When We’re Asked To Remove A Photo, Here’s What We Do
Occasionally, someone in a photo we have posted asks that we remove the image from our website.
Any such request must be redirected to:
– Kainaz Amaria or another editor from the Visuals team.
– Chuck and/or Gerry Holmes, the deputy managing editors.
In most cases, the correspondent producer or staff photographer who took the image will already be aware of the request, as will the editor who handed the report. If not, they will be drawn into the discussion by Kainaz, Chuck and/or Gerry.
Others who will be brought in:
– Digital ME Scott Montgomery.
– Standards & Practices editor Mark Memmott.
The executive editor, VP for News and SVP for News will be looped in too.
The issue of whether to remove an image is a serious matter. As we’ve said before when discussing requests to take down stories, we agree with the AP that:
“We are guided by a newsroom policy that says it is inappropriate to remove content from our Website. If a report is inaccurate, we will correct it and state why it has been altered. If relevant new information emerges, we will update or do a follow-up story.
“But our content is a matter of public record and is part of our contract with our audience. To simply remove it from the archive diminishes transparency and trust and, in effect, erases history. This is not a practice engaged in by credible news organizations or in line with ethical journalism.”
A key question that will be asked when such requests come in: What was the person told about how the photo or photos would be used?
It is important that people know we’re not doing stories that only go on the air. We spend time making sure they understand that the stories live on our website and that the photos we take will be there as well. And as we’ve said before:
“Kainaz Amaria from NPR’s visuals team says she has found ‘that the more transparent I am about my intentions with people in my story, the more they are willing to share their time and moments. It may sound counterintuitive, but in fact it’s been proven to me every time I step out of the office and into someone’s life. If people trust you, trust you are there to listen and learn, you’ll be surprised at the access they will offer you. … If people say, ‘Wait you are radio, why do you want my picture?’ I usually say something like, ‘Well, many of our stories go online to reach a wider audience and to get more eyeballs. Chances are if they see you, then they will connect with your story.’ ”
Kainaz and the Visuals team have considerable experience dealing with this issue. If a request comes in, they should take the lead. In most cases, it should be someone from Visuals who gets back to the person who wants a photo removed.
(Memmos; June 15, 2015)
June 15, 2015