Try to look through a magazine without seeing an altered photograph. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
It’s no big secret that photographs are spruced up before they grace the glossy pages of Men’s Health or Cosmo, but are pictures in the “news media” also doctored? If it’s fine to touch up a photograph for a human interest story, is it fine to do it for hard news? Where do we draw the line?
I’m not sure there is a difference. If we can’t change quotes, facts, or events in our writing, why are we going to change the visuals of the story as well? Journalism is all about story telling—whether it be through the words in the limited space available or through the black and white photograph above them. Readers should be able to look at a photograph in a newspaper and say, “That’s exactly what the scene looked like.” He shouldn’t wonder if the editor photoshop’d someone out of the background to make a better composition. Continue reading