The Thin Line of Ethics in Photojournalism

Has the media and everything that society is exposed to made us almost impassive to most news unless it’s, well, shocking and dramatic? We have become so spoiled by technology that society has turned into children holding their hands out expecting everything to be given to them, fast. They have lost their appreciation for the convenience offered today. Ten years ago I was still using dial up and didn’t even dream of one day connecting to the Internet within seconds and with no wires! Wireless, can you believe it? Now, if our phone isn’t loading the map that will direct us to the nearest Apple store, we yell at our devices damning them for the useless things they are. Can nothing hold people’s attentions anymore unless it’s fast, convenient, shocking or dramatic? Has this way of thinking affected the way News outlets present their stories? Yes, yes it has.

When international disaster strikes it is the media’s duty to write, photograph and publish these stories for people to be aware of what’s going on in the world. Writing hundreds of articles will get people to glance and maybe wonder what’s going on, but a picture will get people talking. Pictures don’t need titles or descriptions; if disaster is told through a mother’s eyes while she is holding her deceased child, then that’s it all it needs. No more, no less. Are these shocking and personal moments too sensitive to put on the front page of a paper or magazine? To an extent, they are. It’s the sad truth that the media needs photos like this to raise awareness and possibly raise funds for people who have suffered through natural disasters. There is a point where putting pictures of people missing limbs, bloody and battered on the front page may be too exploiting. I think only what’s necessary should be distributed for the masses to see and other pictures should be taken to record events in history. People who are just learning what’s happening should see just enough to shock them and make them care, but not traumatize them with shots of bloody, dead people. News needs to find this balance of pulling people in with tasteful honest photos and then making them care with the facts.

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