« Vin Crosbie's predictions for online publishing in 2005 | Main | UK: management changes in 2004 »

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Photo editors beware! Fake tsunami photos spreading

Another reminder of the importance of fact checking posted by Matthew Buckland on Poynter's e-media tidbits Immediately after Asia's tsunami disaster, pictures of 2002's annual flooding of the Quintang river in China began to circulate on the internet, being passed off as veritable tsunami pictures. Although the scandal is relatively old news, on January 10, the editor of a major South African daily, The Citizen, surprisingly unaware of this story, decided to publish "exclusive" photos supposedly of the tsunami received by one of its journalists by email. It only took five minutes for a journalist from a rival paper to prove that they were in fact photos from China. In an another article on Poynter, Sree Sreenivasan, Professor at Columbia and a visiting professor at Poynter, criticizes these hoaxes saying, "My mantra: If something is too good to be true (Microsoft giving away stock to you) or too bad to be true (travelers found in tubs of ice with their kidneys stolen), it probably is." Before forwarding any emails, Sreenivasan checks their validity at UrbanLegends.about.com and Snope.com's What's New page, both sites that keep track of breaking news and photos on the internet. The Citizen then published a front page article apologizing for its mistake and saying that an investigation into the matter was underway. Five minutes of fact checking may well be worth saving the embarrassment.

Source: Poynter's e-media tidbits. See also cyberjournalist.net

Posted by john burke on January 12, 2005 at 12:01 PM in g. Photojournalism, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Photo editors beware! Fake tsunami photos spreading:


i am sorry about the problem i sent as much money as i could and i love all who lived and died and this is my coment

Posted by: courtney at Jan 17, 2005 11:08:29 PM