News Archive

Frank Johnston To Receive WHNPA Lifetime Achievement Award


Frank Johnston, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON, DC - Retired Washington Post photojournalist Frank Johnston will receive the White House News Photographers Association's 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization announced today. Johnston will be presented with the honor during WHNPA's annual Eyes Of History awards gala on April 28 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington.

"Johnston's history-making photographs included the [Lee Harvey] Oswald shooting, the war in Vietnam, the massacre of Jim Jones's followers in Guyana, Watergate, space shuttle launches, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and every presidential administration since Lyndon Johnson," WHNPA president Dennis Brack said.

"Looking back, Frank says it was his photo of a wounded Marine in 'Peace Church' (An Hoa), under siege by the North Vietnamese, which affected him most," Brack said. "The Marine was sitting on the altar, a statue of Jesus on a cross behind his helmeted head. After traveling to the church in 1998 with Robert Sutter, an Atlanta man who believed the photo to be that of his deceased brother, Frank was called by another Marine - Mike Tripp - who said he was the man in the photo. He was, and Frank made an emotional trip to Atlanta to introduce Tripp and Sutter."

The photographer was hired by United Press International in 1963 and he joined The Washington Post in 1968, where he was a staff photographer until he retired in 2003.

Johnston was the first photographer to receive the Alicia Patterson Fellowship and he spent a year traveling the United States to photograph social and economic change for the essay "Faces of the 80s in America, a Nation in Transition." His work appeared in newspapers, magazines, books, and textbooks. He's the co-author of two books, "The Working White House" and "Jonestown Massacre."

He was named White House News Photographers Association photographer of the year in 1978, 1979, and 1985. He's also been honored with awards from the Overseas Press Club, World Press Photo, and the National Press Photographers Association.


Long, Irby, To Receive Sprague Awards In Portland


DURHAM, NC – The National Press Photographers Association’s Honors & Recognition Committee today announced that John Long and Kenny Irby are winners of the 2007 Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Awards, the organization’s highest honor.

Long recently retired from a 35-year career as a photojournalist and picture editor at The Hartford Courant and is an NPPA past president. For almost as many years he’s been NPPA’s voice on matters of ethics and standards, and he led NPPA through a complete rewrite of the Code of Ethics as photojournalism entered the digital era.

Irby, a long-time voice on visual ethics, is the Visual Journalism Group Leader and Diversity Director for The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, FL. He’s been a Pulitzer Prize juror and chair, and before his career at Poynter was a photojournalist and editor for Newsday and The Oakland Press.

“Both of this year’s Sprague Award winners are two of the leading voices in photojournalism ethics,” NPPA past president Alicia Wagner Calzada said. She’s also chair of the Honors & Recognition committee that picked this year’s honorees. “It’s not something that the committee did on purpose, but I think that it’s very telling about the importance of ethics to the photojournalism industry.”

Long and Irby will be presented with their Sprague Awards at a banquet on June 2 during NPPA’s Photojournalism Summit and Multimedia Immersion Program in Portland, OR. In addition to the Sprague Awards, the Joseph Costa Award and the Jim Gordon Editor of the Year Award will be presented at the banquet along with the 2007 Best Of Photojournalism awards in the still photography, picture editing, television photography and editing, and Web categories.

Established in 1949, the Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award is presented to not more than two individuals each year and it is granted only if achievement is, in the opinion of the committee, of a sufficiently high standard. The Sprague Award may be given to a working photojournalist who advances, elevates, or attains unusual recognition for the profession of photojournalism by conduct, initiative, leadership, skill, and devotion to duty; or to a non-photojournalist whose unusual service or achievements have been beneficial to photojournalism, or for an outstanding technology advance in equipment or processes.

Sprague was a press technical representative for Graflex Corp., Rochester, NY. The firm manufactured Graflex and Speed and Crown Graphic cameras and flash units. Sprague is credited with the design of the Big Bertha, Magic Eye, and Combat Camera, and dozens of refinements to the Speed Graphic. He died in 1947.

