(things you need to
"Any time there is a yellow line,
some journalists in the interest
of news will cross over” – Anne
Seymoure, National Victim
The U.S. Supreme Court forbids the use
of cameras in:
a) Federal but not state courts
b) State and federal courts
c) State but not federal courts
d) All courts unless authorized by that court
In the early 1900s, the
American Bar Association
issued the 35th canon of
Professional and Judicial
Ethics. Most states adopted
Canon 35 to ban
photographers from their
courtrooms. Before the
ruling, a judge could
whether to ban news
Privacy laws, as can be imagined, are much
stricter for private citizens not involved in a news story
than for public celebrities who sometimes invite media
Photojournalists need to be aware of the laws that are
concerned with privacy and trespass. But ethical behavior
should not be guided by what is strictly legal.
A quarterly publication of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
titled, "Photographers' Guide to Privacy," is helpful in sorting out the areas of
privacy law that affect news photographers. Privacy law is divided into four
•unreasonable intrusion into the seclusion of another – just get consent
•public disclosure of private facts – don’t misrepresent, states have different
•placing a person in a false light in the public eye – be careful of reckless
Over the years, some commonly recognized
legal principles of privacy have evolved, based
on federal and state laws and court cases. As
applied to photography, these principles protect
individuals from anyone:
a) Unfairly causing someone to look bad
b) Taking truthful but embarrassing photos
c) Using a picture to sell a product or service without
d) Intruding by taking pictures where privacy could be
e) All of the above
Which of these statements is true?
a) When taking photos of children in a special
education class, getting the teacher’s permission is
b) For a newspaper to run a photo of a mentally or
physically disabled child, they must have the
consent of the parent or guardian.
c) People who are victims of crime, accidents or “Acts
of God” have what is called “public medial
conditions,” and are fair game for photographers:
even if they are in an ambulance, the photographer
does not need permission.
To prove that a photograph is libelous:
a) It must be proved that the photojournalist
combined text with images to cause
emotional or mental distress
b) It must be proved that the photojournalist
acted with willful disregard for the truth
c) It must be proved that the photojournalist
acted unprofessionally and/or negligently
d) Both b & c
Which of these statements concerning copyright laws is
a) For your company to own your work, you must be a full-
time employee, and your employer must pay benefits
and give you specific assignments.
b) If you freelance, you have copyright protection of your
work as soon as you take the picture, and develop the
film or save it to a digital file.
c) Accepting an assignment from a newspaper, magazine,
website, or any other kind of company does not make
you an employee of that organization, and you keep the
copyright unless a special agreement was made.
d) “First-time rights” refers to your option to register an
image with the Copyright Office in case someone tries to
use the photograph without your permission.
Which of these statements about court subpoenas
for negatives is accurate?
a) The law that shields reporters and photographers
from court subpoenaing negatives and notes is
federal, and applies to all 50 states.
b) Existing state shield laws provide no protection for
photographers who have witnessed a crime.
c) Freelancers and student photojournalists are often
not covered by shield laws, even when reporting
on major news events.
d) Destroying photographs sought by a subpoena is a
unheard of among professional
Explain the case of Florida Publishing Co.
(Times Union) v Fletcher:
When Cindy Fletcher, 14, died in house fire, her mother learned about
it in the next day’s newspaper. The story included a photograph that
showed where her daughter’s burned body left a charred silhouette on
•Who sued, and why?
Her mother sued the paper on the grounds that the photographer had
invaded their home, hence their privacy.
• What was the court’s finding?
The court found that the photographer had the right to enter the
• What was the court’s rationale for their findings?
The police and fire marshal had invited the news photographer into
the home, and to take photos for their investigations. The court ruled
this was “common custom,” and was not considered trespassing.
Explain the case of Cape Publishing v. Bridges
A Florida woman sued the newspaper for millions of dollars after shewas
kidnapped by her estranged husband, Clyde Bridges and forced to remove all
of her clothes.
When police surrounded the apartment building, Bridges killed himself.
