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<ul><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 1/10</p><p>Page 1</p><p>Digital Photo Manipulation and the Media</p><p>As journalists, we believe the guiding principle of our profession is accuracy; therefore,</p><p>we believe it is wrong to alter the content of a photograph in any way that deceives the public .</p><p>(NPPA 2011) Digital photo manipulation is a growing issue in the media world ; it threatens the</p><p>credibility of all journalists and brings more issues of ethics to light. Journalism rests on a</p><p>foundation of unbiased storytelling and fair reporting, and deliverers of the news should strive</p><p>for complete balance. Journalists have a responsibility to report accurately and fairly, but ethical</p><p>issues often get in the way and force them to make choices and sacrifices. The issue of digital</p><p>photo manipulation now has a permanent presence in all forms of journalism and has been rise in</p><p>recent decades with the steady increase in technological advances. This issue tests the credibility</p><p>and reliability of all journalists and changes the way journalism is viewed by the world . The</p><p>worlds dependence and fixation on technology and a faster and better world has had a huge</p><p>impact on journalistic standards in recent years. Everything is available on the internet and can</p><p>be accessed through hand-held devices, which is also taken into consideration in this ethical</p><p>situation. Newspapers, magazines, television, and most importantly, social networking sites, all</p><p>struggle with the use of photo manipulation because of our technology-based society.</p><p>The rise of technology and our societys reliance on it has evolved the foundation of</p><p>journalism and journalistic ethical standards and norms. According to McQuail, the use of</p><p>computer technology and the internet has greatly blurred the lines of journalism and mass</p><p>communication and changed the way it is viewed by the public. Because the internet has little</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 2/10</p><p>Page 2</p><p>regulation and all forms of journalism are now available online, including print journalism like</p><p>newspapers and magazines, the uniqueness of other news outlets is quickly diminishing</p><p>(McQuail, p. 41, 2010). Newspapers and magazines that are now offered online arguably lose</p><p>their authenticity for some people because of their digitalization. Editing software programs</p><p>such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Digital Studio allow the user , or the journalist in this case,</p><p>to alter and enhance images, no matter how big or small the change may be. The changes can be</p><p>as simple as lightening or darkening the image, removing shadows, or changing colors, and as</p><p>major as adding or removing elements of the photo or enhancing or changing people or objects in</p><p>the photo. Oriez explained that the recent rise in photo manipulation is due to technological</p><p>advances made in the past few decades:Starting in the 1980s, electronic imaging (mostly</p><p>images scanned from film into computers at that time) made it possible to seamlessly move, add</p><p>or delete every element within a photograph, thus bringing image manipulation to a whole new</p><p>level.(Oriez, p. 5, 2009) The world of technology and what one can do with it seems endless,</p><p>as does the availability of it. The accessibility of editing software and the increased number of</p><p>journalists using these photo editing tools has created an upward, ethical struggle in the</p><p>journalism of our generation.</p><p>The pressure of being a journalist in this generation forces journalists to examine the</p><p>morals and ethics they base their individual career on. Journalists are constantly being tested and</p><p>pushed to their ethical limits because of the nature of the industry; they must decide what they</p><p>are willing to sacrifice for their career. Choosing a career over ones ethical limits can be a</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 3/10</p><p>Page 3</p><p>tough decision, and choosing ones standards over their career can be just as hard. Under the</p><p>pressure to break stories first, journalists often overlook their ethical code in order to be the best</p><p>and deliver the best story, no matter what lengths they must go to. The pressure to be on top as</p><p>well as the quick pace of the industry are just two of the reasons some journalists justify the</p><p>modification of photos:Photo manipulation is a quick route to good conceptual fit because the</p><p>symbolic nature of photos may be reshaped to match symbolic messages in the text .(Lowrey,</p><p>p. 133, 2003) Photo manipulation is a main example of journalists crossing ethical and moral</p><p>lines; lying with a photo and manipulating its content is the same as manipulating elements of</p><p>the actual written story. Still or moving images in journalism complement the story, but it is</p><p>important that the corresponding photo be just as truthful as the story itself. Altering an image to</p><p>make a bigger impact or fit the story better is unethical and breaks the mutual trust between</p><p>journalists and the public. Photographs used to represent a single moment captured in time, but</p><p>they can now be completely altered and enhanced at the touch of a button. Misleading or</p><p>fabricated photos violate the journalism code of ethics and discredit the journalist and the media</p><p>outlet they work for.