The Ethics Committee has had a busy year. With the addition of Steve Raymer and Peter Southwick we now have an actual committee. Both Steve and Peter bring years of experience as exceptional photographers and as two of the best professors of photojournalism in the country today. The Ethics Committee is now a conversation instead of a monologue.
This has already proved to be a good thing for NPPA. We had a lengthy discussion concerning the White House photo issues around the Osama bin Laden killing and we were able to create a collaborative column on the ethical problems raised by the shooting, even though we had diverse opinions on the subject.
Under the leadership of Don Winslow NPPA was the leader in the discussions of the White House problems. The committee provided the long-term columns and Don provided the daily writings that were universally recognized as the best reports on the issues anywhere.
A deep commitment to ethics is one of the hallmarks of NPPA. In my view it sets us apart from any other photo oriented organization and almost all other journalism organizations. Bringing an ethical perspective to the issues faced in journalism today gives NPPA a great value and makes us exceptional.
As chair, I continued to field questions from students and newspaper photo departments. I usually do a half a dozen or more each semester, usually near the end of the semester when term papers are due. Individual photographers also sought input on ethical problems they were facing. I wrote about a half a dozen or more columns for News Photographer Magazine. Steve and Peter and I collaborated on another column near the end of the year on the process of ethical decision-making.
Our plan for the next year is to improve the Ethics presence on the NPPA web site. We now have an independent ethics site on the NPPA web and much easier access to our Code of Ethics. The committee is now in the process of creating an ethics blog. We have found that the committee has spirited discussions when issues arise but nowhere to post our conversations so we are building a blog, “Ethics Matters,” for this purpose. We will also post a number of columns from the News Photographer archives written by members of the committee and others.
The three members of the committee are also planning a session for the Northern Short Course in March. Our hope is to provide a methodology that will help shooters make ethical decisions.
Submitted by John Long, Ethics Committee Chair