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Doctoring a photo...what should happen?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by AndTheCrowdGoesBoo, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. A photographer at my rag turned in a photo that was doctored. It was a photo of a sporting event at night. The sky was grainy, so he took the paintbrush in photoshop and painted the sky all black. The photographer also must have used the cloning tool because a person's thumb was cloned into mid-air. It was a baseball photo and the outfield wall was missing chunks out of it. Forget that this was just wrong, but it was so poorly done, it was so obvious. It looked like a third-grader did it.

    Now, I pose this question to everyone: What should happen to this photographer or how should this be handled?

    This is the first proof of this we have, but it's common knowledge around the newsroom that this isn't a one-time thing.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Personally, since it seems more of an attempt to make the photo more readable and not alter the "reality" of it, I'd use it to go to the shooter and say we don't doctor photos.

    Only exceptions are if we are doing a photo illustration that is discussed in advance with editors and labeled as such.

    If he does it again, fire him.
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    At my most generous, I'd give him a come-to-Jesus warning, suspend him at least two weeks while I look for further evidence of this in his past work, then - presuming I can't prove he's done it before - put him on permanent probation and tell him that if he ever files a doctored photo again, he's fired.

    At my worst - especially if an investigation turns up actual proof he's done it before - I think I'd save myself the trouble and just fire him.
  4. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    He should be fired. An apology written to the readers.
    If he's not fired. His work. My work. Our work can be called into question.
    It's a bad situation, and in the last five years, there is only one answer. Unfortunately.
  5. Ditto
  6. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Agree with the others that he should be fired; but a suspension and permanent probation at the very least.
  7. Taylee

    Taylee Member

    Remember what happened to Allan Detrich of the Toledo Blade? He altered photos, got caught and was fired.

    Same should apply here and any case from here on out.
  8. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Time for a serious conversation with him and an examination into his previous work.
  9. Taylee

    Taylee Member

    Ethics of the business should have been discussed long ago.
  10. Platyrhynchos

    Platyrhynchos Active Member

    I'd toss him faster than Ron Luciano used to toss Earl Weaver.
  11. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Fired. Imagine if a writer altered quotes or facts.

    The fact is, there wasn't a thumb floating in midair in reality was there?

    And, if he's doing all that to make a bad photo passable, what's he doing to good photos?

    Agreed with those who said there is only one solution: Termination.
  12. Beach_Bum

    Beach_Bum Member

    Not a lot of gray area here. Most newspapers have a code of ethics that expressly forbids altering the photos without very clear, compelling and approved-at-highest-levels reasons.





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