News photography and Photoshop

By Emily Church
August 8, 2006

(Editor’s note: asked Gary Hershorn, News Pictures Editor for North America, to discuss some of the tools photojournalists have used in the past — and what they use now — to produce pictures. On Monday, Reuters withdrew all 920 photographs by a freelance Lebanese photographer from its database after a review showed he had altered two images. You can see the images and reactions from readers here. Reuters, also the publisher of this report, tightened procedures for photographs from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah and apologized for the case. You can read the company’s statement here. You can send a comment to Hershorn from the link below and read his interview with NPR today here

  Photojournalism tools gary.jpgNews photographers routinely process images using Adobe Photoshop software. But there has been a basic premise in the world of photojournalism that what was allowed in making prints in the pre-digital days of darkrooms is all that is acceptable today. Back in the days of the darkroom, we used very basic tools to develop prints. In black and white printing, the contrast of a picture was controlled by a paper’s grade. The higher the number of the paper, the higher the contrast. In the wire agency darkooms I’ve worked in, we typically used grades 3,4 and 5. We allowed “dodge and burn” to lighten or darken areas. A dodge tool was made by taping a small piece of cardboard the size of a quarter onto a paper clip. A burn tool was a piece of cardboard the size of an 8×10 sheet of paper with a hole in the center. If a print had dust spots caused by a dirty negative, we used Spotone, a photographic paint that was dabbed onto a print with a very fine paint brush to eliminate the unsightly marks. One other tool that was allowed when printing color pictures was changing color balance. This was done by placing filters between the light source of the enlarger and the paper that the image was being printed on. When we moved to scanning negatives and then to shooting digital, we began using Photoshop. This program allows us to do the same things we did in the darkroom. Changes in contrast, dodging and burning and color balance are now done with software. The most controversial tool in Photoshop that we use is the cloning tool. The only accepted use of this tool is to clear dust from the image. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to using the cloning tool to change content, and by that we mean removing something that exists in a photo, moving or replicating it or adding to a photo.The tools we use in Photoshop are levels, curves and saturation for changing contrasts; and, color balance to bring the image back to the way the natural eye would see the color. Here is what we tell our photographers in the Handbook of Reuters Journalism.Photoshop is a highly sophisticated image manipulation programme. We use only a tiny part of its potential capability to format our pictures, crop and size them and balance the tone and colour. For us it is a presentational tool.The rules are no additions or deletions, no misleading the viewer by manipulation of the tonal and colour balance to disguise elements of an image or to change the context.Photoshop is a powerful image processing program with many more tools to help photographers produce the best quality image they can for the type of photography they do. There is not a Photoshop program for use by news photographers and another for advertising, where image-changing is tolerated. What we in the news photo community need to regulate is what tools are used for photojournalism and what are not.   



Posted by DC | Report as abusive

How many photographs do Reuters photo editors deal with in a given day? And what proportion are published?

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

the question is really a much deeper one, mr. hirshorn:

are reuters photographers there to capture the most sensational and compelling image, or are they there to document the facts of a situation? it is not simply the use of the cloning tool that can damage the integrity of photo journalism – such things as cropping, framing and simply timing can all affect the truthfulness of an image.

a journalist’s job is to tell the truth and tell it whole. and a good photojournalist must be able to do just that – and take a compelling picture.

please assure those who rely on reuters as a beacon of truth in a dark world that you are making sure that it is not only photoshop”s user’s manual, but the user’s manual of journ alism that is being properly communicated to your photograpehrs. thank you

Posted by Pete | Report as abusive

I have a lot of respect for the folks at Reuters for coming out and discussing this. I think it’s imperative that circumstances such as this, manipulation in recent months by photographer Patrick Schneider of the Charlotte Observer, and Brian Walski of the Los Angeles Times, who was fired for his composite image from the war, be used to make the point to the viewing public that these circumstances are not tolerated. While I think that most of the viewing public knows that photo manipulation is possible, they trust sources like Reuters, and others. Moreso, I think, when those they trust publically take those that violate their rules out to the woodshed, and act publicly to apologize.

One concern of mine, is how did this make it past a seasoned photo editor? Was this put out by a knowledgable editor who was overworked, or by an underpaid outsourced and inexperienced photo editor?

