‘LA Times’ Fires Photographer for Altering Photo

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(AP) The Los Angeles Times said Wednesday it fired a photographer for altering a front-page photo of a British soldier and a group of Iraqi civilians.

In an editor’s note in Wednesday editions, the Times said photographer Brian Walski acknowledged in a phone call from Iraq that he had used a computer to combine elements of two photos to improve the composition.

Journalism ethics forbid changing the content of news photographs, and it is specifically barred in the newspaper’s policy.

The two photos, taken moments apart, showed a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians to protect themselves from possible Iraqi fire on the outskirts of Basra. Only after the altered photo appeared Monday did editors notice that some civilians in the background appeared twice, the Times said.

Messages left early Wednesday for two Times representatives were not immediately returned.

All three photos — the two originals and the altered photo — were published by the Times on Wednesday.

Walski had been with the Times since 1998.

The editor’s note and photographs may be viewed at http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/showcase/la-ednote_blurb.blurb.

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