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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Asked to do something unethical
Justin Edmonds, Student/Intern, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 1:12 AM on 01.29.08
->> I'm the photo editor/chief photographer at the University of Denver's student run weekly paper, The Clarion. Tonight at our weekly meeting our advisor, a journalism professor, asked me to do what I believe to be completely unethical in terms of photojournalism. Last week we ran a picture of the MLK, Jr. 'marade' as our front page image. Most of our issues have a huge picture on the front page with the story inside. The image we used, my image, was of the attendees marching down the street shot with my 'pole cam'.
http://tinyurl.com/2zvvfz

It was 16 degrees and snowing that day so the sky was completely white. Our advisor complained that the sky was too white that that I should have colored the sky blue in photoshop so that it looked better. I'm sure that you can understand that I went into a tirade about the ethics in photojournalism and that I refused to do such thing. Apparently she didn't care as she then told me that if I didn't do what she asked to make the pictures better then she would find someone else who could. Although I don't think she has the guts to challenge me on this I want to know what others think. Have any other students run into a similar situation?
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Brandon Iwamoto, Student/Intern, Photographer
Fort Collins | CO | USA | Posted: 1:25 AM on 01.29.08
->> Thats a ridiculously stupid thing for your adviser to say, and if she even makes a move toward firing you or replacing you, I think you may be entitled to pursue legal action.... or you can just ask me to drive down from foco and slap her across the face with a copy of "Photojournalism: The Professionals Approach". Heck, since I'll be in the area, why don't we plan on Wednesday?
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Jason Hunter, Photographer
Topeka | KS | United States | Posted: 1:35 AM on 01.29.08
->> Justin,

Stand your ground. She doesn't understand photojournalism ethics. Coloring the sky blue is unacceptable.

I'm glad you are familiar with photojournalism ethics despite the misinformation that at least one of your professors seems to be disseminating.

-Jason
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Jesse Beals, Photographer
Silverdale | WA | USA | Posted: 1:36 AM on 01.29.08
->> Thats crazy, I would talk to the school President / Dean on this matter. My boss would fire any employee at our paper if they did something like that.
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John Lee, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 1:40 AM on 01.29.08
->> In contemporary jargon speak, she's wacked.
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Steve Russell, Photographer
Toronto | ON | Canada | Posted: 1:45 AM on 01.29.08
->> Great thread to start Justin.

Sounds like you need to advise the advisor.
Maybe you can create a code of ethics concerning images for paper if you don't have one already.
On the Canadian Photographer's forums we recently had that discussion.
Its a good thread and we have a bunch of links to codes for other papers via the Poynter site.
A look through the codes would be a great starting point to developing one.

http://npac.ca/smf/index.php?topic=193.0

Stand your ground
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John Hagen, Photographer
Mount Vernon | Wa | | Posted: 2:00 AM on 01.29.08
->> Perhaps you could explain your point in terms that a reporter/editor might understand. Tell your that it is like writing in a story that an event happened under a sunny sky when it was snowing.

It might be a great time to bring a photojournalism ethics lesson to the staff of your paper. It is possible that everyone (editor included) may not know what you can and cannot do.

Stand your ground.
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Mark J. Terrill, Photographer
Simi Valley | CA | USA | Posted: 2:13 AM on 01.29.08
->> Ask your advisor if she thinks it's okay to make up quotes too. Not much difference between the two. Both would get anyone where I work fired in a heartbeat. She should be fired for even suggesting that.
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Jim Comeau, Student/Intern, Photographer
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 3:30 AM on 01.29.08
->> I would talk to the dean. Information like like is critical to the administration's knowledge. A university professor *should* have the knowledge and/or experience to know how wrong that is.
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Glenn Connelly, Student/Intern
San Diego | CA | US | Posted: 4:26 AM on 01.29.08
->> That is a very misfortunate thing for someone in charge to say. I am glad that at our paper we are totally student run and have no professors or school officials that oversee our paper. If I you are a member of NPPA, and they did attempt to reprimand you or even let you go, im sure there would be some ramifications.

