Thursday, October 25, 2012

Newspapers shape our view of the world

When I worked in the media there were things that one simply did not do. If you did, you risked a reprimand or worse.

I can recall being assigned to illustrate a story on prostitution and the desk actually arranged a meeting with a real streetwalker. I met the lady on Dundas Street at Rectory at dusk and shot pictures of her from some distance using a long lens.

The resulting pictures showed the silhouette of a heavy lady in too short a skirt standing alone on a dark street waving to passing vehicles. We didn't want to make her identity too clear. She wasn't concerned. Her friends and family knew she earned her money hooking, still using some discretion seemed wise.

I never liked faking pictures. Fake a shot and you simply reinforce the standard, hackneyed take on a story. For a case in point, look at these two screen grabs. Today The London Free Press may illustrate a news story using a royalty free stock image. This one is from Fotolia.

I understand Fotolia is a fine company and a good source of stock images. Yet, are images like this one what should be illustrating our newspapers and shaping our view of the world?

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