Visual ethics – Part 2

It’s not only still photos falling under suspicion this week, but video as well.  An Associated Press story outlines concerns about tornado footage that may have been altered.  At issue is video sold to the AP by a freelancer who says it depicts a recent tornado in Nebraska.  However, another news photographer contacted the AP to suggest it was actually video taken during a storm in Kansas four years ago.

The AP had sent [the] video Sunday to nearly 2,000 Web sites that subscribe to the company’s Online Video Network, and more than 60 large digital customers that buy AP’s online content individually. Upon seeing the evidence, the AP eliminated the video from OVN and contacted its other customers to urge them not to use it, said Kevin Roach, the AP’s acting head of domestic broadcast news operations.

“We never want to mislead people,” Roach said. “Based on evidence provided to us, we believe that the video was not authentic.”

Roach said the AP looked at the two video streams side-by-side, and examined individual frames of the footage in making its determination. He also asked for opinions from a photo editor and third storm chaser, Roach said.

“It was rather definitive for us,” he said.


Visual ethics – Part 1

Newspapers and Web sites around the country recently made a serious mistake.  They ran an altered photograph of an Iranian missile launch.  According to the Photo District News Web site:

“The problematic image was distributed by Agence France Presse, which said it obtained the photo from Sepah News, the house organ of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Video footage shot from the same angle and a second photo that is nearly identical show just three missiles, not four. AFP issued a correction Thursday saying, “The 2nd Right missile has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test.”

News organizations forced to make corrections include the Los Angeles Times, Boston Gobe and the Chicago Tribune.

It was the blog Little Green Footballs that’s getting the credit for cacthing the deception.  Many photo editors intervied for the article feel they should have caught the manipulation before publication.  Others believe they should have done a better job of sourcing the photos since some did not indicate that the picture came directly from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Web news tools

You know about Twitter.  You’re already LinkedIn.  But do you “Summize?”  Tom Cheredar of thinks you should.   Summize–a search engine that collects Twitter updates–is tops on his list of “silly Web applications” that belong in a journalist’s tool box.

He also recommends:, which combines video with Google Maps.

FriendFeed for Smart Phones, to keep reporters who are out of the office in the loop.

and, another Twitter-based service, that creates a directory of people by profession, ranked by number of “followers.”

Let us know if you’re using these, and if you have more to add to the list.