Maybe this professor is more experienced with writing and not photojournalism. I hope that she does not believe that because you have photoshop, you can just make things up.
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Derrick den Hollander, Photographer
Melbourne | VIC | AUSTRALIA | Posted: 4:28 AM on 01.29.08
->> I'm wondering if it would be okay to colour the sky blue, and then mark the image as "Illustration" or perhaps "Digitally Altered Image"?
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Jim Owens, Photographer
Cincinnati | OH | usa | Posted: 6:59 AM on 01.29.08
->> Hey Justin,
While you're at it, you should steal a photo from the original march on Selma, Alabama with Dr. King and Ralph Abernathy leading the march and susbstitute it for your drab, dreary, non exciting photo. [ I wonder if the sky was blue that day ?]
I'm guessing the fact that it was summer, in Selma Alabama, and happened in 1965 would not dissuade your editor from publishing the photo as your own.
Of course the fact that Dr. King was assasinated in 1968 might come up, but hell, don't let the facts get in the way of a good photo !

I'll bet you get an "A" in her class !

Yikes.

Tongue firmly in cheek,
Jim
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 7:15 AM on 01.29.08
->> Justin
The next time skip the tirade. She CAN use that against you and will try to deflect the issue back on to you and your behavior (yeah, I know it's like someone who shoots their parents and then ask the courts for mercy because they are orphans...)

Instead, you take control of the situation by asking questions. "You realize, of course, that would be completely unethical and could keep me from ever getting a job as a photojournalist - ever? You realize newspapers and wireservices have fired people for that, right?"

Be firm, but don't yell. Make eye contact and stare. Once you've asked the question(s) wait for the answer. I've been down this road in college and was just as right ... except I didn't do what I'm advising you to do. Being right isn't always enough. Being able to control your emotions is important to not get caught up in politics - and lord knows sometimes colleges have lots of that.

If it comes up again, please let us know. The NPPA is a good resource, as are people on here.

But DON'T give them any reason to turn this around on you.

Michael
Been where you're at...and it sucks..
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David Harpe, Photographer
Louisville | KY | USA | Posted: 8:31 AM on 01.29.08
->> This looks like a case for Mark Loundy!
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 8:42 AM on 01.29.08
->> I disagree with those who suggest you talk to her and "explain" why it's unethical...because... what the hell is someone who is purporting to be a journalism professor doing giving "advice" like that. has she been living under a rock for the last five years? is she stupid, totally incompetent or just doesn't have any ethics. justin I realize you're a student but if the facts you laid out are correct this "professor" should be severley repremanded or even dismissed. and she certainly has NO business teaching journalism, especially if she threatened you the way you say she did. talk to someone over her head. today.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 8:48 AM on 01.29.08
->> If she fires you, she fires you. In almost every job interview I've had, I've been asked if I've been willing to stand up for my ethics to superiors. You'll no doubtedly be asked the same questions...you can say, "yes, I lost my job for them in college."
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 8:52 AM on 01.29.08
->> one more thing. I hope there were witnesses to this because quite frankly once she sees the firestorm this could cause for her she's going to deny it. and I don't think she'll have any qualms about saying you lied since she obviously is ethically challenged to begin with. good luck
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 9:19 AM on 01.29.08
->> ->> Justin:

I agree with your stand on this issue and applaud your willingness to defend it. I love a good rhubarb as much as anyone -- perhaps more -- but I don't agree the tirade was the way to approach it. Making your objections known is fine, but doing it in front of the group and in a very vehement way gives this adviser two options -- back down and be, in her mind, humiliated by a student she is supposed to supervise, or push her point even harder. If she has to fire you, in her mind that loss is preferential to the loss of face she will suffer in the eyes of the rest of the staff.

In the future, I would suggest objecting firmly but succinctly in public and asking to discuss in private. In this case, in my opinion, you still should ask to meet in private and show her sources, such as the texts and ethics codes suggested here and others, supporting your position. You might also want to look at AP and NPPA for ethics guideliness. If she still does not agree, go talk to her boss -- again, in private, without making a lot of public fuss. The making of a "federal case" out of this should be the weapon of last resort; just knowing it is in your pocket often can be enough.