Lastly, among Reuters, AP, AFP, and others, how often has work that has been manipulated been sent in by photographers, and been caught by a photo editor, only to have them kill the photo and fire/ban the freelancer, without their manipulated photos making it onto the wire? I’d say that it’s happened more often than we know.



Pete objects to the use of an artist’s eye in framing or cropping a photo to make it more compelling or dramatic. Photojournalism would not exist as a medium without that creative zest that makes those well-cropped and framed photos pop. There is nothing more truthful and more full of integrity about dull, boring full frame pictures. In fact, by encouraging flat photos that are not compelling, aren’t you pushing another bias.

Of course, the following is conjecture, but I will venture forth anyway. I assume that Pete is pro-war and objects to compelling photos that express the horrors and outrages of war. Certainly seeing the dead and dying from a distance where they are faceless and ageless will lessen the photos impact. And a bias to make photos less powerful is a bias — a bias supporting whatever outrage or tragedy those photos reveal.

Personally, I think that the public should see all the photos of our soldiers’ coffins, the torn and mangled bodies of the dead – their dead and ours. If the American public cannot support a war unless it is hidden from their sight, then that war should not be waged. We didn’t need to cover our eyes in the past and the desire to protect the American public now arises from the sure and certain knowledge that the public would not support the war if they could see the truth of it.

Posted by Kija | Report as abusive

This is all fine and great but it still does not address the issue of how these images snuck past the Photo Editor (whom I am assuming isn’t new and is a veteran). It is understandable the difficulty in distinguishing false photos, but come on. Closer inspection must be warranted, sources must be checked and perhaps people who have exprience in DIGITAL photography (should have been done in the 1990s) be brought in.


Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

In response to Patrick’s questions above our Global Picture Desk handles approximately 1200 pictures per day on what is considered a normal news day. On a busy or breaking news type day the desk will handle up to about 2000 pictures. Of the total pictures sent to the desk from photographers all over the world, about 50 are not published to our wire on average each day. Usual reasons for a picture not to be published are photos that are out of focus or are repetitive in nature to what has already be transmitted on the wire.

Posted by Gary | Report as abusive

Pete, I wanted to respond to your comments about how being a good photojournalist is not just about using photoshop. Reuters prides itself on the quality of all our journalists and their ability to present the facts correctly. Our photographers strive to take relevant images that tell the story of the events they cover. They are trained in ethics, they are asked to follow a code of conduct and they are asked to follow the Reuters Trust Principles. I agree with you that every element of photography especially cropping is important in conveying the truth.

Posted by Gary | Report as abusive

The blogs are buzzing with this story, but what I haven’t been able to understand is why wire agencies, such as Reuters, employ so many foreign national in-country stringers to report the news? In-country freelancers are paid less and must take far more risks than their Western colleagues. When something like this happens we blame the individual not the structural and instituitional systems in place that enable this type of problem.

Why did it take so long for Mr. Hajj to be discovered by a blogger?

Where were the editors in charge of the content?

The wire service, I think, has a responsibility here and must be held accountable for selecting and training individuals that are willing to follow commonly accepted ethical standards.

In some way, I do feel sorry for this guy. I feel sorry for him because he has become a scapegoat for an industry that has failed to make sure he wasn’t using the power of the camera and all the technology that goes with it to tell us lies.

How many other pictures are being manipulated every day that we don’t know about and who is ultimately responsible for allowing these images to slip through as representative of what can only be called a constructed social reality.

I often feel that journalistic practices today that are being driven by economic concerns. Journalism is increasingly a business run by businessmen.

With hundreds of well-trained photojournalists graduating from journalism program in this country why do agencies continue to rely on freelancers, who may or not have the same level of training?

The big picture issue here is more about the political-economics of doing business in times of war, than it is about one person’s journalistic integrity. Let’s get this straight.

One of the most important issues facing the media today is credibility, yet Western wire services continue to utilize labor practices that exploit people.

Shouldn’t wire services and the editors who work for them be held as equally accountable to the public as the photographer?

What needs to be discussed here is the reality that our wire services exploit freelancers who end up assuming all the risk of working in extremely dangerous situations. Consider for a moment the number of Iraqi journalists, many of them working for Western news agencies, that have died in the past four years. In-country photojournalists, be it in Iraq or Lebanon, risk their lives every day so that we can be better informed.

