Citizen Media Watch

december 13th, 2006

Possible new industry standard provides ability to track changes in photographs

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Tom Glocer, Chief Executive officer of Reuters, disclosed in a speech at the Globes Media Conference in Tel Aviv on Monday 11 December 2006:

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.

This is of course in response to the debate following the Adnan Hajj photo controversy – photos that Reuters sent out, covering the Israel-Lebanon conflict, turned out to be digitally manipulated, adding more smoke than there originally was in the photograph. Hajj later got fired and Reuters removed all of his photos from their database.
Glocer’s speech, transcribed in his blog, was about trust in the age of two-way communicative journalism.
From the Hajj case, Reuters learnt how quickly you can lose trust that has been built up for 155 years. And he draws the conclusion that exactly because of that, independent organisations such as Reuters have an important role to play in the future media landscape. Organisations that work by a code of ethics.

The risk we as an industry face is that amid all the noise, all the amateur pictures and editorial, the victim could be the truth and fact-based journalism.

Further down, he continues:

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.

(via New Media Musings)


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