I respect your ethics and I respect you even more for coming here for advice.
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Mike Carlson, Photographer
Bayonet Point | FL | USA | Posted: 9:20 AM on 01.29.08
->> Just something else to consider...now that this has been aired publicly (and, by stating your affiliation essentially calling her out by name) you may want to be careful about adding the emotion into the equation and challenging her 'guts'... something that might just give her the impetus.

I realize that most (including myself) agree that it is an unethical request, but keeping postings factual might help avoid the bridge-burning/image tarnishing that can happen in these situations that are publicly posted and archived.
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Adam Vogler, Photographer
Chanute | KS | USA | Posted: 9:31 AM on 01.29.08
->> Go to her boss and tell them what exactly what occurred and why it is unacceptable.
Get some of the other people present to go with you.
You might also contact some of your local journalists and some of your professors to see if they might help you explain to the higher ups why this is unacceptable behavior.
This person ha no business in a newsroom, particularly advising young and inexperienced journalists.

Derrick, just labeling it as an illustration would still leave it as unethical since it would n to be obvious that it was a manipulated situation.

http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/digitalethi...

http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/ethics.html
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Ron Alvey, Photographer
Lebanon | OH | USA | Posted: 9:49 AM on 01.29.08
->> Have this "advisor" do a quick search on Allan Dietrich.
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Mike Ullery, Photographer, Photo Editor
Piqua | OH | USA | Posted: 10:20 AM on 01.29.08
->> First of all, I have trouble picturing a journalism prof suggesting such an unethical deed. What are the chances that you are being tested for your reaction?

I don't know when your meeting took place but I would contact the professor, preferably in person, but even an email would work. Apologize for losing your temper and then firmly explain that you can not alter the photo.

A professional, in any profession, must keep their cool during many things that make you want to explode. "Never let them see you sweat".

I agree with those who've said to stand your ground. While you are "just in school" now, if you get a repuation as someone who even potentially alters photos you will never get hired in the real world. Bottom line.

Good luck,
Mike
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Jeffery Jones, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gallup | NM | USA | Posted: 11:01 AM on 01.29.08
->> Mike -
unfortunately I do not have problems picturing an adviser or professor doing this... several years ago we had a managing editor decide that it was quite alright to flop a photo from left facing to right facing to suit her lay-out ideas.

In journalism school, and in the real world, reporters simply do not think about or care about the images. While I had to take a lot of writing and reporting classes to accompany my photojournalism program, reporters do not, from my experience anyway, take any image related classes. They do not understand our jobs, our needs.

I just had a staff meeting last week where I had to hand out instruction sheets on how to fill out a photo request and explain that we (photographers) need to make images during things, not afterward. Reporters think, for the most part, all we do is line people up, have them hold their award or check, push the button. At best the average reporter thinks of photos as an after thought. Many, many editors and professors are from the "dark" (word) side of things and simply do not think in terms of visuals. They have a lot on their plates just handling the word side, and have never had a reason to take on learning about our jobs and boundaries.

The general public and reporters do not understand what we can and can't do from an ethical standpoint. I cannot even begin to number the times I have talked to people about not being able, ethically, to stage things or "fix" them in Photoshop, and seeing the surprised looks on their faces.

All any news photographer can really do is stick to their standards and educate anybody and everybody they meet - including ill-informed advisers and the occasional wacky editor.

Jeff.
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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 11:05 AM on 01.29.08
->> Feel free to have the professor, advisor and editor contact me through my sportsshooter profile. I will be more than happy to explain clearly what the issue is and why what the suggest is unethical in real world for which they should be preparing student to enter and contribute.
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Adam Vogler, Photographer
Chanute | KS | USA | Posted: 11:14 AM on 01.29.08
->> I completely agree with Jeff.
I'm a reporter/photographer at a paper that had not had a photographer for many years and I've been constantly facing these issues for the past six months.
I find myself saying
"Thank you but I can't accept any food."
"I'm sorry I can't photograph a staged event, it would be unethical."
etc. several times a week.
The response is often that so and so who was here last year did.
When I first started it was almost daily. Sadly when I began it wasn't just the public that I was saying this to it was coworkers.
There's really nothing you can do but try to educate them as to why this is wrong.
Everyday no matter where you are you are on the front lines of battle to retain credibility for ALL journalists.
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Pat Christman, Photographer
Mankato | MN | USA | Posted: 11:42 AM on 01.29.08
->> I have to go with Mike on this one. I would like to hope that it is all simply an elaborate test to see if you can stand up to a superior. Of course, Justin, we can only gauge what is happening by your recounting of the event here.