“I am deeply honored and humbled by this award,” Long said. “I like the fact that it gives recognition to the important place ethics has within NPPA. I want to thank the committee and tell them that I will continue to push our ideals as best I can.”

Long graduated from Catholic University in Washington, DC, in 1967 where he studied English and Philosophy and was in seminary for three years (following four years of seminary in high school). He came home to Connecticut to teach English at East Catholic High School in Manchester, near Hartford, and started a photography club at school and began to shoot weddings on the side.

In 1971, The Hartford Courant was looking for a new staff photographer and one of their qualifications was that they were also looking for someone who could write good captions. With a degree in English and three years of teaching it, Long seemed qualified. “So they hired me and said, ‘Don’t worry about the photography, we can train you in that, just write captions,’” Long told News Photographer magazine earlier this year, recalling that his photographic portfolio held nothing more than wedding pictures and portraits. “I literally had one published photo in my life when I walked in there, a spot news picture shot in Washington that I’d sold to the Star.”

“The guys at the newspaper may have taught me photography, but NPPA taught me how to be a photojournalist,” Long said after he retired from the Courant.

Over the years Long and Irby have collaborated many times to address ethical problems and issues that came up as the industry continues to change and evolve.

“This is indeed the highest honor of my photojournalism career,” Irby told News Photographer magazine. “I trust and hope that I am worthy of the huge privilege. I accepted many years ago that I was no longer a practicing photojournalist; one who makes my primary contributions with a camera anymore. Albeit, today I am every bit as dedicated about the value, importance, and responsibility of our craft. For the last 15 years I've have dedicated my professional life to upholding the values embodied within NPPA: excellence, education, and ethics.”

“As an original participant in the Electronic Photojournalism Workshop in 1989, I was assigned by Bob Haiman (who was then the president and managing director of the Poynter) during the 1997 NPPA annual convention and board of directors meeting to start this unique liaison and support relationship between Poynter and NPPA. It’s my hope that our mutual efforts have enriched journalism, aided democracy, and strengthened both institutions.”

Irby has been the Visual Journalism Group Leader for Poynter for 12 years. He recently served as a chair and juror for the Pulitzer Prizes, and he’s a member of the Eddie Adams Workshop board. Irby is also a member of NPPA’s Best Of Photojournalism Contest Committee, and serves as Poyter’s representative to the BOP contest (which is hosted annually in Florida by Poynter).

Earlier in his career Irby was a picture editor for Newsday, contributing as an editor to three Pulitzer Prize-winning projects published by the newspaper. At Newsday he had also worked as a photographer and as their deputy director of photography. He’s also been a photographer and an assistant picture editor for The Oakland Press, and is a photojournalism graduate of Boston University in 1983. In 1988 he was a Multicultural Management Fellow at the University of Missouri. Irby was the 1999 winner of NPPA’s Joseph Costa Award and a 2002 NPPA President’s Award.


New York Times Admits To Publishing Altered Photograph

NEW YORK, NY – The New York Times published an Editor’s Note today telling readers that a digitally altered photograph had been published in the newspaper on Tuesday, and that it had been shot and altered by someone who is a Times staff member but who is not a staff photographer.

An editor at the Times said the person who shot and altered the image is a member of the picture desk.

The photograph was not re-published with the correction, but it is still online.

The New York Times Agency photos Web page, along with The New York Times News Service Photos & Graphics Web page, shows a photograph that exactly matches the newspaper's correction. The photograph is credited to "Roger W. Strong/The New York Times." The caption reads:

(NYT78) RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- April 16, 2007 -- NORTHEAST-STORM-7 -- An antiques shop is washed away by the Norwalk River near the Branchville train station in Ridgefield, Conn., on Monday, April 16, 2007. High water flooded homes and businesses across the New York region. (Roger W. Strong/The New York Times) - STF

Michele McNally, the assistant managing editor of photography for the Times, could not be reached for comment because she is out of the country and will not be back until next week.

Records show Strong was an NPPA member from December 1990 until his membership expired in January 2001.

