‘Charlotte Observer’ Photographer Fired for Doctoring Picture

By: E&P Staff

Editor Rick Thames personally apologized to readers today in an editorial in his paper, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, for an Observer photographer?s breach of accuracy standards.

Thames cited the work of photographer Patrick Schneider as having been ?inappropriately altered before it was published? in the paper?s Thursday editions. Schenider?s photograph had depicted a local firefighter at work against the backdrop of the morning sun. Thames noted that the original photo had a brownish-gray sky, while the newly enhanced photograph had a deep red sky with a haloed sun.

Schneider claims that the photo editing was not done with the intent to mislead readers, but rather to correct the underexposed photograph. His actions, however, violate The Observer?s photo policy, which states: ?No colors will be altered from the original scene photographed.?

This is not the first time that Schneider ran into trouble with The Observer?s photo policy. In 2003, he was reprimanded and suspended for three days without pay after editing the intensity of color and contrast in several photographs.

?Accuracy is among our most sacred journalistic values,? Thames wrote in the editorial. ?That goes for the photographs, as well as the words, that we publish.?

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