I just spent an evening with my old college advisor at a newspaper convention. He was always there for us, but never, in any way, did he make us feel like we were "just college journalists". We were treated, week in and week out, like this was real, which in my opinion was a very good thing.

If it's simply a test and she realizes the action she's telling you to do is unethical, it's a good test. You WILL run into an editor who will tell you to do something your ethics don't get along with, and you will need to be able to explain why and accept any consequences.

If she's serious. If she believes this is an excepted practice in journalism, the dean of the college needs to know. This hasn't been any kind of a standard practice in journalism for decades and she shouldn't be teaching journalists.

I hope, for your sake Justin and for the sake of our industry, that she was simply challenging you, like any good instructor should.

PC
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Jody Gomez, Photographer
Murrieta | CA | USA | Posted: 12:56 PM on 01.29.08
->> Dusting off my soapbox and climbing on....

A journalist/photojournalist's duty is to not only tell the truth, but to defend it as well. So draw your line in the sand and defend it at all costs. Editorialize about it if necessary. Be willing to face the consequences (good and bad), and keep copious notes (with proof) in order to protect yourself if things get really ugly.

The only way to keep people honest is to defend the truth (no matter how inconsequential), and the only way to affect change is to bring the problem to light.

Remember the saying, "Give someone an inch and they'll take a mile"? If we compromise on something small, where do we draw the line when it comes to something big, and how can we draw that line without being a hypocrite?

Stepping off my soapbox now....

:~)

Jody
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Charley Starr, Photographer, Photo Editor
Ketchikan | AK | USA | Posted: 1:17 PM on 01.29.08
->> This is very concerning. On the University of Denver web site the person listed as the Student Media Advisor also has ‘media ethics’ listed as an area of research and teaching! If this is the same person then she really needs to be educated on the ethics of photojournalism. Perhaps someone from Poynter or the NPPA should give her a call. (anyone have any contacts there?) If too many stories like this surface photo editors might think twice about hiring someone with a degree from DU. I sure would hate to see a good student have trouble getting a job because some advisor said it was ok to do things like this. Maybe we should all email her and the Chair of the department!
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Justin Edmonds, Student/Intern, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 1:46 PM on 01.29.08
->> I had no clue that I would get the support from as many respected photojournalists on this site as I have. This is the reason I am a member of this site and am very grateful for everyone's advice. The thing that really worries me about this situation is that she is a journalism professor, I am a marketing major/studio art minor. I fell in love with photojournalism and am currently perusing internships in the field. Had I not been completely engrossed with the ethics regarding the issue I might have done what she asked because she was a journalism professor..."so she must be right."

So...here is what has happened since last night. I have spoken with the majority of my photo staff and I have their full support regarding the issue. As many have suggested the rest of the staff is clueless about photojournalism ethics. We have a very small journalism program, hence the weekly publication. I'm not justifying this as an excuse for their lack of knowledge I'm just stating the facts.

I sent a lengthly email to the advisor and the editor explaining my frustration with the issue and that I will never do such thing. I have cited a few of the comments on this board as well as included the article about the L.A. Times photographer who was fired.

I asked that the following conditions be met:
1. A written and public apology recognizing her wrong doing.
2. Undivided time set apart at next week's meeting for me to discuss the ethics of photojournalism with the ENTIRE staff in hopes of educating everyone and preventing such problems from arising in the future.

If those conditions are not met I have explained that myself and my photo staff will go on strike effective immediately. I also included that I plan to take the issue to the chair of the department, student media board, student senate, and the chancellor.

As of 11:48 am Mountain Time I have not received a response from the advisor or editor
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Lane Hickenbottom, Photographer
Grand Island | NE | usa | Posted: 2:32 PM on 01.29.08
->> I'm glad you decided to stand your ground. That takes guts. However I wish you would have taken Michael Fischer's advice when he said, "Be firm, but don't yell."

