If it bleeds it leads?

Hali Tauxe

After the Boston marathon bombing, different outlets ran several different version of the same photo of a man with his legs blown off being evacuated from the scene.  At their joint session today, Mickey Osterreicher and Bradley Wilson led a discussion on which alterations were and were not appropriate. They shared results of a poll on the subject that compare the responses of professional and student photojournalists.  The room and the poll were pretty much in line: unedited okay, cropping kosher, blurring the face questionable, digitally re-attaching the leg (as happened in another photo) unacceptable.  Though there are guidelines for navigating editorial decisions, ethical issues are tough. That’s why, as the speakers stressed, it’s important to have these discussions before you have to make them in real-time.

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