlantic.com ran...
Yes
No
0 25 50 75 100
23.48
76.52
31.1
68.9
Professionals (n=285)
Non-photographers (n=122)
In addition, theatlantic.com l...
Yes
No
0 25 50 75 100
11.57
88.43
8.07
91.92
Professionals (n=285)
Non-photographers (n=122)
Online, huffingtonpost.com ran ...
Yes
No
0 25 50 75 100
66.09
33.91
81.79
18.21
Professionals (n=285)
Non-photographers (n=122)
In print, the New York Daily...
0
1
2
3
4
5
Cropping Color correction Removing distracting elements Removing larger objects Adding/Removing people Moving ...
0
20
40
60
80
100
92.44
95.45
Professional Non-photographers
Q21
“Accurate representation is the
benchmark of our professi...
0
20
40
60
80
100
85.95
95.04
Professionals Non-photographers
Q23
“Adhere to the principle of reproducing
photos that repr...
0
20
40
60
80
100
66.1
83.51
Professionals Non-photographers
Q24
“Altered images should be obviously
false to the reader.”...
0
20
40
60
80
100
91.74
95.77
Professionals Non-photographers
Q25
“Any manipulations should simply
include routine croppin...
0
20
40
60
80
100
85.71
90.32
Professionals Non-professionals
Q26
“Readers should know that an image

was altered.”
0
20
40
60
80
100
95.04
99.29
Professionals Non-photographers
Q27
“The highest and strictest standards
should be applied t...
0
20
40
60
80
100
40.84
17.65
35.14
31.95
All High School College Professional
Q29
“Do you have any company policies that
...
• Non-photographers are more tolerant of digital
manipulation than professional photographers.
• Manipulation should be ob...
Conclusions
• Companies, colleges and universities and schools
need to discuss and to adopt policies regarding
photojourna...
Conclusions
While specific ethics changes from profession to
profession, their foundation does not. The foundation
is basic...
By Bradley Wilson, PhD
Midwestern State University
bradley.wilson@mwsu.edu
bradleywilson08@gmail.com
Twitter: @bradleywils...
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten
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All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten

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Images from the Boston Marathon fueled an ongoing debate among professionals about the publication of graphic images and whether or not it is acceptable to alter spot news images digitally. While photojournalists have been having similar discussions since the dawn of the profession and the publication of graphic images from the Civil War and World War II, professionals and non-photojournalists responding to a 36-question survey after the Boston Marathon agreed that publication of graphic, spot-news images was acceptable as a reflection of what happened at a major news event. Photojournalists and non-photojournalists also agreed that manipulation was generally acceptable in photo illustrations but not at all acceptable in hard news images establishing some boundary on when digital manipulation can be used in a photojournalistic setting. Nearly 100 percent agreed that “The highest and strictest standards should be applied to hard-news photographs.” In regard to the manipulation of specific spot news images, however, professionals and non-photographers disagreed with non-photographers, with non-photographers accepting the blurring of the face of a victim of the bombing and the digital removal of broken bones in a New York Daily News image. To provide guidance in such circumstances, only 40 percent of professionals had any written policy regarding digital ethical conduct. While establishing a written code of ethics may prove helpful, in this age of instantaneous publication online and in social media, photojournalists and editors need to discuss expectations before spot news happens since publication may occur straight from the camera with no chance for intervention.

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Transcript of "All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics, I Learned in Kindergarten"

