Truth Be Told
Photojournalism is defined by dictionary.com as is a particular form of journalism that creates images in order to tell a news story. A partially unpredictable audience, in the sense that anyone can see it and respond, sees news articles; this opens a window of ethical issues that are involved in reporting images to newspapers and magazines. Awareness of the moral rights and wrongs of journalism helps society to better understand why certain details are censored for the public.
A mutual understanding of what stories are ethically reportable is valuable for both the photographers and the publishers. Information of decent standards is set to guide the moral beliefs of reporters. In the PHOTO JOURNALISM AND ITS ETHICAL ISSUES article, it conversed that Paul Martin Lester’s book, Photojournalism: An Ethical Approach, discussed the six philosophies that are meant to guide photojournalists to answering moral questions for themselves.
1. Categorical Imperative- What goes for one scenario should go for all.
2. Utilitarianism- maximizes the good for the greatest number of people.
3. Hedonism- “do what feels good” school of thought
4. The Golden Mean- Compromise to a middle ground.
5. The Veil of Ignorance- asks the photographer or publisher what they would feel like as the subject of the photo.
6. The Golden Rule- “love thy neighbor as thyself”
Also, there is an ethical code of conduct that was set by the National Press Photographers Association and is “intended to promote the highest quality in all forms of visual journalism and to strengthen public confidence in the profession” (NPPA Code of Ethics). Both the NPPA and Lester have high expectations of photojournalists. As photojournalists turn over images for publishing they are fully responsible for their work and the validity of the story. Newspapers strive to beat out their competition, but journalism is not meant to be a popularity contest. The purpose of journalism is to have the true story told, and it is hard to do if you are not focusing on the big picture of the assignment.
In the image at right, spoken about in One day in the war of images by Michael Meyer, Iraqis are cheering about the hanging of two mutilated American bodies after bombing their car and dragging them to be hung up on the bridge for humiliation. The photographer, Khalid Mohammed, works for Associated Press. Once this image was presented to them, executives at Associated Press began deliberation of whether or not to run it on the front page due to the graphic violence in the photograph. Many publishers use a “breakfast test” to decide whether to run a graphic front-page image or not. The test is meant to decide if someone would continue eating their breakfast and reading the paper if the first image they saw included a mutilated body. In some cases they run an image that does not quite pass this test in order to insure that an image with such a powerful notion is allowed the spotlight to tell the story...