The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., was put on the griddle by readers after publishing a Photoshopped image of a Democratic lawmaker that it did not identify as being altered. Reports News 14 Carolina:
The News and Observer ran a photo illustration of embattled North Carolina Speaker of the House Jim Black wearing an apron from the International House of Pancakes in its Thursday and Friday editions.
The N&O modified the picture of Black to add the apron and published it on two consecutive days in two different sections without labeling it as an altered illustration. The paper admitted it should have been labeled as a photo illustration in its corrections section Friday.
The added IHOP apron — intended as a parody — was a reference to a state polito’s claim that he was offered a $50,000 bribe at the restaurant to change parties and keep Black as house speaker.
Blogger Andy Bechtel blames the journalistic lapse on the fact that the picture appeared in a promo section:
The News & Observer gives a significant chunk of page 2A to promote stories that will be published in the coming days. Most of the time, these promos run in the bottom right quarter of the page. In the Saturday paper, they rise to the top as “Coming Sunday” items. Either way, the space for the promos comes from news hole, and the newsroom is responsible for them — even though they look and read like advertising. Like stories, these promos have to be carefully edited and designed, but that doesn’t always happen. They’re an afterthought in the newsroom. After all, real stories for tomorrow’s paper need writing, editing and designing. That’s why the 2A promos are nothing but trouble.
Bechtel’s solution? “Let the marketing department handle these ‘coming soon’ promos, and let the journalists get the next day’s paper out.”
[tags]Photoshop, scott baradell[/tags]