The reality of the situation is that these freelancers are typically paid far less than Western photojournalists, become targets of political reprisals, and are rarely covered by any sort of health insurance policy.

In this case, even if the freelancer is fired and all his or her pictures removed from circulation, the wire services will inevitably hire another freelancer with the same language, cultural, and technological skills to take his place.

Firing the freelancer is a knee-jerk, sort of “cover our butts”, reaction to a even more insidious situation that has been overlooked in the industry for decades. Outsourcing what is the equivalent of photo-mercenaries in order to save money and Western lives.

Freelancers need the same training, pay, educational opportunities, and health coverage as any other human being needs in this sort of situation. However, all of this costs money, and the bottom line in the news business these days is pretty much do news fast and do news cheap.

The message that Reuters is sending to the public by firing the freelancer is that they can be counted on to take care of individuals who make them look bad. I feel a deep sense of sadness for the freelancer who probably didn’t even know that he was doing anything wrong in the first place.

What needs to the discussed here is the bigger and meatier issue of how the wire services out source the most dangerous and difficult assignment to freelancers who are more or less treated like a disposable commodity.

Even though Reuters publicly apologized for the picture that got out, where were editors who cleared the image for distribution?

In this case, a first-grader could have done a better cloning job on the image, and at the end of the day it is the editors, not just the photographer, that have failed us.

What we need now is an honest discussion about the use of in-country hires and freelancers by media giant who exploit them in order to feed the beast that our insatiable appetite for images in this country has become.

We should not, in this case, be shooting the messenger (the freelancer), but rather the companies that fail to educate their content providers in understanding the importance of balanced, fair-minded, and ethical visual practices.


Not just the photographersalso the editors.

Remember OJ Simpson’s mug shot on Time Magazine’s cover versus the “real” mug shot on Newsweek’s cover.

This type of dishonesty has been going on for a looong time!


THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG with Photoshop usage on Photos, as long as strategies are agreed upon and checks to assure compliance.

Knowing the importance of a professional appearance on widely distibuted and perhaps achive photographs, it is perfectly acceptable to want to utilize the technology availble to make them as visually clear to the millions who will view them.

What practical reason is there for allowing a few bad apples ruining it for all conscientious professionals?


To Gary Hershorn!
If the bloggers hadn’t caught Rueters cold, they would still be doing their thing. It is disgusting.
Kieran Loughman
North Port, Fl

Posted by Kieran Loughman | Report as abusive

in my opinion it is also bad practice that the media publish pictures with giving the readers the date and time of the taking of the picture

Posted by henning holten | Report as abusive

It’s bad enough to try to slant the truth, and quite another to lie about it.

I am very knowledgable about all aspects of photography, and am an advanced photoshop user.

‘Dust’ is complete b.s., and we all know it.

It wasn’t the bloggers that nailed Reuters in this fraud, it was the bloggers’ readers. Think about what that means for your industry.

The Reuters brand means nothing to me now.

Posted by sesame screeds | Report as abusive

To the contrary of the reader who now doesn’t trust Reuters-I continue to trust Reuters. You took steps to remove the doctored photo & all photos by the offending photographer from your data base promptly. There is a probability that an expericenced technician could have fooled the editor or editors who screened the offending photo. Reuters is taking steps to catch doctored photos. That is enough for me.
All of us are aware that clever technicians will continue to try to fool your photo editors for a myrid of reasons. That is human nature. To take steps to prevent fraud, report truthfully & fully, admit errors promptly is the nature & policy of Reuters.

Posted by larry lynch | Report as abusive

It is understandable–and utterly dishonest–for Reuters to concentrate on the relatively small potatoes photoshopping.
The far bigger issue is the manipulation of images and stories from Lebanon.

Eureferendum has done a compelling analysis of the dans macabre at Qana and has substantial evidence that Reuters, AP and AFP photographers (and now, the Red Cross) were willing actors in a piece of loathesome propaganda designed to defame Israel, create a firestorm throughout the world and pressure Israel into what would have been a disastrous cease fire.

Until there is a thorough, credible outside investigation of that incident, Reuters credibility (and that of the other press participants) will be under daily scrutiny by people throughout the world far more honest and knowledgeable than the people sitting in media offices.