Your demands are reactionary and put her on the defensive. You have a job to do. Threatening a strike just because somebody else is in the wrong is not probably the best way to handle the situation.

Asking for the apology and the time set aside in next week's meeting are cool. Threatening a strike and your tirade against her if your demands are not met come across as juvenile.

Good luck.
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David Gordon, Photographer
Somerville | MA | United States | Posted: 2:32 PM on 01.29.08
->> Justin,
Obviously, you are right to be concerned about the ethics of this situation, so I'm not going to get into that aspect of the problem.
I would, however, strongly suggest that you avoid putting forth an air of moral superiority. Again, you are absolutely correct, but I have yet to meet a professor that appreciates being wrong on such a substantial issue. Frankly, I'm not sure asking for a public apology is going to help the situation. It may cause her to dig her heels in further.
Talking to the rest of the staff about the ethics of photojournalism is an excellent idea and must be done to avoid major problems in the future. Again, though, I would suggest finding a professional in the industry to lead such a discussion. It takes the pressure off you and makes it less personal. More of a training session than a lecture by one "know nothing" student to another.
Finally, if you do nothing else, ask for clarification. You need to know exactly what she was asking you to do, and you need it in writing. Upon revisiting the issue, this professor may take a more subtle view on the matter, and you need to A) be prepared for that argument and B) have a record of the issue in question. There is a huge difference between "coloring a sky blue" and suggesting that the sky be burned in a bit (one gets you fired the other adds texture to a photo).
Finally, from now on, CC all your emails to a Dean/administrator/whomever is in charge of student activities. Keeping it formal from this point on will only make you look good.
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Mark Peters, Photographer
Highland | IL | USA | Posted: 2:35 PM on 01.29.08
->> http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1905
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David Gordon, Photographer
Somerville | MA | United States | Posted: 2:36 PM on 01.29.08
->> well put Mark
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Rick Rowell, Photographer, Photo Editor
Vista | CA | USA | Posted: 2:41 PM on 01.29.08
->> Justin, Get your ducks in a row and be ready for the fight. If what you say is true this "professor" is going to be fighting for her job. That is if the Dean,department head and or board of regents have any nerve at all. They will be asking her some very tough questions and then taking a vote weather to only reprimand or to fire her. Be as non-confrontational as possible but be firm. Now that you have given her your ultimatum, you have cornered the badger. You most likely will not get your written or public apology. People don't like to admit when they are wrong, especially when they are appointed in a position over you. Do not take offense to this, but what makes you an expert in ethics. I would suggest that you do some research and find someone in you local area who is an expert and invite them to speak at the meeting. If that doesn't work then find a professor on campus that will speak to this. Perhaps from the business school on your campus or from another school in your area. You were the offended party and it's natural that you would want to defend you position, but if you brought in a second expert opinion it would go a long way in letting others know that you are serious and that this is not personal with you. It's just a matter of what's right and what's wrong. Good Luck, Rick.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 2:41 PM on 01.29.08
->> Justin,

I stayed out of this one as long as I could......

You did the right thing right up until you put your neck in the noose. Ultimatums have their place in negotiating but you went and thew down a 'her or me' gauntlet that I would imagine won't get much support from the chancellor. Unless you have clear and compelling evidence that she has made gross ethical breeches in the past demanding her to fall on the sword in public is VERY doubtful in my book.

I think that you had a great chance to educate the educator but might have blown it with such hardline position.

Best of luck and keep us informed.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 2:43 PM on 01.29.08
->> ditto what Mark linked.
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Charley Starr, Photographer, Photo Editor
Ketchikan | AK | USA | Posted: 2:49 PM on 01.29.08
->> There are a lot of good people at the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. You might give them a call and ask for advice/help. Maybe one of them would be willing to come to your next meeting and give a real world professional take on the whole issue. They would be a good resource and a great contact for you.
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Lane Hickenbottom, Photographer
Grand Island | NE | usa | Posted: 3:12 PM on 01.29.08
->> Tirades are rarely the way to incite change. I think you erred by sending your first email in the manner you did. In an effort to provide some damage control I would recommend you follow up your email (before she replies to you) with something like this:

Dear [advisor]:

I would like to apologize for flying off the handle and making the demands I did in my last email.