Behind police lines, Scott Maclay of the Cocoa Today newspaper was waiting
with a 300mm lens. The photograph Maclay made shows a frightened
woman, disrobed, but partially covered by a dishtowel, running with a police
official who's face shows deep concern with his hand firmly grasping the
woman's shoulder. The picture of Hilda Bridges' rescue ran large on the front
page. The newspaper's editor said that the picture "best capsulated the
dramatic and tragic events”
Bridges claimed that her privacy had been invaded because she was naked.
A lower court awarded the woman $10,000. On appeal, the decision was
overturned. The key in court cases seems to hinge on the conduct of the
news photographer or the news medium. "If the conduct is so extreme, so 'beyond all
possible bounds of decency' . . . then one may be found guilty of intentional infliction of emotional
In Tawa Ayeni v CBS Inc., the judge ruled
that while law enforcement officials generally
have a right to enter private property to
conduct a reasonable search, this privilege is
not extended to photojournalists along for the
ride. The judge ruled that bringing a camera
into the home is a violation of the Fourth
Amendment, which protects citizens from
“unreasonable search and seizure.” This
differs from Fletcher, in that Fletcher was an
investigation, and the court ruled that it is
common practice to invite photographers into
In which of these places is a journalist
allowed to shoot without permission?
a) Zoos, grade school classrooms, and
lawns of people’s homes
b) Train stations, bus stations and museums
c) Parks, porches visible to the public, and
d) Sidewalks, streets and movie theater
If a news event occurs on public property,
photographers have a legal right to cover the
event so long as they do not interfere with the
police or the free flow of traffic.
- Police and fire officials, however, have the right to restrict any
photographer who might interfere.
- Photographers who disregard police orders can be arrested
for disorderly conduct.
- Thus, you are free to take pictures in public on public
property: on a street, on a sidewalk, in public parks, or a zoo.
You can also take pictures inside an airport, as well as public
schools and universities. You must ask permission to take
pictures of a class in session.
In which of these places can a
photographer shoot only with permission?
a) Hospitals, airports, military bases
b) High schools, grade schools, museums
c) Shopping malls, casinos, legislative
d) Doctor’s offices, emergency vans, classes
Having permission to take a photo, however,
does not relieve you of the need to exercise
good judgment and good taste.
This incident happened in a
public park. But what are
the ethics of showing a
victim in extreme distress?
Would you run it?
The statement, “photographers have a
moral responsibility to their readers to
present the world accurately,” most closely
reflects this ethical philosophy:
c) The Golden Rule
The __________ principle is defined by
“the greatest good for the greatest amount
c) The Golden Rule
The decision not to run a photograph in a
newspaper of a mother grieving over a child
who has been injured or killed by a drunk
driver would be an example of the
______________ ethical principle:
c) Golden Rule
Which if these scenarios would be least
likely considered an ethical breach?
a) The photographer arrives late to a ground-breaking
ceremony for a new building, and asks the dignitaries to
repeat portions of the ceremony.
b) The photographer asks someone at their place of work to
walk in front of their camera “like they normally do” so a
picture can be made.
c) The photographer needs to get a photograph of a
defendant in court. His view is obscured, so he
photographs the back of someone else, and in his caption
he claims it is the defendant.
d) These are all considered equally poor choices, according
to a survey of professional photographers and editors.
In Kobres “continuum of photographic
control,” the following is the correct order for
ranking situations, from the easiest to
control to the most difficult:
a) Hard news, features, sports, portraits, photo
b) Portraits, photo illustrations, sports, features, hard
c) Photo Illustrations, portraits, features, hard news,
d) Photo Illustrations, features, portraits, sports, hard
According to Paul Lester’s Photojournalism: An
Ethical Approach, which of these is not one of the
conditions that editors should be aware of when
running shocking pictures:
a) Pictures containing dead bodies
b) Pictures run in color
c) Pictures printed in a morning paper
d) Pictures depicting children in war
e) Pictures containing nudity
f) Pictures with no accompanying story
Which of these statements about Stanley
Forman’s series of photographs showing a
women and her child falling from a
collapsed fire escape is not true?
a) Because of their shocking content, the
photographs were only used by a handful of
papers across the country.
b) The woman died but the child survived.
c) Forman won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on
d) The images contributed to a change in fire-safety
laws in Boston.
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