Ethical and Legal Concerns in a Digital World

AP and a Problematic Photograph

Posted in ethical issues by digitalprof on January 14, 2006

Verification? Aw, c’mon Associated Press

In what may be the latest case of digital manipulation of a photograph passing itself off as a news image has recently made national, and international publication through one of the largest news agencies in the world.

Associated Press has that dubious distinction with “Cyclops Cat.”

The supposed single-vision feline, nicknamed Cy, reportedly came into the world on Dec. 28, according to owner Traci Allen, an Oregon woman who supplied the photograph to AP.

As The (Bend, Oregon) Bulletin photo editor Dean Gurnsey said,

“It was not an AP photographer and I also have not been able to find her name in the phone book. You can do anything in Photoshop these days and it did not come from anyone whose name I recognized.”

Tom Stathis, AP regional photo editor, said,

“someone from the AP Portland office could have traveled to Allen’s home in Redmond to see the kitten, which she contends she has kept in her freezer. But he said that idea was dismissed because the woman’s home is about a four-hour drive from Portland. “We had a lot of other things on our plate.”

Excuse me? Had a lot of other things on our plate??? Pay attention Tom…AP should never use that excuse. The problem is really that you should have spent some time reading a document that AP has been working on for quite some time…and recently made public. It is seductively titled: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS STATEMENT OF NEWS VALUES AND PRINCIPLES.

C’mon Tom…spend some of your time keeping-up with company policy. Afterall, it’s AP’s reputation…something that is valuable enough to clear your plate for.


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