Ethical Considerations Scenarios:
Read the following scenarios and answer the following questions as both a photographer and photo editor. Post the answers in the blog section.
Photographer: You are working with a reporter on a story about a coach who holds some national records for weightlifting. You still need a shot of him working out, so you arrange to meet him at the gym and take pictures of him lifting weights just as he normally does. Make an argument for running your photo.
Photo editor: Do you run this set-up photo? Why or why not?
Yes, I’ll take a picture of it, because an interview would need a picture.
Photographer: A baby left in a locked car died from the heat. You heard about it on a police scanner and were able to get a picture of the policeman taking the baby out of the car.
Photo editor: Do you run this as a warning to other parents? Why or why not?
Yes, I would run it as a warning, just so other parents wouldn’t do the same thing those parents did.
Photographer: A fire escape collapses during a fire, plunging a woman to her death. A child who also falls miraculously survived. You get a picture of them in mid-air, just as the fire escape gives way. The photo is a potential Pulitzer Prize winner.
Photo editor: Do you run this photo of a woman falling to her death? Why or why not?
I would probably not run the photo. I wouldn’t run it because I would kind of feel bad, looking at the photo.
Photographer: A woman takes off her clothes in protest of being denied entrance to a building. You get a picture of her protest.
Photo editor: Do you run this photo of a nude woman? Why or why not?
No I would not, because that’s sort of gross. I think I’d leave that job for another photographer.
Photographer: During a news conference, an important political figure makes an obscene gesture at some hecklers in the crowd. You take the picture and turn it into your editor.
Photo editor: This is definitely newsworthy but potentially offensive. Do you run it? Why or why not?
Yeah, I’d run it because it’s something the political figure did, and I think people have the right to know what he did.
Photographer: A man notifies the press that a newsworthy event will be taking place at a certain time and location. He makes a statement protesting a government action, then douses himself with gasoline and lights a match. You get some dramatic pictures of the event, potential prize winners.
Photo editor: Should you run the picture because it’s newsworthy or deny the protester the publicity he was seeking? Explain your decision.
I would run the picture as newsworthy, because even though it was publicity he was seeking, it would make good news.
Photographer: You photograph a family grieving over their son who drowned in a local canal. You capture them at the moment the authorities unzip the body bag for them to make identification of him.
Photo editor: Do you run this to urge other families to be cautious or respect the privacy of their grief?
I probably would not run the photo; I would respect their privacy, because it seems like the right thing to do.
Photographer: You photograph two students exchanging money and a bag of something. You realize this would be a great photo to go with a story your staff is doing on drugs on campus.
Photo editor: Do you run this? Why or why not?
I would not run the photo, because that would just be assuming thing. I would have no clue what they were exchanging, so I wouldn’t assume things.