There will (deservedly) be no let up.Do not think you can act like Goebbels and be treated like respectable news agencies.

Posted by clarice | Report as abusive

Beyond the poorly done Photoshopping of photos, what about all staged photos by Reuters stringers? I can go out now and find all sorts of pictures of building rubble in Lebanon with perfectly clean children’s toys sitting on top of the mess. When I see something like that, I know it’s a lie; it’s been staged.

“The Facts – Without Spin” says Reuters on NPR. Baloney!

Posted by Albert Gibson | Report as abusive


Agreed, as soon as the embargo on photos and videos of 9/11 is lifted, including the people who jumped from the towers rather than burn to death.

If we’re to see it all, let’s really see it all.

Mr. Hershon:

Training for stringers is all well and good, but what is your quality control and quality assurance plan and how is it implemented? What does the fact that such an obvious violation got printed and was caught by an outsider say about the effectiveness of your QC/QA, and what does this whole thing say about the quality of verbal reporting by stringers? Are you reviewing past photos not just from Mr. Hajj but other stringers who may have agendae of their own? The burden of proof must be on Reuters, not the skeptic, to ensure that its news reportage meets acceptable standards of truthfulness. Reuters has almost entirely turned its war-zone reporting over to stringers, as have other Western mmedia; why should readers have confidence that this reporting, photos, film and text, meets normal standards of quality? If you cannot assure this, what formal cautions will Reuters place on its reporting o advise readers of its limitations?

Posted by Marty | Report as abusive

There is a simple solution to the problem: ANY manipulation of a photo by ANY means mechanical or digital, any staging or ‘creation’ of a scene, are grounds for immediate dismissal of the employee or termination of the freelancer. People who manipulate these images are not only lying to your readers and customers but are stealing from you — they are stealing your previously good reputation. You owe it to your readers your customers to ensure that these images reflect fact, not opinion — unless of course that’s your intent.

Posted by John Steele | Report as abusive

[…] Bill’s favorite pastime is to play Bridge.  Via Todd Bishop, here’s a pic of him playing last week. I think the cap is real – Photoshop anyone? Talking of bluffs and the bizarre, I was amazed to read this story of a Norwegian journalist, Bjørn Benkow, who has finally admitted to completely inventing an interview he did with Gates. Benkow originally denied the interview was dreamt up, but only after Gates and staff called the reporter’s bluff… […]


1. I think for any event photos, the photos should not go through any digital manipulation. PERIOD.

2. How do you ensure that the photos are not staged?

Posted by Chitta | Report as abusive

[…] There’s a saying in journalism- report the story, don’t become it.  Reuters is the story.  If youve been reading up, you know there’s been a stink about Reuters using doctored photos that exagerate the damage done by the IDF…  They’ve retractred the photo, apologized and fired the photographer, but its apparently not the first care. […]


As usual Reuters gets it wrong again. This is not about photoshop or sensationalism, its about fraud. Until Reuters, AP and others address the lack of jouranlistic ethics, the lying, spin and outright deceit in their reporting I will say the weekly world news is just as crediable. I will also see you as just a tool of propoganda for a nasty group of people who openly admit to their future plans to commit genocide. Either way, until you look objectively at your
reporting and come clean you and your sponsors won’t see a dime of my money.

Posted by Joe Smith | Report as abusive

The problem for Reuters is that it is not just photoshop and Adnan Hajj. They were the initial spark but the fire is still burning. It’s the overall pattern of multiple discrepancies…
1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.
2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.
3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.
4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.
So we must ask the following questions
1. Are The Reuters editorial staff sympathetic to the aims of Hezbollah, and is using propagandistic images exaggerating Israeli violence to increase world pressure on Israel to stop its attacks, thereby giving Hezbollah a chance to regroup, and claim moral superiority?
2. Are the stringers employed by Reuters sympathetic to Hezbollah, and successfully duped the Reuters editors into publishing propaganda?
3. Are Reuters photographers and editors intimidated by Hezbollah, and publish Hezbollah’s propaganda out of fear for their lives?
Instead of a blog, I wish Reuters would just level with us and tell us the truth.

