True or false?

December 23, 2010

If it is written in a newspaper, is it true or false?

One of the most interesting parts of our job as a photo-reporter is one of the basic principles of journalism – that is telling the TRUE and REAL STORY to newspaper readers and online viewers who were not there but want to know the real story behind the headlines.

But journalism is changing. Long gone are the days when people said “It must be true, the newspaper says so.” Especially in Italy, it looks like some reporters do not tell the whole truth. They do not look for the truth nor do they investigate to try to arrive at the truth. They look for little or wrong clues. They use it to prove their story; a biased truth. Do they do this to confuse the readers and to contribute to warped thoughts? Are the journalists simply not capable of good reporting?

I’m irritated when these types of journalists use our pictures to prove their false version of reality.

This happened with the story of recent violent clashes in Rome. Printed December 16, the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” edited this article using the picture below and writing the following caption.


The symbolic picture. A moment from the clashes; with the Guardia di Finanza officer (L) holding a gun and two protesters who stole his handcuffs and the transreceiver (bottom). It looks normal and true… many readers will believe it. But it is not reality.

The protester with the beige jacket and handcuffs is an official version by the Police, who maintain he is a minor belonging to extreme left-wing movement. We do not have any proof to deny this version. But we can deny the version of the newspaper about the man with the blue jacket who holds the transreceiver. To prove this we can see the following sequence:


In this photo we can see a group of Guardia di Finanza officers running to go help their colleague. The man on the right looks a policeman and he holds a transreceiver in his right hand. We can see it better in the next photo.



In these pictures we can see the same man as he arrives and fights with protesters trying to help the policeman who holds the gun. The situation is very dangerous and he jumps against the protester in an attempt to stop them stealing the gun.



During the fight the man in blue fell but continued to hold the transreceiver in his right hand. The policeman on the right did not recognize him as a policeman and beat him.



But he continued to hold the transreceiver in his right hand until he succeeded in standing up and leaving (last picture).



In Italy we see this type of journalism in many cases, especially on the television. The satellite channels transmit their news 24 hours a day and they don’t have time to verify the news.

I hope journalism will change direction and come back to have only good reporters capable of good reporting.


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Wait, so if I understand correctly, the newspaper made the same mistake that the policeman who beat the guy with the transceiver: they thought he was a protester, not a policeman. If a policeman makes the mistake, isn’t it comprehensible the newspaper did the same? I mean, when I see a policeman beating a guy, I too immediately think that the guy is not a policeman – the idea of a policeman beating his colleague doesn’t immediately jump to my head.

What did the caption of the photo said anyway? Did it correctly identify the transceiver guy as a policeman? If it’s the case and the newspaper ignored the caption on purpose, they I agree with you, they twisted the truth. So please post the original caption, can you?


Posted by Photoluc | Report as abusive

Hard to be objective if you are not on the site. You have all the secuence to determinate so, I would like to know how was the original caption of that pic. Any way good job showing them on context.

Posted by granjapix | Report as abusive