Ethical Internet

Prof. Steve Rice talked about the ethical implications of multimedia journalism… with focus on the use and misuse of Photoshop – the temptress of photogs everywhere.

In sum: Just ’cause you can do it in Photoshop doesn’t mean you should. Especially in journalism.

It made me think back… to the halcyon days of tjTODAY and our mostly ethical use of Photoshop to manipulate our own photos and images pulled from the Internet. I do recall a time or two where it would’ve been so much better for our beautiful layouts if we could just flip the direction of an image. Unfortunately, you can’t use ‘photo by’ in that case. You had to call it a ‘photo illustration’ and that doesn’t look nearly as good in competition. So we generally didn’t do that.

We trod lightly in the gray area of copyright, pulling images from the Internet and fiddling with them a bit so we could use them in the paper… Most of the time, we’d make sure to use photos of celebs that were ‘for the public’ found on their websites. Oh, the cutouts… So many of them… At some point we got a membership to a wire service to use images from, which was definitely an improvement.

Aw, looking at all those old issues… Good memories, good memories. Those sweet spreads, funny opinion top 10 lists and pretentious opinion sections.

At least we learned about ethics and exercised them in our reporting. Granted, some of our ‘photo by/photo illustration by/graphic by’ credits may have been a little sketchy, but the reporting was really sound – quote check policies for the win – and generally good.


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