Posted by Jay Zobie | Report as abusive

I have not seen you address the issue that now seems to have arisen about Mr. Hajj’s “clone”. I had noticed the similarity between the subjects of Mr. Hajj’s pics and those of Mr. Kobeisi. The number of dust free dolls lying atop rubble seemed epidemic. It was strange to see some credits to Hajj and another to Kobeisi for virtually the same picture.

But cloning never occurred to me.

It has occurred to others, however.

What is Reuters’ response?

Posted by Blaise | Report as abusive

In reply to Dennis Dunleavy:
You are really talking about two problems:
1) As to feeling sorry for the photographer. Forget it. If you are a photojournalist you better not manipulate the image in a way that changes the meaning of the photograph. Not only are you misleading your employer, but you are casting a shadow on all other photojournalists.
2) Yes, the agencies are out there with freelancers, some of whom have very little experience. Yes, they pay little. They have found that because of competition they must deliver the product cheaper or face extinction. Not dissimilar to the autoworker who has to compete against autoworkers in Canada with a lower pay package. The freelancer has a choice of accepting the work for the pay and delivering what he has contracted for, or saying “No, thank you”. Do I wish that all photographers could be put on staff and the quality maintained in that way. Damn right. Also, I have yet to find a photo editor that doesn’t wish that he could work with the best all the time. Unfortunately there are few photo editors who set the rules.
This is a self correcting problem. The agencies that don’t set up a system for quality control will not be trusted and will go out of business. I’m sure Reuters will tighten their procedures to prevent this from happening again.

Posted by Bernie Nunez | Report as abusive

I don’t know what is going on at Reuters, but this is quite confusing.

The editor says that “Further, Reuters has withdrawn from its database all photographs taken by the Beirut-based freelancer after establishing that he had altered two images since the start of the conflict between Israel and the Lebanese Hizbollah group.”

However, I just searched the Reuters database at 6:00pm EDT on August 9, 2006 and found a picture by Mr. Hajj- Presentation.aspx?type=photoSearch&image ID=2006-08-05T194926Z_01_NOOTR_RTRIDSP_0 _NEWS-MIDEAST-COL.XML

Is Reuters taking this seriously, becauase it doesn’t appear to be very important to get the facts straight in either photographs or editor’s statements.

Posted by James Hugh | Report as abusive

You have it so easy – not bound by any regulations, do not need to put the time stamps on your photos, can photo-shoppe the pics, next you will get them from Pixar Animation? ‘Cause they are liberals too …

You should be ashamed to call yourself journalist – just a pompous organization that should move the HQ to UN and then move it all to Paris, or Moscow, or wherever the putrid societies can find a place for a stinking organization like yours.

You are telling us that PhotoShopping is O-K? A picture worth a thousand words – maybe like in Lenin’s speaches. Sure

The worst is that you call yourself American! Really? I call you Al-Reuters – and you should not be ashamed to change your name and put a burka on your telephotos on next round of shots. It would serve you well.

Shame on you – not for the cropping that just became obvious, but for alligning with the enemy just to mark some anemic political goals (to make the stupid president look good) – you are not worth A DIME.

Posted by Joe Private | Report as abusive

Oh, just realized you are a British org – never mind, makes sense now … apologies for my post above.

Posted by Joe Private | Report as abusive

Very generic poll of friends and family today resulted in in 11 out of 16 people I asked losing all confidence in Rueters. Many of us have been doubting the truthfulnss of many news agencies stories as of late, but this just proves what we have suspected. To say you stand for free speech and the reporting of truth is simply garbage. You have an agenda and money rules your world. Many people think it’s the government that they need to mistrust when it’s really our news. What a shame.

Posted by Michael S. | Report as abusive

James Hugh posts that on Aug. 9, he retrieved a photograph by Adnan Hajj, the Beirut-based freelance photographer, on, two days after Reuters had withdrawn all of Hajj’s photographs from its database. The photographs are no longer in the database; pulling the pictures from the online archives is a separate technical matter. We’re addressing it and appreciate your patience – editor

Posted by Emily Church | Report as abusive

Reuters needs to educate their photo editors to look for obvious signs of photo manipulation. Both of those photos show repeated patterns that are evidence of the cloning tool in photoshop. I have seen children manipulate photos better. The editors missed on this one and they are partially responsible.

