Ex-‘Blade’ Photog Altered Images Back to 2004 — But Not Pulitzer Finalist

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By: Joe Strupp

Allan Detrich, a former photographer for The Blade of Toledo, Ohio who resigned after editors discovered he had altered nearly 80 images since January, apparently doctored several other photos dating back to 2004, editors said.

But the veteran photographer did not change any images that were entered in photo contests during his 18 years at the Blade, including those that won him a Pulitzer Prize finalist nod in 1998.

“We checked anything that was entered in a contest or won a contest and we found nothing,” said Assistant Managing Editor Luann Sharp. “But we did find other alterations going back to 2004. We are not going to go back any further because it serves no purpose. We are not going to reprint anything, sell anything or use any of the images.”

Detrich, who was a Blade employee since 1989, quit on April 7 after admitting he changed a photo of a local college baseball team, but claimed it had been mistakenly submitted for publication. That photo ran March 31.

When it was discovered that Detrich had altered the image, a Blade review of his work found he had submitted 79 altered images since January, with 58 appearing either in the paper or online.

“I have not altered an image since the incident and never plan to again. I have started my new career fresh, and with full transparency,” Detrich said in an e-mail Wednesday. “I have people that have given me a new start, and plan to go nowhere but up from here. The awards I won speak for themselves and so did my images. I should have left it there. My mistake is behind me.”

After the initial review, editors wanted to find out if any previous images had been changed, reviewing all of Detrich’s work from 2004 to 2006, as well as any contest entries. Among those sparking interest was the 1998 Pulitzer finalist entry, which depicted the life of children fleeing sexual abuse in an underground network of families.

Sharp said the contest entries, which included dozens of images, were found to be unaltered. Pulitzer Prize Administrator Sig Gissler, whose office regularly responds to inquiries about potential ethical problems related to Pulitzer submissions, said he was aware of Detrich’s problems at the Blade. But he said no Pulitzer inquiry had been done on his finalist photos because there was no evidence they were altered.

Sharp declined to say how many Detrich images from 2004 to 2006 were found to have been altered. “We did not keep a tally,” she said.


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