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Ethical dilemmas faced by photojournalists

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by

Elizabeth Finch

on 12 December 2014

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Transcript of Ethical dilemmas faced by photojournalists

Ethical dilemmas faced by photojournalists
Revolution of photojournalism
Technology - better quality images, more portable camera, easier to edit/manipulate

Faster development - from camera to print a lot quicker

Topic interest - celebrity, violence
Ethics
"Photojournalism has no Bible, no rabbinical college, no Pope to define correct choices" Kobre, 1980.


Manipulation of images
Invasion of privacy
Graphic/shocking images


What is photojournalism?
A form of journalism that employs images in order to tell a news story.

The photographs that you see in magazines and newspapers, and the images and videos on television news programmes, are all photo (or video) journalism.

"[A photojournalists] behavior has consequences beyond those of many other professionals' behavior because their products are (1) disseminated as if they are visual facts, and (2) we tend to believe what we see when it looks real." Newton, 2009.

It is impossible to know what goes through each photographers mind when capturing or selecting a certain image for an article.
Are they thinking about the
money
they will make or are they thinking about the
awareness
that an image might raise?

After all, it is their job to have these photos featured alongside articles and even to make the front page..
But is it
ethically right
just to stand and take these photographs? And to possibly manipulate them as well?
Fabienne Cherisma
15 years old
Shot dead by a policeman
for looting three framed pictures
Haiti, January 19th 2010
Breaking news
Nightcrawler
Bibliography
Image Manipulation
Was it right that Walski lost his job?
Elizabeth Finch
Any questions?
After an earthquake devastated Haiti
A total of 14 photographers
Not one of them did anything to help
Is it worth causing so much distress just to make front page or win an award?
Or will these images do some good and help to show the world the injustice that is going on?
"A photograph of a war scene from Iraq may look like dozens of other war scenes from Iraq we've viewed in recent years and hence goes relatively unnoticed within the larger system of media imagery."
Kobre, Kenneth. Photojournalism: The professionals' approach. Ed. Betsy Brill. Burlington, MA: Focal Press, (2004).

Newton, Julianne H. "Photojournalism ethics: A 21st-century primal dance of behavior, technology, and ideology." The handbook of mass media ethics (2009): 84-100.

Van Riper, Frank. "Manipulating truth, losing credibility." Washington Post 9 (2003).

Eason, David L. "On Journalistic Authority: The Janet Cooke scandal." Sage Publications (1988).

Carlson, Matt. "THE REALITY OF A FAKE IMAGE News norms, photojournalistic craft, and Brian Walski's fabricated photograph." Journalism Practice 3.2 (2009): 125-139.
- Newton, 2009.
Another issue of photojournalism and ethics comes with breaking news features.
Photojournalists will compete to cover a story before any others in order to receive a bigger pay packet and be the first to feature on a breaking news programme. The focus can often be on violent and gory incidents as they are very popular.
"If it bleeds, it leads"
This is seen in recent film
Nightcrawler
(2014) featuring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Brian Walski, photographer for the Los Angeles Times with over 20 years experience in the media industry was, on April 1st 2003, fired by his editors immediately after it was discovered that he combined two of his own images in order to create a more effective image.

Walski explained "This was after an extremely long, hot and stressful day. But I offer no excuses here... I have always maintained the highest ethical standards throughout my career, and cannot truly explain my complete breakdown in judgment at this time. That will only come in the many sleepless nights that are ahead."
Although Gyllenhaal's character Lou Bloom is quite extreme, it does give a good example of what photojournalists may face. In this scene and throughout the film we see Lou
- move a dead body in order to create a better framed shot
- withhold evidence from the police to create a more lengthy and dramatic news piece
- fail to report a crime in an attempt to arrive at the scene before the police

The rush to publish photographs or videos for breaking news means photojournalists face many ethical challenges.
YES
NO
Should have known better - enough experience in the industry
Against the Los Angeles Times policy
The LA Times need to keep their reputation intact - how many other photographers have done the same thing but never been caught?
May have been doing it just to make the front page
Photos were " taken seconds apart" - not from two completely different situations
Felt the combination of photographs made more of a statement
May have wanted to make a point about the war - the soldiers and civilians working together
If a journalist exaggerated in his writing would he be scrutinised in the same way?
"When apparent violations of journalistic practice occur - especially with fabrication - news outlets face a challenge to their claims of being able to present accurate representations of the real world."
- Eason, 1988.
"Pressure on photojournalists to not simply capture a newsworthy moment but to exceed newsworthiness in achieving artistry."
- Carlson, 2009.
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