Ethics Photojournalism

2670 Words Nov 22nd, 2006 11 Pages
Photojournalism and digital imaging ethics
Photojournalism, present day finds itself standing at the proverbial crossroads. Will digital imaging technologies and public cynicism lead to its downfall or will journalists rise to the challenge by practicing a new more credible form of visual /photo journalism. Ethical blunders by such journalistic icons as National Geographic and TIME have all contributed to visual journalism losing credibility with the public. It was only a hundred years ago that people believed what saw in photographs was true. On the other hand present day, the increasing response to an unusual photograph is "They did that with PhotoShop." Where does this leave a medium whose mission is to deliver a realistic eyewitness
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TIME by manipulating this image was not seeking to report the truth. TIME was making an editorial statement and not reporting the news.
There are many degrees of changes that can be done electronically to a photograph. There are technical changes that deal only with the aspect of photography that make the photos more readable, such as a little dodging and burning, global color correction and contrast control. The Society of Professional Journalist and its code of ethics clearly state "Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible". These changes, akin to there darkroom counterpart, are neither ethical nor unethical- they are merely technical. Most sentences necessitate some editing or reorganization to make sense, and most photographs necessitate, in particular digital photographs, require some basic toning and preparation to meet production standards. Dodging and burning is part of that process.

The techniques did not begin with the invention of Adobe PhotoShop, the now dominant software program found on a desktop in most photojournalist. However PhotoShop did help the process become a lot easier making manipulation seamless and in effect virtually undetectable. "One must understand that there are several ways to do everything in PhotoShop. You can perform the dodge and burn procedure by three of four different means." says Kevin Connor, Director of Project…

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