  1. 1. Warning: This presentation contains graphic content. ! Photographs remain copyrighted by the original photographers and are used for illustrative purposes only.
  2. 2. All I Needed to Know About Photojournalism Ethics,
 I Learned in Kindergarten ! Presented by Bradley Wilson, Ph.D. Midwestern State University
  3. 3. Ethics: An Age-Old Discussion Ethical issues may pit the photographer’s professional duties against his or her own conscience. Ken Kobré
  4. 4. Discussion on ethics “Every day, every edition, we face challenging decisions. We know that many of the calls we make in a few minutes on deadline can have a lifelong effect for someone, particularly a subject of a story. We consider it an awesome responsibility.” David Boardman Seattle Times
  5. 5. Discussion on ethics “Although many editors found the images [of 9/11] disturbing, the overwhelming reason for publishing them was that they added to the visual storytelling about what happened during and after the terrorists attacks. Many editors believed that readers needed to be exposed to the disturbing images in order to fully understand the story of the day.” Renee Martin Kratzer and Brian Kratzer “How Newspapers Decided to Run Disturbing 9/11 Photos” Newspaper Research Journal, Winter 2003
  6. 6. Digital Ethics: Evolving Standards One of the major problems we face as photojournalists is the fact that the public is losing faith in us. Our readers and viewers no longer believe everything they see. John Long
  7. 7. Sports Illustrated, December, 2012
  8. 8. Never Hard news Feature Illustration Always 0 10 20 30 40 50 19.17 25.83 11.67 2.5 40.83 22.64 29.25 11.32 1.89 34.91 27.76 30.6 8.54 2.49 30.6 Professionals (n=285) College students/advisers (n=108) High school students/advisers (n=120) Sports Illustrated, on Nov. 26, 2012, altered the color of the jerseys in the football players at Baylor University. In which of the following photograph types would you accept this computer editing change? Percent
  9. 9. Boston: Another Study in Tragedy I always wondered what it would be like when I see photographers covering this stuff all over the world. It’s haunting to be a journalist and have to cover it. I don’t ever want to have to do that again. John Tlumacki ! Photo by John Tlumacki
  10. 10. Boston: Another Study in Tragedy Research questions: What are the ethical standards both in terms of what can and should be documented and published and how? How far is too far when it comes to the digital manipulation of spot news images?
  11. 11. Yes No 0 25 50 75 100 12.3 87.7 12.94 87.06 Professionals (n=285) Non-photographers (n=122) Online, huffingtonpost.com ran the image 
 with no alteration. Was this acceptable? Percent t = 0.24 p > 0.05 no difference between professionals and non- photographers
  12. 12. Yes No 0 25 50 75 100 11.48 88.52 14.04 85.96 Professionals (n=285) Non-photographers (n=122) The Philadelphia Inquirer was one of the many news publications that chose to crop the image as it was used on page 1 of the April 16 print edition. Was this acceptable? Percent t = 0.88 p > 0.05 no difference between professionals and non- photographers
  13. 13. Yes No 0 25 50 75 100 41.32 58.68 57.25 42.75 Professionals (n=285) Non-photographers (n=122) Online, the atlantic.com ran the image with Jeff Bauman’s face blurred. Was this acceptable? Percent t = 4.41 p < 0.001* significant difference between professionals and non-photographers
  14. 14. Yes No 0 25 50 75 100 23.48 76.52 31.1 68.9 Professionals (n=285) Non-photographers (n=122) In addition, theatlantic.com later added a disclaimer. Should the website have added this disclaimer? Percent t = 1.07 p > 0.05 no difference between professionals and non- photographers
  15. 15. Yes No 0 25 50 75 100 11.57 88.43 8.07 91.92 Professionals (n=285) Non-photographers (n=122) Online, huffingtonpost.com ran this image with no alteration. Was this acceptable? Percent t = 1.14 p > 0.05 no difference between professionals and non- photographers
  16. 16. Yes No 0 25 50 75 100 66.09 33.91 81.79 18.21 Professionals (n=285) Non-photographers (n=122) In print, the New York Daily News ran an altered version of the image with the leg injury on the left removed. Was this acceptable? Percent t = 3.33 p > 0.001 significant difference between professionals and non-photographers
  17. 17. 0 1 2 3 4 5 Cropping Color correction Removing distracting elements Removing larger objects Adding/Removing people Moving objects All High School College Professional Q20 How appropriate is it to do the following types of computer adjustment to news photographs that appear on the front page or in the news section of your local daily newspaper? 0 = never 3 = sometimes 5 = always
  18. 18. 0 20 40 60 80 100 92.44 95.45 Professional Non-photographers Q21 “Accurate representation is the benchmark of our profession. We believe photojournalistic guidelines for fair and accurate reporting should be the criteria for judging what may be done electronically to a photograph.” t = 2.06 p < 0.05* significant difference between professionals and college; small effect size
  19. 19. 0 20 40 60 80 100 85.95 95.04 Professionals Non-photographers Q23 “Adhere to the principle of reproducing photos that represent reality. Documentary news and feature photos should not be manipulated.” t = 3.84 p < 0.001* significant difference between professionals and college
  20. 20. 0 20 40 60 80 100 66.1 83.51 Professionals Non-photographers Q24 “Altered images should be obviously false to the reader.” t = 3.96 p < 0.001* significant difference between professionals and college
  21. 21. 0 20 40 60 80 100 91.74 95.77 Professionals Non-photographers Q25 “Any manipulations should simply include routine cropping, color correction to restore the color balance to what appeared in the actual scene, or dodging/burning to improve reproduction quality.”
  22. 22. 0 20 40 60 80 100 85.71 90.32 Professionals Non-professionals Q26 “Readers should know that an image
 was altered.”
  23. 23. 0 20 40 60 80 100 95.04 99.29 Professionals Non-photographers Q27 “The highest and strictest standards should be applied to hard-news photographs.”
  24. 24. 0 20 40 60 80 100 40.84 17.65 35.14 31.95 All High School College Professional Q29 “Do you have any company policies that would limit the amount of alteration in an image?”
  25. 25. • Non-photographers are more tolerant of digital manipulation than professional photographers. • Manipulation should be obviously false. • Manipulation of spot news images should be minimized and generally kept to what it takes to improve reproduction quality. • Editors are gatekeepers but in light of evolving technology, street photojournalists need to be trained as editors. Conclusions
  26. 26. Conclusions • Companies, colleges and universities and schools need to discuss and to adopt policies regarding photojournalistic ethics — in advance of incidents. • Discussing all the facets of ethical decision making is still a worthy endeavor.
  27. 27. Conclusions While specific ethics changes from profession to profession, their foundation does not. The foundation is basic, simple honesty, the kind you learn in kindergarten: Don’t tell us stories about things that didn’t happen. Don’t show us things that don’t exist. Ben Brink |“Question of Ethics: Where Does Honesty inPhotojournalism Begin?” 
 News Photographer | July 1988
  28. 28. By Bradley Wilson, PhD Midwestern State University bradley.wilson@mwsu.edu bradleywilson08@gmail.com Twitter: @bradleywilson09 ©2014
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