TwitterFacebook

Reuters CEO on Adnan Hajj Scandal

• Views: 1,796

As I’ve written before, I give Reuters credit for reacting quickly when the Adnan Hajj scandal broke. Reuters CEO Tom Glocer has posted a speech he gave recently about the incident, and it isn’t bad for the most part, although I obviously don’t agree with him that there’s no systemic bias at Reuters: Trust in the Age of Citizen Journalism. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

We conducted a review which concluded this was a case of an individual photographer, ignoring Reuters rules, and embellishing two photographs for aesthetic, not political, reasons. [It just happened by pure coincidence that Adnan Hajj’s aesthetic sense led him to create images that exaggerated the damage of Israel’s attacks. Right. —ed.]

In addition to the disciplinary action I described earlier, we wanted to get the message out to our entire staff. So we updated and reissued our guidelines for all editorial staff, including a new way of captioning photographs. If for example a photo is taken while on a tour organized by Hezbollah we will now make this 100% clear in the caption. [That’s an improvement - and also an admission that they’ve published photos from Hizballah propaganda sessions without identifying them as such. —ed.] We want to let our users know the full context and make up their own minds.

This helps address the issue of photo ops staged by combatants, but we still needed to address the issue of digital manipulation, so we reiterated our strict rules banning the use of Photo-Shop to do anything you could not legitimately do in the darkroom, and we ensured that every photographer, staffer or freelancer, signed up to these rules. If you didn’t sign, you didn’t work.

But getting photographers to sign up to an enhanced code went some of the way but not all of the way. As a geek myself, I searched for a technical solution that would prevent digital manipulation.

I am pleased to announce today that we are working with Adobe and Canon to create a solution that enables photo editors to view an audit trail of changes to a digital image, which is permanently embedded in the photograph, ensuring the accuracy of the image.

We are still working through the details and hope this will be a new standard for Reuters and I believe should be the new industry standard.

Notice how Glocer says they discovered only two photographs that were altered. Yet they immediately removed Adnan Hajj’s entire category and never talked about it again. Were there other altered photographs in there? We’ll apparently never know; the evidence has been “disappeared,” and Reuters seems to have no intention of discussing it.

The idea of an audit trail is a good one, but color me very skeptical that any technical solution will ever be able to prevent photo fraud entirely. If this is supposed to work with EXIF metadata, there are already many programs that let you play around with EXIF tags to your heart’s content. And if the intent is to create some new standard of embedded metadata that’s harder to alter, good luck getting that approved by all the industry players before, oh, 2010 or so.

If it’s supposed to be some kind of advanced AI routine that analyzes picture data to detect fauxtography, I can only laugh.

Then the CEO of Reuters gets bloggy with it and gives me a hat tip.

So what does the Hajj incident tell us? There are three key lessons:

The first is accountability. The upside of the flourishing blogosphere is that beyond our own strict editorial standards, there is a new check and balance. I take my hat off to Charles Johnson, the editor of Little Green Footballs. Without his website, the Hajj photo may well have gone unnoticed.

The blogosphere provides accountability. They’re not always going to be right. Indeed, many of the accusations levelled at traditional media are partisan in nature – but some are not. We have to listen to the bloggers – we shouldn’t ignore them.

The second lesson is about the trust of our audience. We learned at Reuters that the action of one man – a man who wasn’t even a full-time staff member – could seriously hurt the trust in our news, built assiduously over 155 years. His stupid decision to clone smoke cost us.

We learned that your reputation is only as good as the last photograph you transmit, or the last story you file.

The final lesson we learned was this – more than ever the world needs a media company free from bias, independent, telling it as it really is, without the filter of national or political interest.

If you searched across the Web during the Lebanon conflict you saw many entrenched and extreme views – on either side. There were thousands of voices opining on the war from their own particular standpoint. This cacophony of voices is exciting and it does for the first time give a true flavor of all views. It is also provides a marketplace for ideas.

But I strongly believe that in the mixing of different voices we will always need a place for the news organization whose watchword is trust. Trust will be the differentiator in the new media dynamic. Your independence and impartiality will mark you out.

Telling the story truthfully is more important than ever. Reporting it without spin and without editorializing is critical if history is to accurately record events.

Thanks to Mr. Glocer for the nice words. Now what about this? Reuters: David Duke a ‘US Academic’.

UPDATE at 12/14/06 5:32:41 pm:

A freelance photographer emailed to say that Glocer may be referring to new cameras coming on the market from Nikon and Canon, with options for verifiable images. We shall see.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Randall Gross
Thanksgiving Travel: Snow, Ice, Wind Could Cause Trouble From Northeast to Georgia - NBC News.com
Please take this into account if you plan to travel for the holidays. NBC Travel trouble is brewing for Thanksgiving. In something of a replay of last week's spring-to-winter cold plunge, traffic-snarling snow and ice are in the forecast from ...

15 hours, 7 minutes ago
Views: 112 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 0
The Vicious Fergushka
The Scientific Explanation of Why People Kill Each Other Over TVs on Black Friday
More: The Scientific Explanation of Why People Kill Each Other Over TVs on Black Friday What causes people to kick, shove and even stab each other on Black Friday? Each year there are reports of violence during the Black Friday ...

1 day, 8 hours ago
Views: 287 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 6 • Rating: 1
Skip Intro
Anti-Gay Hate Preacher Accidentally Tweets 4,000 Followers Cartoon Clip of Him ‘Confessing’ to Be a ‘Homosexual Sodomite’
Adam Reakes Promotes Truth That Starbucks Markets Semen Laced Lattes http://t.co/RY06dEEb0I— James David Manning (@DrJamesDManning) November 20, 2014

1 day, 10 hours ago
Views: 428 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Lumberhead
One Man Should Not Dictate Immigration Policy
Well played. You know, the more I mull over the Republican complaint about how immigration reform is being implemented, the more I sympathize with them. Public policy, especially on big, hot button issues like immigration shouldn't be made by one ...

2 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 327 • Comments: 6
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 7
teleskiguy
“Chelsea Hotel” performed by Tal Wilkenfeld
I first saw Austrailian bass player Tal Wilkenfeld play with Jeff Beck (not live, mind you. On YouTube) and was amazed at her skills and chops. She was only 20 when she scored that gig. She's coming into her own ...

4 days, 1 hour ago
Views: 217 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
FemNaziBitch
History of Laws Concerning Immigration and Naturalization in the United States -WIKI
The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.[1] Pursuant to this power, Congress ...

4 days, 9 hours ago
Views: 329 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 2
MichaelJ
COMFORTABLY NUMB - Peahi Nov 12 on Vimeo
Channel angle of the Nov 12th swell at Peahi.

1 week ago
Views: 491 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 2
Romantic Heretic
Money Makes Us Less Rational
Here's an interesting article on scientific studies that demonstrate how rationality and empathy break down is the presence of large amounts of money.

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 696 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
 Frank says:

All year long you people manufactured this crap, and one night a year you've got to listen to it! -- Frank introducing "psychedelic music" to the audience of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science dinner in New York (1968) at which the Mothers were invited to play