"Modernized" Photojournalism Code Of Ethics

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by ._._z, Jul 11, 2004.


    NPPA Board Adopts New "Modernized" Code Of Ethics

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL (July 10, 2004) The Board of Directors of the National
    Press Photographers Association, Inc., today unanimously adopted an updated
    Code of Ethics for the organization and its members during the final day of
    their meeting at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg,
    FL. The new Code of Ethics came before the Board as a resolution requiring
    a vote, which was unanimous.

    John Long, of The Hartford Courant, chair of the Ethics and Standards
    Committee for the NPPA, requested during the Board meeting last year in
    Chicago their approval to expand the committee in order to modernize and
    revamp the Code of Ethics "from the ground up."

    "We need committee members who represent professional ethics and all aspects
    of photojournalism that exist now that didn't exist in 1946 (when NPPA was
    founded), such as editing and television," Long told the Board in 2003. "The
    committee's goal is to craft a Code of Ethics that is applicable to everyone
    and is inclusive of all aspects of photojournalism." Appointed to the committee
    at Long's request were Deni Elliot, Paul (Lester) Elliot, Sean D. Elliot of The Day,
    and J. Ross Baughman of The Washington Times. Al Tompkins and Ken Irby of
    Poynter advised the committee.

    Here is the NPPA's new Code of Ethics:


    The National Press Photographers Association, a professional society that
    promotes the highest standards in photojournalism, acknowledges concern for
    every person's need both to be fully informed about public events and to be
    recognized as part of the world in which we live.

    Photojournalists operate as trustees of the public. Our primary role is to
    report visually on the significant events and varied viewpoints in our
    common world. Our primary goal is the faithful and comprehensive depiction
    of the subject at hand. As photojournalists, we have the responsibility to
    document society and to preserve its history through images.

    Photographic and video images can reveal great truths, expose wrongdoing and
    neglect, inspire hope and understanding and connect people around the globe
    through the language of visual understanding. Photographs can also cause
    great harm if they are callously intrusive or are manipulated.

    This code is intended to promote the highest quality in all forms of
    photojournalism and to strengthen public confidence in the profession. It is
    also meant to serve as an educational tool both for those who practice and
    for those who appreciate photojournalism. To that end, The National Press
    Photographers Association sets forth the following Code of Ethics:

    Code of Ethics

    Photojournalists and those who manage visual news productions are
    accountable for upholding the following standards:

    1) Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.

    2) Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.

    3) Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording
    subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to
    avoid presenting one's own biases in the work.

    4) Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration
    to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy.
    Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding
    and justifiable need to see.

    5) While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter,
    or seek to alter or influence events.

    6) Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images'
    content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any
    way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.

    7) Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information
    or participation.

    8) Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek
    to influence coverage.

    9) Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

    Ideally, photojournalists should:

    1) Strive to ensure that the public's business is conducted in public.
    Defend the rights of access for all journalists.

    2) Think proactively, as a student of psychology, sociology, politics and
    art to develop a unique vision and presentation. Work with a voracious
    appetite for current events and contemporary visual media.

    3) Strive for total and unrestricted access to subjects, recommend
    alternatives to shallow or rushed opportunities, seek a diversity of
    viewpoints, and work to show unpopular or unnoticed points of view.

    4) Avoid political, civic and business involvements or other employment
    that compromise or give the appearance of compromising one's own
    journalistic independence.

    5) Strive to be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with subjects.

    6) Respect the integrity of the photographic moment.

    7) Strive by example and influence to maintain the spirit and high
    standards expressed in this code. When confronted with situations in which
    the proper action is not clear, seek the counsel of those who exhibit the
    highest standards of the profession. Photojournalists should continuously
    study their craft and the ethics that guide it.

    (c) 2004 The National Press Photographers Association, Inc.

    3200 Croasdaile Drive, Suite 306, Durham, NC, 27705


  2. It looks quite straight forward and reasonable, but I think a photojournalist might have some trouble not occasionaly. Specifically 7 where sometimes a release may be necessary, why should reasonable and non-discriminatory compensation be given to subjects.

    If someone could post the old code it might be useful to compare and contrast against this one.
  3. Those standards may be a little more difficult for television news media, but they are all common practice at the print publication where I work. We even had to sign a statement saying we would seek permission from the company before we sought any supplementary income--even jobs that had nothing to do with writing or photographing or news. Thinking of moonlighting as a dishwasher? Working weekends in the local mom and pop hardware store? Considering an internet business? First, we've got to ask the company for their blessing. While it seems like an invasion of my private time, I understand the reasoning behind it. It's all about ethics and making sure that we never, ever give the appearance of impropriety.

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