The Times reports that the photograph ran on Tuesday’s Metro Section front along with a story about flooding caused by a northeaster storm. “The wood siding at the far left of the building was out of alignment because the picture was retouched by a Times staff member who took the picture, but who is not a staff photographer. He altered it because a flash created a white spot on the picture when he shot it through the window of a train. Also, the retouching tool left a round circle on the building’s window at right.”

The picture is not available on the newspaper’s Web site packaged with the story, “Storm Leaves a Toll of Flooding and Hardship,” by Robert D. McFadden, but the Editor’s Note on Thursday night was appended to that Tuesday article.

The Editor’s Note concludes, “Times policy forbids the manipulation of any photograph. Had editors been aware of the manipulation and seen the original picture, they would have either published the picture with the blemish or not used it.”


NPPA President's Statement On Toledo's Detrich & Photojournalism Ethics


Statement from NPPA president Tony Overman:

DURHAM, NC - The National Press Photographers Association condemns the deceptive practices of Toledo Blade photographer Allan Detrich, who was recently found to have digitally altered multiple photographs submitted for publication.

The leadership of NPPA is also taking advantage of this opportunity to remind its members of the NPPA Code of Ethics, and re-iterate that members who violate the Code risk being ejected from the organization. Detrich did not renew his NPPA membership when it expired in 2006 and therefore is not subject to NPPA sanctions.

When several newspapers published similar pictures of players praying before a baseball game nearly two weeks ago, they all depicted the legs of a fellow photographer beneath a sign on the field. Detrich’s photograph, published in The Toledo Blade and other news outlets, had no legs under the sign. The Blade reports that a subsequent internal investigation of his work showed evidence of manipulations in 79 photos so far this year, an unprecedented amount of violations.

NPPA president Tony Overman notes that the NPPA Code of Ethics clearly states: “Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”

“Unfortunately, these images have caused great harm to the audience and the profession,” Overman said. He added that the Code also says NPPA’s mission is to “promote the highest quality in all forms of photojournalism and to strengthen public confidence in the profession.”

“We will not tolerate a news photographer willfully deceiving the public, and that’s what these manipulations do,” said John B. (Jack) Zibluk, NPPA vice president.

NPPA has carried the torch for photojournalism ethics since it was founded more than 60 years ago and it continues to examine ways to better educate photographers about photojournalism ethics, and to increase the availability of ethical training to still, broadcast, and multimedia photojournalists.

“We will do all we can to meet the increasing needs for ethics outreach and training. We’re not just going to condemn one series of incidents and then go away,” Overman said. “We’re going to promote ethics, ethical training, and ethical outreach again and again.”

For more information contact Overman at [email protected].

News coverage of the results of The Toledo Blade's investigation


Kim's Photos Of Virginia Tech Shooting Carried Fronts Around The World

By Donald R. Winslow

© 2007 News Photographer magazine

BLACKSBURG, VA – Alan Kim, a part-time photographer for The Roanoke Times, shot several news photographs yesterday at the mass shooting at Virginia Tech that today cover front pages of newspapers around the world. It was a strange experience for the veteran 52-year-old photojournalist, who graduated with a business degree from Virginia Tech, to be shooting the unfolding aftermath of the tragedy on the campus that he still knows by heart from his undergraduate days.

The massacre of at least 30 people locked inside a Virginia Tech building is the deadliest shooting rampage in modern American history. Today police identified the gunman as Cho Seung-Hui, 23, a Virginia Tech senior from South Korea.

Kim told News Photographer magazine today that he wouldn’t have been where he was to make those pictures had it not been for “an alert editor who called me in the morning, shortly after I sent my boys off to school.” Kim stays home part time and works part time, based out of the newspaper’s New River Valley Bureau in Blacksburg, where he’s lived with his wife and three sons for some years. Kim was born in Baltimore, MD, and spent 13 years of his childhood in Korea. He can remember the day he got his first camera, at the age of 12, and his father – who was born in Korea – warning him, “Don’t try to earn a living with this.” Kim has been an NPPA member since 1991.

