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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Where did you learn your PJ ethics
Peter Buehner, Photographer
Orono | ME | USA | Posted: 9:35 AM on 02.05.12
->> I can almost hear Chuck's scream from here (and I am in Maine). Forgive me Chuck and all you long time career PJ's but I do think that all of these other debates being had in other threads beg a simple question.

Where did you learn your ethics specific to PJ work?

How many career PJ's went to school somewhere and had a class on ethics?

I will make a confession. Years ago when I got my first camera...and my first copy of photoshop, I started working for a college paper (for free at first). I can remember a couple of shots in which I cloned out some background distraction. It NEVER crossed my mind that I was doing something wrong. In fact, I thought I was doing something good because I was spending so much time trying to make a good photo for the paper.
Do you know why I know better? Because I cared to connect with the industry and to learn from people more experienced than me. Nobody gave me that knowledge before I started naively working for someone.

Should the paper have given me a little lesson or a handout on the philosophy of Photojournalistic ethics and had me sign an agreement to never alter a photo?
Think back to when you started..how did you learn? And please don't give me the " I just knew and if you don't know, you are an idiot" line. I may indeed be an idiot but I feel quite certain that that fact is off topic : )
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 10:04 AM on 02.05.12
->> My photojournalism professors at the University of Florida taught me.
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Peter Buehner, Photographer
Orono | ME | USA | Posted: 10:31 AM on 02.05.12
->> James:
I would have loved to have that experience (should have had that experience actually). I am wondering how many working Photojournalists majored in it in college vs. working into the industry. I bet that stat exists somewhere.
all the best,
Peter
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Ben Liu, Photographer, Student/Intern
Lubbock | TX | | Posted: 11:03 AM on 02.05.12
->> San Jose State University
NPPA Flying Short Couse
SFBAPPA
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Ben Liu, Photographer, Student/Intern
Lubbock | TX | | Posted: 11:05 AM on 02.05.12
->> I meant to say NPPA flying short course
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 11:10 AM on 02.05.12
->> My parents
Ed Ross @ Loyola College
Dave Rees @ University of Missouri
Eric Strachan @ Naples Daily News

and along the way...

Michael Bryant
Jim LoScalzo
Jed Kirschbaum
Gene Sweeney
Matt Campbell
David Sterling
Kay Chin Tay
Denny Simmons
Eric Seals
Chris Assaf
....you get the picture...

You can learn it in school, or at home, but you also learn it by surrounding yourself with ethical people...(I am leaving people people out, there were way too many at Mizzou, but I have to make pancakes for the kids...)
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Ben Liu, Photographer, Student/Intern
Lubbock | TX | | Posted: 11:13 AM on 02.05.12
->> I also forgot to mention the Sports Shooter Workshop and Luau.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 11:26 AM on 02.05.12
->> I went to a high school in Dallas with a good photo program, and had a wonderful journalism adviser. He drilled in the basics, but also took us to NPPA events when they were in town so we could see how the pros worked. We went to a Flying Short Course and a Digital Short Course (remember those?). Since he was an NPPA member, he had lots of POY books (remember those?) and back issues of News Photographer for us to look at. He brought in photographers from The Dallas Morning News to talk to us about photojournalism, including ethics, and also set a couple of us, me included, with unpaid lab internships at the DMN, which was invaluable. We also had a mentor who worked at the Dallas Times Herald who came by once a month or so to check up on us.

There have been a lot of other people, but I really think that the earlier you have your ethical basis formed, the better.
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Scott Serio, Photo Editor, Photographer
Colora | MD | USA | Posted: 12:10 PM on 02.05.12
->> I asked my wife, who had no PJ background at all, what she thinks is ethical. She said, "When I look at a photo that is in the paper or part of a news story online, I believe the photo is an accurate representation of what happened. I figure you probably cropped it, fixed the shadows and stuff, but you didn't add something to it or take something out."

Hmm...