</p><p>Although the issue of dishonesty in journalism and photo manipulation isnt a new one, it</p><p>certainly is more common in this generation. John Long, a previous National Press</p><p>Photographers Association (NPAA) co-chair and president explained that the foundation of</p><p>journalism will adapt to the changing times and fit the new society over time. The advent of</p><p>computers and digital photography has not created the need for a whole new set of ethical</p><p>standards. We are not dealing with something brand new. We merely have a new way of</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 4/10</p><p>Page 4</p><p>processing images and the same principles that have guided us in traditional photojournalism</p><p>should be the principles that guide us in the use of the computers. This fact makes dealing with</p><p>computer related ethics far less daunting than if we had to begin from square one.(NPPA</p><p>2011)</p><p>The line between artistic photos and journalistic photos is often blurred and</p><p>misunderstood by many; the ethics that apply to journalistic photos are far more limiting than the</p><p>ethics upheld for artistic photographs. The differentiation between the two needs to be addressed</p><p>because it is so easy to confuse standards and underestimate the limitations provided by the</p><p>journalism code of ethics. Photos are more likely to be altered ethically for artistic purposes</p><p>rather than journalistic ones, as described by Lowrey. He explains that if photos are for artistic</p><p>and aesthetic purposes, there are more leniencies when it comes to enhancement and alterations</p><p>(Lowrey 2003). Lowrey explained a hypothesis that demonstrates the differentiation between art</p><p>and journalism and their role on an ethical level. He suggested:The stronger the orientation of</p><p>the design staff towards journalistic professional norms, the greater the likelihood of the</p><p>existence of rules governing the photo.(Lowrey, p. 132, 2003) This means that when a</p><p>photograph is used for artistic purposes, there are few rules regarding what or how the artist edits</p><p>in the photo. But when a photograph is used for journalistic purposes, there are a series of rules</p><p>that should be followed when editing the photograph; essentially, a still or moving image used in</p><p>the media should represent the truth.</p><p>At an Ohio newspaper called the Toledo Blade in April of 2007, photographer Allan</p><p>Detrich became the subject of one of the most well-known and studied cases of photo</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 5/10</p><p>Page 5</p><p>manipulation of our generation. Confirmed by an editor at the paper who gave a statement and</p><p>an apology to the public after the ordeal, a photo taken and published by Detrich was found to be</p><p>digitally altered. The photograph was of the Bluffington baseball team who had just returned to</p><p>playing baseball after a deadly accident killed 5 of their teammates . The photo was missing a</p><p>pair of another photographers legs from behind the fence. It was discovered that Detrich had</p><p>edited the photos out when three other newspapers ran the same picture on the front page of their</p><p>newspaper, but with the legs still in place. When Detrich was asked about the missing elements</p><p>of the photograph, he replied that he wasnt sure what happened to them. The photographer later</p><p>claimed that he edited the photo for his personal files and accidentally submitted the wrong copy ,</p><p>but the Toledo Blade, as well as the public, was unforgiving, forcing Detrichs resignation just</p><p>days after the incident (Winslow, April 5, 2007).</p><p>After Detrichs photo editing scandal at the Toledo Blade became public, seventy-nine</p><p>more manipulated photos surfaced, which were published over a time frame of only fourteen</p><p>weeks. In many of the photos, Detrich didnt just retouch or enhance them; he used Adobe</p><p>Photoshop to take elements out of photos or edit objects into them and manipulate the images to</p><p>enhance the story and boost his reputation as a photographer (Winslow, April 15, 2007). The</p><p>aftermath of Detrichs dishonesty caused Toledo Blade executive editor Ron Royhab to plead the</p><p>public for forgiveness:Its impossible to make sense of why this happened, and we are</p><p>embarrassed by itIn this respect, we let our readers down, and we apologize for that and</p><p>pledge to you that we will do better.(Winslow, April 15, 2007) The embarrassment and</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 6/10</p><p>Page 6</p><p>ridicule that the Toledo Blade suffered after Detrichs scandal not only had an impact on the city</p><p>of Toledo, but it had a resounding impact on the integrity of journalism .