Yesterday morning Shay Barnhart, one of the assistant news editors at the New River Valley bureau, called Kim about the shooting. “I just got the boys to school. Andrew (11) is in the fifth grade ... The older ones kind of knew what was going on. David (9, in the third grade) and Alex (6, in the first grade) were in a lockdown at their elementary school. They were told it was because of the high winds. We had very high winds in the area at the time, and stuff was getting knocked down.”

After the editor called, Kim was on the campus and roaming the grounds shortly before the second shooting was about to unfold, around 9 a.m.. “I was only one of six or more Roanoke Times staff shooters covering the tragedy throughout the day and night,” Kim said. “My part in all of this was perhaps about three hours of confusion, and getting whipped by the winds, and processing and transmitting the pictures. I’m guessing I got there around 9:30 a.m. and left before 11. From home, the first picture was transmitted to our main office by around 11:30 a.m. and then eight more by around noon.”

Kim said he was relying on instinct when he grabbed “an aging 500mm f4 manual-focus Nikon lens, and made sure I had a tripod in the car. The wind was howling and I knew it was going to be difficult to get close to anything. Parking on campus is really tight. Fortunately I remembered a good parking spot.

“Then I kind of knew what to expect,” Kim said today. “I knew there would be hundreds of law enforcement officers and total chaos. I walked around for a while and decided I just needed to go ahead and set up the lens. I ended up across the Drill Field, on the other side of campus, but with an unobstructed view of Norris Hall, I’m guessing about 200 yards away. I ended up staying there pretty much for the duration, then decided to leave while still not really knowing what was going on; I decided to go home and send photos. I was on that spot probably less than an hour.”

When he started shooting, Kim says he didn’t have a clear idea what was going on or how extensive the disaster was, even as police and rescue workers were carrying injured people out of the building. “It wasn’t until several hours later that the scope of the tragedy was revealed,” he said.

Kim says his cell phone service “took a dive during the event, and they had a tough time trying to figure out where I was or what I was up to. One of the editors was finally able to reach me on my landline at home, as I was getting ready to work on the first pictures.”

His photographs were sent to the Associated Press from the newspaper’s main office as soon as his editors received them. “Within minutes they were showing up everywhere, on the Internet and on television news. I got a call this morning from London, from a friend who lives in Brussels; he told me the image of folks getting carried out of the building was on just about every newspaper in the stands.”

Today Kim told News Photographer magazine, “I really owe this to my wife, Susan Chung, for making it possible. Several years ago I had a chance to switch places with her, to stay at home and raise the kids while she worked.” Chung, a physical therapist at a hospital in Radford, VA, is also a first-generation American whose parents were born in Korea. “I left the business in 1999 after 10 years; I kind of walked away from it for the opportunity to stay home with the boys. Then after five years I came back to the paper, they took me back when they needed some help. I’ve always been a ‘bureau rat’ and lived and worked around here, so yesterday I kind of knew what to expect.”

Kim said that last night, after things began to “calm down” and he got his younger sons to bed, he took the older boy, Andrew, aside and showed him his photographs from the day and talked to him about it. “He’s old enough to kind of understand what’s going on. And he knows his dad’s pictures are in papers and on TV all over the world. But it was mostly luck, too. I could have been somewhere else. I knew what to do, but I also knew what not to do. There’s a picture of some guy handcuffed, I think he was trying to take pictures. I think he was released later. But having been around here for some time, it paid off.”


Photojournalists Balilty, Byer, Loomis Win Pulitzer Prizes

By Donald R. Winslow

© 2007 News Photographer magazine

NEW YORK, NY – The 2007 Pulitzer Prizes for photography were awarded today to Oded Balilty of the Associated Press for Breaking News Photography for "his powerful photograph of a lone Jewish woman defying Israeli security forces," and to Renee C. Byer of The Sacramento Bee for Feature Photography for "A Mother's Journey," an essay the judges called an "intimate portrayal of a single mother and her young son as he loses his battle with cancer."