Posted by Anne Vinsel | Report as abusive

[…] Photoshop is a powerful image processing program with many more tools to help photographers produce the best quality image they can for the type of photography they do. There is not a Photoshop program for use by news photographers and another for advertising, where image-changing is tolerated. What we in the news photo community need to regulate is what tools are used for photojournalism and what are not.” Source here. […]


I am Israeli. I live in Haifa. Although the Photoshops and other misrepresentations are serious, I think that other distortions in the major dedia outlets are even more serious. I notice, for instance, that when it comes to Lebanon the British outlets (verbal as well as visual) report primarily on civilians, but concerning Israel they report primarily on soldiers. This is evident bias producing a big lie. The fact is that Israel has been bombarded by rockets non-stop since July 12th, the first day of the conflict. But if you go by British media, these come from nowhere because Lebanon has only civilians. Sheesh.

Posted by Anat | Report as abusive

The war photos being published in the media cannot used as true evidence of what is really happening. Photos are being photoshopped, manipulated and staged: .asp

This is a disgrace and a poor excuse for journalism.

Posted by Lee | Report as abusive

It’s hard to believe that your editors could not recognize such obvious and badly done digital manipulation. Also, as other readers have pointed out, you have not addressed your freelancers’ apparent staging of photos or their complicity in allowing photos to be staged for them.


The fact is that photographers and photo editors can no more be trusted than journalists or fiction authors. It seems character and integrity are as rare now as they ever have been. And the media’s scrutiny on this issue smells of Schadenfreude.

I recall an incident sixty years ago in which famed WPA photographer Author Rothstein picked up a sun-bleached steer’s skull and moved it over a few feet to improve the composition of what became an iconic image of the day. He was villified for it by purists, but he defended himself with the notion that the image existed somewhere, and all he did was make it so by setting it up. Like, it couldda happened, man!

And just as the digital door was swinging open, National Geographic “moved the pyramids” to make them fit better on the cover. It took them years to live it down. But I don’t recall anyone getting axed over it.

I will say that many of the photojournalists I’ve known have been crazy-brave, and I’ve never been sure why. At times it looks like a commitment to delivering the truth, at other times like bald ambition. And I wouldn’t be surprised if at times it’s both.

Posted by John Schultz | Report as abusive

[…] Here are the links to the four articles: Reuters, New York Times, Washington Post and Slate. Registration my be required. […]


some journalists say, those blogs
for example, investigating in the Qana event, are amateur and can not do it like a professional,if so
please show them that you can do better

Posted by raissa | Report as abusive

Odd that those who would ‘keep the bastards honest’ as it were, are infact doing nothing of the sort. You would think i’d be suprised by all this, but depressingly, it ain’t so… Hmmmm… I wonder what the goodwill on Reuters books looks like at the moment… /ponders

Posted by Furball | Report as abusive

[…] The Associated Press runs a summary of the Reuters Photoshop teacup-tempest, re-noting that photog Adnan Hajj blames his bad brushwork on an attempt to remove “dust marks” under “bad lighting conditions.” (Reuters has since embarked on an ass-covering campaign that includes a short discourse on the acceptable uses of Photoshop.) On the AP side of the fence, another photographer’s “careless” use of Photoshop’s cloning tool to compensate for a “dirty sensor” cloned an extra set of hands onto an Alaskan oil pipeline worker. The AP pulled that photo Monday; of course, we’d love a copy if anyone still has it on file. But really, we also love how WRAL’s layout of the AP story comes complete with the graphic at right, where the Reuters logo gets the proprietary credit of “AP Image.” Use of the Reuters logo is forbidden without the express written permission of the Associated Press. […]


As you said, Photoshop is a highly sophisticated image manipulation programme and photojournalists are allowed to use only a tiny part of its potential capability, photojournalists just need a programme to abjust the the tone and colour balance, crop the images and re-size of rename it, Photoshop CS2 is “too much” for that kind of job, I suggest photojournalists try adobe LIGHTROOM, it maybe a more safty tool for the industry as it contains no selection and cloning fuctions.