How hard is that? No PJ background, just common sense. (I am posting this in the three other threads about this)
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 12:24 PM on 02.05.12
->> I'm with Scott in that it started with my parents. Don't lie and play by the rules. I don't have an education in photojournalism from a school, but I did have a good professor in Bill Gillette. Some things I just understood: don't burn and dodge the hell out of a print (I always thought it looked like shit anyway), don't try and create something that wasn't there or recreate something that happened. Other things I imagine I just picked up along the way. When AP's software with a crude clone tool came along in the mid-90's, I played around with it and was amazed that I could remove a light pole from a photo. But I never had to ask or have anyone tell me it was wrong to do that, I just knew it was wrong.
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Sam Morris, Photographer
Henderson (Las Vegas) | NV | USA | Posted: 12:28 PM on 02.05.12
->> (Peter, sorry for saying "I just knew" - at least I didn't call you an idiot!)

Again I'll echo Scott. I had a discussion with my non-journalist wife about this yesterday and she said the same thing.
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Will Powers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 12:29 PM on 02.05.12
->> Arizona State University Journalism/Photojournalism and Ethics classes in particular and at Newsday, The Arizona Republic and as a freelancer for The Associated Press.
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Greg Francis, Photographer
Rochester | NY | USA | Posted: 12:43 PM on 02.05.12
->> I learned reading NPPA's News Photographer magazine & regional magazine while in high school & college (1989-1994). I haven't been an NPPA member though since 2003.
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Brad Camp, Photographer
Bainbridge Island | wa | USA | Posted: 1:01 PM on 02.05.12
->> Kansas State from mentors Andy Nelson, Jeff Tuttle and Brad Fancher--it was drilled in from day 1 there--still teaching it today to folks and mostly reporters with 'just enough PS skills' to get into trouble...
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Nick Morris, Photographer
San Diego | CA | USA | Posted: 1:17 PM on 02.05.12
->> I was hired on at a daily here in San Diego. I had previous experience in school and the military but I was directed here by the editor and told to learn it, know it, live it.

http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/ethics.html
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Greg Kendall-Ball, Photographer, Assistant
Abilene | TX | USA | Posted: 1:21 PM on 02.05.12
->> My education was in religion (they're pretty big on the "not lying" thing), but as soon as I became a freelancer for the local paper, I joined the NPPA and drilled the code of ethics into my head. The staff photogs at the paper (now my colleagues) were also instrumental in ingraining the ethical code.
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Andrew Link, Photo Editor, Photographer
Winona | MN | USA | Posted: 1:22 PM on 02.05.12
->> Ethics class at Winona State University. More importantly having a couple photo editors that stressed the importance of telling the truth before getting my first staff job.
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Sean D. Elliot, Photographer, Photo Editor
Norwich | CT | USA | Posted: 1:24 PM on 02.05.12
->> It started in high school. My journalism instructor was an NPPA member, she taught everyone, the writers and photographers the very basic, don't alter facts, don't mislead. She used examples from News Photographer, she showed us classic examples from the 70's. It only grew from there, in college, when I joined the NPPA in 1990, we were hammered by our professors, by speakers at the Flying short course.

But the question is begged ... since journalists are coming from all sorts of backgrounds today, where do they get the training? Obviously it needs to come from a variety of sources. It needs to be articulated from editors who are assigning work, it needs to come from peers who are there to see the mistakes being made and it needs to come from organizations, such as the NPPA, who have the reach to get the word out.
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Peter Buehner, Photographer
Orono | ME | USA | Posted: 1:42 PM on 02.05.12
->> @Sam: No worries : ) Thanks though.

Have an ethical day everyone. Go Pats
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 3:46 PM on 02.05.12
->> Parents
My faith
Don Rutledge
Howard Chapnick
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | US | Posted: 4:50 PM on 02.05.12
->> Chuck Norris
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Aleksi Lepisto, Photo Editor, Student/Intern
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 4:53 PM on 02.05.12
->> Peter, I marked your post as inappropriate because I don't appreciate the language. I can't believe this board doesn't censor out the 4 letter word you wrote at the end.
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G.M. Andrews, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 5:12 PM on 02.05.12
->> Am I the only one that doesn't understand Aleksi's post?
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Eric Isaacs, Photographer, Assistant
Santa Barbara | CA | USA | Posted: 5:21 PM on 02.05.12
->> G.M., perhaps you are :-)

Think Superbowl, think fanatic, think sarcasm.

