03 April 2014

Reuters, Syria, Photojournalism and ... Standards?

This message from the inimitable Michael Shaw arrived in my In Box this morning. It is, unsurprisingly, pretty much right on point:
Friends and colleagues,

Over the last three weeks, serious questions have been raised about the accuracy and integrity of photos and photo stories by freelancer/activists in Syria affiliated with Reuters. The first story was published by The New York Times Lens blog, the second by the NPPA. We published two more stories last week at BagNewsNotes:

Were the Reuters “Boy in a Syrian Bomb Factory” Photos Staged? -- with analysis provided by photojournalists, photo editors and reporters familiar with the workings of these rudimentary factories in Aleppo.

The Dysfunctional Guitar: More on the Reuters Syria Photo Controversy -- details the repeated appearance of the same damaged instrument in multiple images along with a look into a Reuters explanation.

In a post published last night by the British Journal of Photography, Reuters’ resistant stance -- and a hostility toward those raising questions -- was specifically called out. Because the news sphere has a short attention span and Reuters is such a powerful player in the world of news photography, there's a real risk that time will pass (while compromised pictures might even keep coming) and this situation will just be forgotten. Given the risk to the industry for the loss of integrity – including the integrity of all the talented and ethical people working for Reuters — that would be quite a blow.


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