</p><p>The Detrich was just the beginning of a chain of events. Angered readers took to internet</p><p>discussions and blogs to talk about the betrayal they felt after the incident and how they felt the</p><p>credibility of journalism was on the decline. Many felt that journalism was losing its credibility</p><p>as an industry that is supposed to uphold and represent the truth. The public had begun losing</p><p>faith in journalists long before this incident, but the Detrich case was a turning point because the</p><p>issue remained unnoticed for so long. The Toledo Blade apologized for the events and promised</p><p>readers that it wouldnt happen again. They issued statements and even ran a correction in a</p><p>following issue of the newspaper. The impact that this situation had on the journalism world was</p><p>minor in the big picture, but it represented an ever-present issue plaguing the ethical standards of</p><p>journalism (Winslow, April 15, 2007).</p><p>The impact that the Detrich case, as well as the increasing usage of digital photo</p><p>manipulation in journalism, has had on the media world has altered the foundation on which</p><p>journalism stands. Not only is the code of ethics changing and evolving to fit our technology-</p><p>driven society, but people are adapting as well. After several cases of photo manipulation</p><p>surfaced, many news outlets began setting rules stopping journalists from changing information</p><p>for a story as well as altering moving or still images for any purpose. In 1990, the Associated</p><p>Press issued a statement forbidding all employees from any change or manipulation of photo</p><p>content. (Gladney 1996) Some media outlets were even more specific with their rules, and</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 7/10</p><p>Page 7</p><p>specified which types of photos should be allowed to have some change , and which should not</p><p>allow any change. The distinction between hard and soft news pieces was a key factor in</p><p>whether or not the photojournalists were allowed to digitally edit the photographs. Another</p><p>factor in deciding what could be rightfully edited was what the actual image was representing in</p><p>the story. And even still, there are some changes that will always be allowed to be made to</p><p>journalistic photographs: dodging, burning, and cropping are all edits that are considered to be</p><p>neutral edits (Gladney 1996).</p><p>Digital manipulation has had a huge impact on journalism and is still changing the</p><p>foundation on which it stands. Digital photo manipulation and enhancement is making its way</p><p>into the media and is discrediting all journalists and causing more distrust of the public . Now</p><p>that this issue is slowly coming to light and more cases are surfacing , the public is becoming</p><p>more skeptical of journalists and their reliability in all forms of the media , including newspapers,</p><p>magazines, television, social networking sites, etc. It is already assumed that journalists spin</p><p>stories, and with the issue of digital photo manipulation becoming more prominent and playing a</p><p>huge role in our generation, it gives the public another reason to criticize and doubt the media .</p><p>Ethical standards are an important part of journalism because of the pressure they put on</p><p>journalists to decide for themselves the difference between right and wrong. Digital</p><p>manipulation of a photo is generally hard to catch and even harder to prove, which makes this</p><p>issue more complex. Even ethical journalists are being closely watched because of the faults of</p><p>others, and it is causing the public to lose faith in journalists . The impact that the changing</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 8/10</p><p>Page 8</p><p>society has had on journalistic ethics will only continue to grow , and with new issues of</p><p>credibility and fairness in the media, the code of ethics will also continue to evolve in the future .</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 9/10</p><p>Page 9</p><p>Works Cited</p><p>Gladney, George Albert, and Matthew C. Ehrlich.Cross-media response to digital</p><p>manipulation of still and moving images. Journal of Broadcasting &amp; Electronic Media</p><p>40.4 (1996): 428. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.</p><p>Lowrey, Wilson.Normative Conflict in the Newsroom: The Case of Digital Photo</p><p>Manipulation. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 18.2 (2003): 123. Academic Search</p><p>Complete. EBSCO. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.</p><p>McQuail, Denis.McQuails Mass Communication Theory. 6th ed. London: Sage Publications,</p><p>2010.Google Books. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.</p><p> .</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Research Paper Website Version</p><p> 10/10</p><p> Page10</p><p>NPPA.NPPA: Digital Ethics. National Press Photographers Association. 2011. Web. 10</p><p>April 2011.</p><p>.</p><p>Oriez, Richard J.Do Readers Believe What They See? Reader Acceptance of Image</p><p>Manipulation. Thesis. The University of Missouri-Columbia, 2009.University of</p><p>Missouri. May 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.</p><p>.</p><p>Winslow, Donald R.In Ohio, A News Photograph Is Digitally Altered. National Press</p><p>Photographers Association. NPPA, 5 Apr. 2007. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.</p><p>.</p><p>Winslow, Donald R.Toledo Blade Discovers Dozens Of Doctored Detrich Photos.National</p><p>Press Photographers Association. NPPA, 15 Apr. 2007. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.</p><p>.</p></li></ul>


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