EMI
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Jeff Gammons, Student/Intern, Photographer
Destin | Fl | USA | Posted: 5:52 PM on 02.05.12
->> Common sense... Though after some of the recent threads in here, it's apparently not too common anymore...

The NPPA has the main points fairly well etched in stone, it is kind of hard to stray away from them without going rouge...
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David A. Cantor, Photographer, Photo Editor
Toledo | OH | USA | Posted: 6:02 PM on 02.05.12
->> first rouge, then mascara and lipstick and the next thing you know it's right to HDR....
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Kent Nishimura, Student/Intern, Photographer
Honolulu | HI | USA | Posted: 7:13 PM on 02.05.12
->> After starting at a student newspaper that didnt have a photo department, and working for an 'photo editor' who started five minutes before me (that's how he got the job) and knew nothing of photoj ethics, I was very fortunate to have staffers at the local daily papers point me in the right direction. They schooled me on ethics and pointed me to the NPPA Code of Ethics. Now? I try to do the same for fellow University of Hawaii photo kids.

Learn it, live it, then pay it forward.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
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Peter Buehner, Photographer
Orono | ME | USA | Posted: 7:52 PM on 02.05.12
->> Sorry Aleksi. I will try to get my act together.

@David- funniest post in a while.
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Jeff Gammons, Student/Intern, Photographer
Destin | Fl | USA | Posted: 8:08 PM on 02.05.12
->> David, I laughed so hard at that.... Whoops...
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Steve Russell, Photographer
Toronto | ON | Canada | Posted: 8:21 PM on 02.05.12
->> My lessons in PJ ethics started in College and continue to this day.

A few years ago we put together a Code of Ethics for our paper,
we found a treasure trove of codes on the Poynter website,
and used them to create our own.

Here is the result
http://www.thestar.com/article/145048
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Andrew Carpenean, Photographer
Laramie | WY | USA | Posted: 9:57 PM on 02.05.12
->> Peter,

I think you hit on it in your initial comments: "Do you know why I know better"? "Because I cared to connect with the industry and to learn from people more experienced than me".

That's the bottom line for me in reading into your comments. So no matter how you learn about ethics unless you actually care you probably won't practice ethics in your photography as a photojournalist. And thus jeopardize being fired whether out of ignorance or purposely making a bad choice.

I've had lots of great mentors along the way. My PJ instructors in college Paul F. Moloney, and former Denver Post director of photography John Sunderland.

Other names that come to mind are Damian Strohmeyer and Rich Clarkson.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 10:13 PM on 02.05.12
->> It's funny how on this post everyone is complimentary of veterans who have taught ethics but when some of those same veterans attempt to explain ethics in other threads they're hammered by the very folks they are trying to help. you gotta love sportsshooter....
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 10:47 PM on 02.05.12
->> - My parents

- the Boy Scouts. I'm an Eagle Scout

- Medica Ethics at Cal Poly SLO (print journalism class of Dec '06)

- Real life experience as a newspaper photographer

- reading/studying a lot of philosophy books and post-modernism (gave me a lot of insight into the deeper stuff in the world...)
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Mike Ullery, Photographer, Photo Editor
Piqua | OH | USA | Posted: 10:50 PM on 02.05.12
->> Ethics = Common sense + integrity

