A later-than-usual blog, you say? Blame my forgetfulness and my no good, very bad weekend. 

Anyway, what did we discuss seven days ago today? The old journalism standby, ethics.

Steve Rice spoke to us about multimedia journalism’s ethical standards in multimedia journalism. One of the biggest ethics breaches a multimedia journalist can make (aside from basic journalistic no-nos like plagiarism, conflicts-of-interest, etc.) is digitally manipulating an image to a point to where it significantly alters its context. 

That’s what Brian Walski, former Los Angeles Times photographer, did in 2003. He used Photoshop to combine elements from two pictures into one. 

Image

(pictures and caption from The Washington Post)

I’m not quite sure I understand the temptation. It’s quite easy to tell if an image has been significantly manipulated, and even if you think your Photoshop skills are superb, there will always be someone out there who has an eagle eye and will notice. And there goes your credibility. 

How worth it is it to make a story marginally more interesting? Comparing Walski’s Iraq War pictures, I don’t see anything particularly remarkable about the edited picture versus the second picture, for example. So it baffles me that anyone would do something so stupid.

However, as a journalist, there’s always a temptation to make the “uninteresting” seem interesting by “spicing up” details. Photos can be “spiced up” in the same manner and both are equally wrong. So don’t do that. A boring true story is more valuable than an entertaining fake story, right? 

Maybe that’s a value judgement, but my values as a journalist say that’s true. And it’s my blog, so, on here, my truths rule. 

Speaking of truth, it’s true that I only have a few more lectures to blog about! Hooray! Maybe I will be on time…

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