As we very well know the First Amendment is what guarantees us the right too freely and publicly speak out without consequence. The Amendment officially states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” for a photojournalist this is important to keep in your thoughts and heart. We should be thankful that the rights protected under the First Amendment allows photojournalists to effectively perform their duties.
As a student studying the world of photojournalism I have a new appreciation for the field. Those who go out to provide visual proof of individual’s stories/natural events and sharing that with the public takes a lot of honest dedication. We rely on photojournalists to show us the truth and for them to do that there are ethical guidelines that must be followed. Since the truth is what’s desired, any form of manipulation is forbidden. Be it physical or digital. Photojournalists aim to show what is real, not hide it. When on the scene for an assignment capturing the authentic moment is what matters.
Although there is the temptation to manipulate an image to “ideal perfection” most photojournalists avoid it. I say “most” because there have been instances when photojournalists have been caught cheating, such as Allan Detrich. Allan worked for the Toledo Blade and was caught having photoshopped several photographs which led to his downfall as a reliable, trustworthy photojournalist. That is why staying faithful to photojournalism conduct is key. Remember Allan? Don’t want to end up like him!
With the First Amendment securing the rights for press freedom, “The right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government,” a photojournalist should still abide by the rules of law and ethics. It is a part of the profession and should be practiced every single time during an assignment. How one interacts with others and captures a photo has a great impact on their credibility. With a career that involves interaction and sensitive situations it can be a challenge, especially with privacy.
There are four privacy torts that should always be avoided; 1: false light 2: intrusion 3: misappropriation and 4: public disclosure of private moments. These four immoral acts are what separate a photojournalist from the paparazzi. One puts respect on a high pedestal while the other completely disregards it. I have confidence that you are aware which is which.
With this new appreciation, I now have a better understanding of how significant a role the First Amendment plays in photojournalism. It allows the spread of information to the public without consequence unlike some other countries, and because of that I am grateful that we as a country have such a generous privilege.