Photo Editing Ethics in News

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

With the increase if photo editing readers are constantly faced with the decision to decide between what is real and what is altered.

The National Press Photographers Association has a code of ethics that states that the principle job of a photo journalist is to provide accurate information that can be used for history later on.

When people turn on the news, read a newspaper or news magazine, they expect the truth and accurate images.

In my opinion photos in journalism and news sources can be edited, but only simply. For a general rule of thumb, photos should only be edited in ways that do not change the content.

In some cases, editing photos may actually make the image more realistic. If an image's exposure is lightened if the picture was darker than real life, or if red-eye removal is used, there is actually a more realistic photo being presented in the end.

Photos should not be changed in an effort of censorship. If a photo is too graphic in some way, then it should not be published in the first place.

Photos should not be edited in journalism because the general audience has a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what is edited. So, it is up to the journalist to keep things accurate.

Photo credit: Feras Hares on via Creative Commons


Tess Myer March 29, 2011 at 2:15 PM  

I have never thought about how important it is to ensure that journalism photos aren't edited so that the audience can distinguish that the content written with the photo is real. This is a really good point considering a journalists most important job is to report the truth.

Ben Lucas March 29, 2011 at 11:19 PM  

It's very important to have accurate photos that aren't automatically misleading because people will remember the pictures more than the words when recalling an article they looked at. Pictures are worth 1000 words after all.

Charlie Sandvick March 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM  

I agree that photos should not be too edited because it can distort content and change the story entirely. I think that is responsibility of the photographer to make their pictures interesting but yet factual.

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