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To control our image: photojournalists and new technology

Media, Culture & Society , Volume 13 (3): 381 – Jul 1, 1991


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1991 by SAGE Publications
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To control our image: photojournalists and new technology


To control our image: photojournalists and new technology Karin E. Becker UNIVERSITY OF STOCKHOLM Facing the impact of new electronic and computer technologies, photo- journalists are reconsidering the nature of the photograph as document, the ethical guidelines of their work and their roles and responsibilities within news organizations. An analysis of the National Press Photo- graphers' Association official publication, News Photographer, 1980-8, found that US photojournalists interpret four areas of innovation as challenges to the boundaries of their work: colour photography in the daily press, the digitization of the photographic image, the still video camera and new technologies of image transmission. The magazine's treatment of each innovation is examined, and strategies are then identified that the field uses to reassert its members' sense of control over innovation. These include modifying news photography contests, testing innovations during major news events and using language that asserts photojournalists' power in the news organization and refers to accepted practice and values. Control becomes an ethical issue, needed to preserve photojournalism's status and to safeguard the credibility of the photograph as a document of reality. The new technology has the potential of undermining our faith in photography as a reflection of reality. (Edward
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