DURHAM, NC (March 10, 2014) – Sean D. Elliot has been appointed to be the chair of the National Press Photographers Association's Ethics & Standards Committee, NPPA president Mark Dolan announced today.
Elliot replaces NPPA's long-standing voice of ethics John Long, who announced his retirement from the committee.
Elliot, an NPPA past president, is the chief photojournalist and assignment editor for The Day in New London, CT. He has served as the official liaison from the board of directors to the Ethics committee, and he's play an active role in NPPA's ethical policies and responses. Elliot graduated from the Boston University College of Communications with a degree in journalism and after internships in Lima, OH, and Bridgeport, CT., he came to The Day in 1993 as a digital technician. He was hired as a staff photographer in 1994 and became chief photojournalist in 2002.
In accepting Long's resignation, NPPA president Dolan said, "Losing John is a big, big loss for NPPA and for photojournalism, but he certainly deserves to take a step back because he's been giving of himself for so very long. John recommended that Sean follow him, and I was excited and happy to see that Sean agreed to fill this role. He's been involved with NPPA and ethics for many years, and I think he's an excellent person to follow and fill John's big shoes."
Ethics is a very important issue for the organization, Dolan reminded NPPA's members today. "Ethics is one of the keystones of NPPA, and it's important to the future of our profession, so the committee is significant not just to NPPA but to the photojournalism world at large. Ethics is something we look at constantly, throughout the year and not just during contests."
Long was NPPA's president in 1989-1990. He retired from The Hartford Courant in 2006 after 35 years with the newspaper. After retiring he served as an adjunct professor at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Previously he taught part time at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT, for five years. Long has lectured on ethics throughout the United States and in many foreign countries including South Korea, Denmark, Ireland, and Mexico. And last year Lon was inducted into the Connecticut Journalism Hall of Fame by the Society of Professional Journalists.
"That was 25 years ago [being NPPA president], and here I am still chairing the Ethics committee," Long wrote in his farewell column in the March issue of News Photographer magazine. He's chaired the ethics panel for the past 15 years.
"It has been my privilege to try to bring a rational and humanistic approach to the many issues with which we have dealt over the years and talk about the principles that underlie the ethics of photojournalism. I have no lock on truth but I have tried to facilitate a reasoned approach to the problems we all encountered as reporters with cameras."
Elliot acknowledged Long's immense contribution's to NPPA's ethical track record in accepting Dolan's appointment.
"I cannot adequately express my admiration for John and all that he has done in this arena," Elliot said today. "The year I spent on his committee when he re-wrote NPPA's Code of Ethics in 2004 [to update it for the digital age] was one of the most formative year's of my career. Before that I was already well known in my own circles as an ethics hawk, but being in on this process provided such a stronger foundation for me and led to my continued participation on the committee."
Elliot said, "I believe that absent our ethical standards, none of our journalism matters. I am glad that John led the way and laid such a strong foundation, and for my opportunity to help build upon it."
Ethics committee members Steve Raymer of Indiana University and Peter Southwick of Boston University have agreed to continue to serve, Elliot said today. At some point in the near future Elliot will also appoint someone to replace himself as the committee's liaison to the board of directors.
Read Long's entire farewell message, "So Long, John," and his thoughts on photojournalism's ethical past, present, and future in the March issue of News Photographer magazine. For those who are not NPPA members or magazine subscribers, the magazine is available for purchase by writing to [email protected].