Discussion 8

– What’s the role of photojournalism?

The role of photojournalism is to convey accurate news to the public. It is a medium that connects people with the happenings of the world. People relate to the photographs more than plain text. So photojournalism helps to inform the world about the latest events in an interesting way.

– Are there rules that photojournalists should follow? Why? Why not?

  • Timeliness: Photojournalists should send photographs timely to their editors so that the news reaches masses while it is still fresh. No one will be interested to see a news piece which is old and they have already seen it.
  • Accuracy: Photojournalists should not manipulate their photographs in any way. They should let the truth remain. It includes adding or removing anything from the photographs that have been captured. It is the responsibility of the photojournalists to document the facts without any alterations.
  • Fair representation of the content being reported: Photojournalists should not click parts of the event taking place. Each image should reflect the actual event. They are not supposed to click a part of the event and report it. People will get a wrong idea about the happenings of the event. This is not accurate as discussed above.
  • Accountability to the public: Photojournalists are accountable to their audience. They are not clicking pictures for a group of people or for the subject in the images. They are supposed to keep the public in mind while reporting their images. The public have the right to know the truth and photojournalists help to deliver it.

– Is the ethics of taking journalistic photos different than the ethics of writing a news story?

People relate more with photographs than the written content. Let us think for a minute, if there is a newspaper in front of us, we will definitely be curious to read something because of the photograph on the cover page. We never get attracted to the text before the photograph. People also feel that a story is incomplete or that a story is not so important if there is no photograph beside it. People feel connected to a story after seeing a picture, they feel close to some place which is far-away or they understand a fact better if there is a photograph supporting the story.

Also, photojournalism impacts the world and just the subject in the photograph. The photojournalist needs to incorporate the entire story in the photograph. Nothing can be left out because it would like hiding the truth from the public.

Keeping this in mind, the ethics of taking journalistic photos is not different than the ethics of writing a news story. The difference lies in the fact that the photojournalist is responsible for covering the entire event in one photograph, while the news story writer has more freedom of space to cover the entire story.

– What’s the impact of altering press photographs? Should they be edited (at all) in postproduction?

Digital photography has opened more avenues for photojournalism. It is very easy to send photos to anyone in the world within seconds of the event taking-place.

But the negative side is that altering images has become easier too. Press photographs should not be altered for the content, but they can be edited for quality in post-production. The public will be left with the wrong information as an impact of altering press photographs.