Photojournalism and Credibility
I, and other people, have lost trust in ‘news outlets”. Indecently, I consider photojournalists “news outlets”.
The term “Fake News” has been tossed around in order to discredit information. And, while some information IS fake news not all of it is. So, how do we sort the fake news from the real news? At the end of the day, it’s all about credibility.
For the purpose of news reporting, including photojournalism, if we don’t have credibility we’ve got nothing because believability and credibility go hand in hand. And, more importantly, a lack of credibility in our work leads to an attitude of incredulousness about our work.
When we’re reporting the news, we should be doing just that; simply REPORTING – truthfully and accurately, without bias, opinion or intent to manipulate. If we feel like gettin’ on our grandstand we should save that for the op-ed page or creating “art”.
An incredible picture may be difficult to believe, but coming from someone who has credibility it’s probably a truthful picture/real news. On the other hand an incredible picture coming from someone who manipulates their photography will be viewed as incredulous.
Lotsa pictures are truthful but are use in untruthful ways. Under those circumstances, a truthful picture is used out of context by associating it with text that is intended to mislead the reader.
I keep it simple for myself. I keep three things in mind to drive my work; observe, record, report. If I simply observe, record and report, I’m simply passing along factual information. With this intention, my credibility remains intact.
As an example, The National Press Photographers Association’s Code of Ethics (1) offers good guidelines. If I simply observe, record and report, I’m simply passing along factual/truthful information. That being the case, then no fake news from me.
- (1) NPPA Code of Ethics. https://nppa.org/code-ethics
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See Sam’s Photographs.