Please understand the difficult position you put me in. From a position of power you asked me to do something that is contrary to journalistic ethics and integrity. Not only did you ask me to do this, but you threatened my position at the newspaper when you said that if I did not comply you would find somebody who would.

By asking me to change the scene in the MLK photo you asked me to commit an offense that likely would have resulted in a firing at a professional publication. I hope you can see where that throws me in a corner where my instincts were to go into attack mode.

This is a very important discussion. I would like to retract my ultimatum in the hopes that we can further this discussion in a professional manner.

I sincerely hope we can have an open conversation with the rest of the staff about journalistic ethics. Perhaps we could invite a working photojournalist from either the Post or Mountain News to guide us.

Respectfully,

Justin Edmonds
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Joshua Brown, Photographer
Waynesville | NC | USA | Posted: 3:18 PM on 01.29.08
->> In case your adviser says that the sky doesn't change the meaning of the image or something similar, here is a link to an unfortunate event from former Charlotte Observer photog who was let go altering a sky too much: http://tinyurl.com/ml59k

Good job sticking to your guns, I hope that everything works out in your favor (and the favor of ethics)
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Nashville | TN | U.S. | Posted: 4:28 PM on 01.29.08
->> You should have made the sky a deep blue, layered in some birds and parade confetti, and photoshopped in some pretty flowers by the roadside just for added measure.

I don't know why people think they need to "improve" reality. What good would a blue sky have done? Everyone there would have seen the adjustment knowing that it was overcast that day. You need a new advisor.
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 4:35 PM on 01.29.08
->> Where have all the martyrs gone?

A college student asks a question about ethics ... and several SS members immediately offer posts talking about "standing your ground at all costs," firing, suing and slapping people. Now this young photographer has apparently heeded these urgings ... and the ones who made them are nowhere to be found. But there's no shortage of folks saying he acted too fast or too forcefully.

I'd love to think this will all end well. But I don't think it will, mostly because of how it has escalated. The part about demanding an apology is especially disturbing to me. I'm absolutely not saying the advisor was right, but I'm also sure all of us would love having to apologize every time we made a mistake at work, especially if it was demanded in front of all our co-workers by someone with far less training and experience.

If a calm discussion/debate of the issue could have resulted in a learning experience for all involved ... wouldn't that have been a better way to handle this?
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Tony Sirgedas, Photographer
Pierce County | WA | USA | Posted: 6:13 PM on 01.29.08
->> Send her these two links from the NPPA........

http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/ethics.html

http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/digitalethi...
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Aaron Rhoads, Photographer
McComb | MS | USA | Posted: 6:14 PM on 01.29.08
->> Isn't their two different problems here?
One asked to do something unethical.
The other, if you don't do something unethical, you'll be fired.

I'd be upset.
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Lane Hickenbottom, Photographer
Grand Island | NE | usa | Posted: 6:16 PM on 01.29.08
->> Justin has every right to be upset. But wise people act with cool heads when they are upset.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 6:23 PM on 01.29.08
->> jeff, I'm a little confused by your post.... I re-read all the replies to this thread and I think the advice that folks gave of "standing your ground" was solid. obviously many of us are pretty passionate about ethics and were horrified that an instructor would be silly enough to order or suggest a student manilpulate a news image then threaten they would find someone who would if not complied with. I think when we are young we have a tendancy to make mistakes...at least I did and still do (and I'm not young anymore) , we react the wrong way many times when we feel strongly about something. I too feel the whole apology thing was over the top but the fact of the matter is the advisor is the bad guy here and has to be culpable for asking him to do the manipulation. the benefit of the doubt scenario, her suggesting he do it as a "test". I call "bullsxxt" on that. if you do a "test" like that it ends in about 15 seconds when you see the reaction. I didn't hear that happen in the explaination from justin. it seems to me in the context of his story she really wanted him to change the sky. in these current times there is NO wiggle room in a matter like this. if she is a photojournalism instructor she needs to be reprimanded over this incident. as someone above posted...remember the dietrich incident...it wasn't a one time event....so how many students has this instructor given poisoned advice to. I hope it turns out well...if I didn't live two time zones away I'd stand beside justin if he needed me to. and you know, sometimes being calm just doesn't work....I wasn't there...but when I read his post I was stupified...and cannot say I wouldn't have blown up like a roman candle myself had that happened to me.
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Jody Gomez, Photographer
Murrieta | CA | USA | Posted: 6:49 PM on 01.29.08
->> Lane, true that. After reading all the responses written after mine, I realized that I forgot to add the most important rule I have (and have preached a thousand times on this board), which is to step back, take a deep breath, and THEN go kick butt (while making sure not to shoot yourself in the foot during the battle).

