‘Blade’ Probe Finds Photog Altered 79 Pictures

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By: Joe Strupp

Photographer Allan Detrich, who resigned from The Blade of Toledo earlier this month after admitting he had altered a photo that appeared in the paper, had submitted at least 79 photos for publication since the beginning of the year that were digitally altered, with 58 of those either appearing in the paper or on the Blade Web site.

In a ?report to readers? Sunday, Blade Editor Ron Royhab revealed the findings of a review that began after it was discovered that a Detrich photo published March 31 had been altered. Detrich resigned April 7 after admitting the change to a photo of the Bluffton University baseball team, but claimed it had been mistakenly submitted for publication.

Royhab?s report Sunday said that the paper had
reviewed all of Detrich?s photos since the beginning of 2007, some 947 images. The review found that Detrich had submitted 79 such altered images, with 27 of those appearing in the paper and online. Additionally, 31 doctored photos appeared only on the Blade Web site.

?The changes Mr. Detrich made included erasing people, tree limbs, utility poles, electrical wires, electrical outlets, and other background elements from photographs. In other cases, he added elements such as tree branches and shrubbery,? Royhab explained. ?Mr. Detrich also submitted two sports photographs in which items were inserted. In one he added a hockey puck and in the other he added a basketball, each hanging in mid-air. Neither was published.?

The Blade also posted three examples on its Web site Sunday of how Detrich altered photos, including the original version of the Bluffton image. Those can be found at http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/pdf/TO16827415.PDF.

?Readers have asked us why this was such a big deal. What’s wrong with changing the content of a photograph that is published in a newspaper? The answer is simple: It is dishonest,? Royhab wrote. ?Journalism, whether by using words or pictures, must be an accurate representation of the truth.?

Detrich could not be reached immediately for comment by E&P Sunday. In an e-mail sent Sunday to The Associated Press, Detrich declined to comment on The Blade’s findings.

On Thursday, when the Blade revealed that it had found more examples of his doctored images and planned to offer specific examples today, E&P sought his reaction. In an e-mail, he said simply, ?I am no longer employed by the Blade and have no comment, as I start my private life and business.?

Royhab wrote today that the Blade had discovered the first alteration after being contacted by Donald R. Winslow, editor of News Photographer, which is published by the National Press Photographers Association. ?Mr. Winslow said that on April 2, photographers from the Dayton Daily News were comparing how various Ohio newspapers covered the Bluffton baseball game,? Royhab wrote. ?Each paper had its own similar Bluffton picture. But The Blade’s picture was the only one with the mysterious blue-jean clad legs missing.?


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