Is this mainstream news medium losing too many good people?

I couldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. The Los Angeles Times actually ran a photograph on its A-1 cover from a dubious source.

And I thought only Malaysian newspapers were capable of such questionable standards in judgement.. So it appears newspapers in this country are not incapable of horrible news judgement either.

I’m sure I’m wasn’t the only person who noticed the use of a picture of a missile test launch which was attributed to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The day the picture ran, July 9, I asked now what would possess the LA Times to use such a picture? It’s not that readers can’t visualize what a missile being launched looks like. Were they so hard up for “art”, a term used in newsroom circles of graphics and photographs?

The strange thing is that Agence France-Presse (AFP) is credited to be the source of the photograph, yet the Times credits the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. So which is it?

If the Times really knew the originator or the source, why did they use the picture? Didn’t they realize they were setting themselves up?

I wonder who the editor was that made that decision. More telling would be if that editor survived the LA Times’ most recent round of blood letting.

The original picture

The altered picture as it appeared on A-1 of the Los Angeles Times

Most readers might be wondering what the big deal is. It’s really a credibility issue as discussed by this story in Photo District News. and the New York Times.

2 thoughts on “Is this mainstream news medium losing too many good people?”

  1. Rigo,
    The Times management might blame a AFP or some editor for their mistakes. But in the end, there should have been some policy in place about their sources.

    I just can’t believe that something as obvious as this needs to stated in a “official policy” by high level editors. It’s really a no-brainer.

    Used to be, newspapers wouldn’t run a story if a source declined to be named. Not anymore.

    It’s probably a combination of sloppiness and low caliber personnel.

    The other explanation? Those experienced editors with commonsense have all been persuaded to “leave” because they cost too much to be on staff.

    Generally speaking that does not bode well for journalism.

  2. I didn’t give much thought to the mistake of the L.A. Times running this photo at first. I simply thought the photographer was to blame. After reading your post, it made sense. I might question the authenticity of any photo from non reputable sources, however, some bad photos are getting into the hands of the reputable wire services as well.

    It just seems odd that the L.A. Times has been caught twice using doctored photos in the same subject. I wonder if there is an agenda? It could simply be a human mistake, but time shall tell.

    Good post Peter!
    Best wishes, Rigo

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