The Ethics of Picture Editing

We spend a lot of time talking about the ethics of photojournalists in the field and in front of the computer screen. Did they manipulate the scene? The image? But there’s a whole other layer of the journalism process where ethics come into play – the editing phase.

Over at, Justin Elliot takes a look at a front page photo from the Washington Post that has raised a lot of questions.

The decision of what to run should be based on looking at all of the available information. Does each individual piece fit into the larger story in a coherent, obvious way? Are any of the pieces you’re looking at unusual or abnormal? If so, you need to think very carefully about them and how to handle them.

Mark E. Johnson

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