Materials from Ethics lesson (2/19)

Here is a bullet-pointed synopsis of John Long’s video, along with some updated thoughts and suggestions:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography Study Guide

Also, please read and download the material about issues of “taste” in photographing and publishing potentially controversial photographs depicting death and tragedy:

Lessons in Humanity: The Ethics of Taste in Photojournalism

And lastly, as always, here is the PDF version of the presentation:

Photojournalism Ethics Presentation

NOTE: For those who missed class, make sure you scroll through the presentation and read my presenter’s notes. The associated videos are below.

These are important issues. Like I said in class, your generation will determine how photographs remain credible testimonies in the context of news. Know the issues and think about how to solve some of the problems we experience with credibility in visual journalism.

Expect to see some additional articles posted on the FB group to help you expand your understanding. Hopefully, we can generate further discussion about this.

As always, contact me if you have any questions.

Videos from presentation:

Photoshop CS5 Tutorial Content Aware Fill


Because of copyright restrictions, I cannot post James Nachtwey’s excerpt from “War Photographer.” But here is a link to the video posted on my Google Drive account:

Nachtwey’s Mission (Excerpt from “War Photographer”)



Before next class, watch this video!

In order to participate in class next week – and to pass a short, 5-question quiz at the beginning of class – you need to watch this video:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography

First, give yourself an hour. It’s not a short video – it’s an in-depth discussion about the most pressing ethical issues confronting visual journalism today. And the issues might not be exactly what many first think of when discussing ethics in journalism.

Why make you watch a video about ethics instead of simply presenting the issues in class myself? Well, I want everyone to understand that there are some prevailing thoughts and philosophies in the industry. I don’t want you, as students, to simply take the word of one photojournalist from the local newspaper. You need exposure to the thoughts and opinions of important people in the news biz. That’s part of my job as your instructor.

This is a video produced by the National Press Photographers Association in 2006 and features former Hartford Courant photographer and photo editor John Long, who was the NPPA Ethics Chair for over 15 years. While 2006 might seem a little dated (and the production quality of the video is certainly dated), the issues just might be more pressing than ever.

You NEED to watch this video in order to participate in ethical discussions. And I WILL be asking questions and we’ll be looking at a few current examples of the issues and discussing them.

The video isn’t published anywhere on the internet, so – for copyright reasons – I can’t post it on Facebook or the class website.

If you have problems watching it, contact me RIGHT AWAY!

Take notes while you’re watching it. I’ll even let you use them when you take the quiz!

Captions Matter

I’m repeating it again: for your Features assignment (and ALL your shooting assignments, for that matter), make sure you gather enough information for complete AP Style captions to accompany your photos. It’s mandatory!

Over on Mark Johnson’s Visual Journalism blog, he explains the importance of captions: Captions Matter

Without captions, it’s just photography, not photojournalism.

The linked article specifically addresses making photographs of people who are grieving, which is one of the hardest tasks for a photojournalist. But the sentiments expressed really apply to any situation. Never assume people won’t talk to you, even in the most traumatic circumstances.

Mark chose one quote to feature. I choose another, by Kenny Irby of the Poynter Institute:

“Irby says there are two benefits when photographers introduce themselves and interact with their subjects. One is that they can obtain accurate caption information — which ultimately adds more meaning, value and credibility to the photo for the reader. The other is that it can make the experience of being photographed more rewarding for the subject — even in a moment of extreme grief.”

When you express interest in another person, he or she is less likely to feel violated or spied-upon. We are not voyeurs or paparazzi.

There are many reasons that complete captions accompanying your photographs are a basic professional standard. It’s not an arbitrary formality.

One of the greatest qualities of photography is the ability to help viewers connect with the subjects depicted in photographs. And if that is your goal, it’s difficult to achieve if you – the photographer – do not connect with your subjects. And simply talking to them and recording their information is one of the easiest ways to do this.

Be a journalist, no matter what medium you choose to communicate with!