[…] Reuters is in a mess lately with unacceptable uses of Photoshop in news photography by one of its freelance photographer. As a result, Reuters published a note to talk about news photography and Photoshop. And it decided to withdraw all 920 photos by this photographer and released a formal reply  (two paragraphs are included here). […]


Report the Story.

Democracy counts on a free, objective press to present the truth…Truth and moral clarity are as important than military force in this war the west finds itself in right now. Sadly, our fanatical enemies seem to be able to bend the press at will.

Report the Story.

Posted by Dale Grogan | Report as abusive

Reuters is not the only one publishing manipulated photographs out of the war zone in Lebanon. Another case has come up involving a photograph submitted to the Associate Press which involved dropping text into a banner drapped over ruins in Beirut which says “Made In America.” This was probably a Hezbollah targeted site so the question that must now be asked is how are terrorists groups involved in such propaganda? Are the photographers producing propaganda for the terrorists or are they being threatened in any way to cooperate with terrorists? I would appreciate hearing from anyone who may be able to shed some light upon this issue.


[…] The idea of people being paid to whip up grief hasn’t died around the Mediterranean. We saw this during the recent war between Hezbollah and Israel. We saw the same woman mourning the destruction of two different houses, both of which were supposed to be hers. We saw the same stuffed toy lying in the ruins on more than one place. And some of the minstrels, abandoning their lutes and mandolins, turned to Adobe Photoshop to increase the emotional reaction. Hezbollah reminded us that they could run with the best in terms of whipping up mourning and sadness, which they did to further their cause. As is usually the case in the Middle East, the more things change, the more things stay the same. They had help from that gullible institution, the Western press. No matter how many paid “mourners” are sent in, no matter how many paid protesters march down the street, or any of the other devices people and organisations use to induce emotions, the press is there to uncritically report everything and sometimes join these modern-day minstrels in the show. In doing this they are turning from reporters of the facts to conduits for advocacy. […]


I went through all the posts about this manipulation issue and before I say anything, I have to address Dennis Dunleavy – With all due respect, I find you a little patronising. “In-country freelancers are paid less and must take far more risks than their Western colleagues” “I feel a deep sense of sadness for the freelancer who probably did not even know that he was doing anything wrong in the first place”
Doesn’t matter from which country a freelancer come, we still know right from wrong, yeah?? And can surely take responsibility for ourselves, yeah?? We are not children that need looking after, you know.
I just wanted to get that off my chest.

I am surprised at the the shock and horror, criticism insofar the manipulation goes. And the setting up of photos. Its not as if the farm administration photographers did not set up photos. Or Eugene Smith? Or as if pictures / expressions on faces/ are never chosen to convey the idea of grief or starvation that exists in either the photographer or the editors’ (business that owns the publishing house)head.

It’s not as if objective reporting exists now, is it? The fact that the photographer is present at the scene with his/her own baggage, ideas, beliefs, culture together with the interests of the business who owns the particular publishing house surely makes it rather obvious that its A truth rather than THE truth. I’m just a little surprised at such naivety that leads to statements such as “The Reuters brand means nothing to me now” especially if the writer feels him/herself to be very knowledgeable in all things photographic. Surely you had to question this inherent the-photograph-does-not-lie quality of photography before? If not, you have more to learn. I think the public should be taught to question all images, footage, articles and be encouraged them to think for themselves.


[…] News photography and Photoshop – Reuters Newsblogs Reuters attempts to explain how Photoshop can be properly used to enhance news photography. (tags: photography Reuters Photoshop) […]


[…] What about that story a little while ago about how we (USA) targeted a Iranian house that had children in it, and pictures were used by the major media that were found to be not only posed, but taken from another area entirely, where the bombing was done by the Iranian terriorists not the USA. And ones where they’ve tried to blame killings on Marines that have been PROVEN to be fake. Media Use False Photo to Smear Marines on Haditha [Malkin Hat Tip] | Reuters Caught with Doctored Lebanon Photo, Again | News photography and Photoshop – Reuters Blogs […]


Hi I am a student in Barrie looking to learn a bit about Gary. I. Rothstien for a witten part to a project. So please if Gary could give me his ok I’d love to ask a few questions. Thanks so much.

Posted by Student with a project on Gary. I. Rothstien | Report as abusive

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[…] Hershorn, Gary “News Photography and Photoshop” Reuters […]