Too many young shooters won't admit that they don't already know everything, hence they argue and won't accept advice.
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Nicholas Von Staden, Photographer
Pompano Beach | FL | USA | Posted: 1:57 AM on 02.06.12
->> OK a little history of My Ethics in photojournalism...Back in 1971 I was suggested a book when I was a stringer for UPI..."Visual Impact in Print" How to make pictures communicate, a guide for the photographer,editor designer....by Angus McDougall and Gerald Hurley....35 pages in.. was a whole chapter(15pages) on retouching...it was titled "Out damned spot! Out I say" It has many examples of removing back round lights, wires, people shoulders.lines on walls and heavy burning.....we did it all the time...BUT to quote from the chapter. "Obvious retouching can destroy believability, the most valuable quality a photograph can possess. A handy tool for enhancing, cleaning up and clarifying, retouching should under no circumstances change the meaning of the picture or the photographer's intent. The reader accepts a photo as an honest reflection of the things as they are. To condone dishonest retouching is to violate this trust. But to keep hands off when a photo cries for help is indefensible, too. (example shown.. of a large bright backround light in the middle of a picture removed) Later when I went to work for a major daily the heavy burning/dodging kept up until late eighty's most of that went away with the use of color, shooting slides...you better keep those backrounds clean.....So I think it has evolved to "don't touch that! in newspapers... except for all those books and mags out there and photoshop on iPhones...Now its com full circle you can retouch but should you?. I think it s up to the publication who use the pictures and to put that in their contracts. One size does't fit all genre. Trust me that book was the bible in its day.
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 10:41 AM on 02.06.12
->> The book I remember referencing fairly often during college was Photojournalism: The Professionals' Approach by Kenneth Kobré.
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Sam Santilli, Photographer, Photo Editor
Philippi | WV | USA | Posted: 11:41 AM on 02.06.12
->> Ray Smith of Action Images (WV)
&
University of Hard Knocks
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Salisbury | NC | USA | Posted: 1:10 PM on 02.06.12
->> My parents and grandparents
My scoutmasters
My congregation
My professors at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University
My first newspaper editor, who gave me the best advice of all -- When choosing what to shoot and how to print it, don't be a photographer first. Be a person, then focus on the technical stuff.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 9:20 PM on 02.06.12
->> +1 for the "from my parents" thing. I was taught not to lie. That motivated me to get reliable info to lots of people (aka "journalism.")

In the 1990s I synthesized my personal and professional experiences into the first of several digital ethics policies that I've written over the years. The essence of all of them is, "Do not mislead."

--Mark
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Jeff Gammons, Student/Intern, Photographer
Destin | Fl | USA | Posted: 9:25 PM on 02.06.12
->> I'm seeing a bunch of scouts references on here. Who else is an Eagle Scout? I am one, and I must say scouts really shaped my morals and outlook on life as a whole.
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Lee Giles III, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gig Harbor/Tacoma/Puyallu | Washington | United States | Posted: 10:50 PM on 02.06.12
->> I was never educated formally in photography or journalism. I job shadowed at the Tacoma News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington from Junior High school. My mentor then and now is Russ Carmack who recently retired from the Tribune after more than 30 years at the same post.

I took the long and difficult road of "on the job training." When I got my first staff job with my second big influence/mentor Ric Hallock, he taught me in the working environment how to do my job better.

Professor Joanne Lisosky at Pacific Lutheran University came out for a summer as an intern to learn photography from me. I learned additional journalism ethics, some writing and other very useful tips and tricks of the trade from her. She came out to learn from me, but I learned more from her. She took what I do right and polished my game. I'm forever grateful for her and what she does for others.

While covering a major news story in Washington State Sunday with Seattle Associated Press Photographer Ted S. Warren, I learned even more helpful trade skills by watching and comparing our coverage of the same spot-news story. Being around Ted also helped me self check my own work through comparison. I typically work alone as I'm the sole staff shooter at our weekly papers, and only come across fellow shooters and our daily staffers once in a while. So observing, asking questions and comparing my work to Ted's was priceless.

I learn everyday from what works and fails with my own adventures. The one reoccurring theme in all of my experiences is to always be honest and to report the news in an unbiased fashion.

Credibility is the only way. Honesty is the road to success. It's been the leadership and high standards that have been passed on to me by my mentors, co-workers and the readers and their watchful eyes that have given me the tools needed for my work. I am also very fortunate to work under very talented and experienced leaders at our papers.
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Lee Giles III, Photographer, Photo Editor
Gig Harbor/Tacoma/Puyallu | Washington | United States | Posted: 10:55 PM on 02.06.12
->> I forgot to add that my time in the United Staes Marine Corps has helped me to have the courage to stick to what is right and not to be pressured into the "dark side" of spinning lies or taking the easy way to success.

I sleep well every night knowing I have nothing to hide. If called upon to stand tall on the dreaded "carpet" with my superiors, I'm confident I would emerge safely from taking the righteous path.
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Nic Coury, Photographer
Monterey | CA | | Posted: 11:21 PM on 02.06.12
->> @Jeff

Proud to be an Eagle here.

Best job I ever had was the the 10 summers I worked at Scout camp. Learned all kinds of stuff.
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Thread Title: Where did you learn your PJ ethics
Thread Started By: Peter Buehner
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