Jeff Brehm, I respectfully disagree with your statement that those who offered advice such as "stand your ground at all costs" are nowhere to be found. I offered that advice and I'm still here. I haven't decided how I feel about Justin's email, but I applaud him for having the courage to take the stand he did. This conversation reminds me of an issue we helped you with almost exactly a year ago. Do you remember this?
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=23238 By comparing your posts in this thread to those a year ago, it seems to me that you've learned the art of breathing. Kudos to you for that.


:~)

Jody
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Justin Edmonds, Student/Intern, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 7:04 PM on 01.29.08
->> Thank you to everyone who have posted on this heated topic.

I have received emails from both the advisor and editor. Just as I suspected I didn't get the response that I was hoping for. The advisor has changed her story so that it doesn't sound unethical. She stated that she said that the sky should have been darkened using a filter (polarizer I presume) and/or in photoshop. I don't own a polarizer so that shouldn't be an issue because every photographer supplies their own gear. With a personal Canon Mk II, 30D, 16-35 and 70-200. I believe that I have sufficient tools to get the job done.

After I explained, last night in our meeting, that a filter wouldn't have done anything to a white sky she then proceeded to suggest that I should have colored the sky blue. She's denying that now and I refuse to get into the he said, she said debate. If it wasn't an issue I wouldn't have made it one.

I agree that I did go about the situation the wrong way and I realize that now but I am still going to stand up my beliefs.

...30 min later...

I just got off the phone with the editor and he thinks that my requests are not reasonable. I only a written apology from the advisor acknowledging what she did was wrong so similar problems don't arise in the future. I also wanted 30 minutes, not a second more, to bring in a working professional from the Rocky or Denver Post to lead an informative discussion regarding photojournalism ethics. The editor said that I am asking for too much.

I am now going to take the issue to the director of Campus Life who oversees the paper. I will let you know how things turn out. I guess as of now I'm not shooting the Obama and Bill Clinton events tomorrow which is unfortunate for our paper.
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Live HVN : Work SFO-NYC | | | Posted: 7:32 PM on 01.29.08
->> Photographers get fired for what you were asked to do!
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Steven E. Frischling, Photographer
Live HVN : Work SFO-NYC | | | Posted: 7:35 PM on 01.29.08
->> "She stated that she said that the sky should have been darkened using a filter (polarizer I presume) and/or in photoshop."




Or darken it in Photoshop? That is a slipperly slope.......one that again leads to photographers getting fired if they overstep the bounds.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 7:52 PM on 01.29.08
->> Justin, it may be time for you to move on. If you have ethics, and the newspaper's editor and advisor refuse to acknowledge them, and encourage you to push what you are comfortable doing, you may want to just start shooting for yourself, or look for a local internship.
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Brandon Iwamoto, Student/Intern, Photographer
Fort Collins | CO | USA | Posted: 8:15 PM on 01.29.08
->> "The part about demanding an apology is especially disturbing to me. I'm absolutely not saying the advisor was right, but I'm also sure all of us would love having to apologize every time we made a mistake at work, especially if it was demanded in front of all our co-workers by someone with far less training and experience."

I've been exchanging phone calls with Justin since yesterday about this... and the reason he's asking for an apology in front of the staff is because the adviser not only made the request, but also made the threat to fire him over it, in front of the entire staff. not to mention he has been told repeatedly from one of his editors that he is "overreacting" and that his request for 30min for a professional from the Rocky or Post to come in and speak about ethics was unwarranted and a waste of time. I'd be fuming too.
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