In addition, photojournalist Rick Loomis of the Los Angeles Times was a member of the team who won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for their five-part series "Altered Oceans," which last summer examined the conditions of the world's oceans.

Balilty's "single image" Pulitzer is the first time a lone photograph, rather than an extensive essay, has won a photography Pulitzer since 2001 when Alan Diaz won for an Associated Press picture of Elian Gonzalez being removed from a Miami home by armed federal agents.

Balilty was a photograher for the Israeli Defense Force's magazine during his time of military service in the IDF. His Associated Press posting is in Jerusalem, where he was born in 1979. He started working for AP in 2002 during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his photographs from that clash were part of a group exhibit of AP photographs at Visa pour L'image in Perpignan, France, in 2004.

Associated Press executive editor Kathleen Carroll called Balilty's winning photograph "a stunning image that captures the chaos and emotion of that evacuation."

Finalists in the Breaking News category were Michael Bryant of The Philadelphia Inquirer for his coverage of the injured race horse Barbaro, and the staff of the Associated Press for their photographic coverage of the clash last summer between Israel and Hezbollah.

Byer, 48, documented the final days of Derek Madsen, 11, as he fought cancer as his mother, Cyndie French, fought to save him. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize today, "A Mother's Journey" also won second place for Byer, director of photography Mark Morris, and deputy director Sue Morrow, in NPPA's Best Of Photojournalism 2007 picture editing contest in the newspaper documentary photojournalism category for multiple pages. The essay also won the World Understanding Award in the Pictures of the Year International contest this year. Byer has been a photojournalist for more than two decades and joined The Bee in 2003 after working for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Finalists in Feature Photography were Mary F. Calvert of The Washington Times, this year's NPPA Best Of Photojournalism Photojournalist of the Year for Small Markets, for her essay on sub-Sahara African women afflicted with fistulas, and Gary Coronado of The Palm Beach Post for his coverage of Central Americans who illegally enter the States on Mexican freight trains.



Loomis told News Photographer magazine today, "It's a great feeling to be recognized for work on such a globally important topic. I hope that this serves to help draw attention to the ocean and increase our efforts to protect this vital resource."

He was NPPA's Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 2003, and the California Press Photographers Association's Photographer of the Year in 2003 and 2004. Loomis has been with the Times since 1994 when he graduated with a photojournalism degree from Western Kentucky University. During college he interned at The Fort Wayne (Indiana) News Sentinel, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Seattle Times, and Syracuse newspapers. During high school he was a lab technician and photographer for The Palm Beach Post in his Florida hometown.

Loomis started with the Times in their Orange County edition, and after 9/11 moved into the paper's national and international coverage. He's covered war during four tours in Iraq and three tours in Afghanistan, as well as conflict in Israel and Haiti. Four times he's been a photography coach at The Mountain Photographic Workshops in Kentucky.

Published in the newspaper and online in August 2006, "Altered Oceans" was written by Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling with photography and video by Loomis. The project was edited by Gail Fisher before she left the Times for her new role at National Geographic. McFarling has worked for the newspaper's science desk since 2000 covering earth sciences and the space program, and Weiss has been at the Times since 1990, for the last five years writing about the California coast and oceans.


Kenny Irby, the Visual Journalism Group Leader for The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, chaired the jury for the Pulitzer photography categories this year. The jurors were Ronnie Agnew, executive editor of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, MS; Hai Do, director of photography for The Philadelphia Inquirer; Liza Gross, the managing editor for presentation for The Miami Herald; and Karin Winner, the vice president and editor of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The photography winners remained a secret right up until the time they were announced by Columbia, causing a great deal of conversation in the photojournalism community who wondered why the finalists weren’t leaked to the press as they traditionally are each year. “It was a matter of integrity,” Irby told News Photographer magazine today. “It doesn’t bode well for our industry when journalists don’t maintain confidentiality. We [the jurors] committed to one another and we stuck to that.”

Pages from Byer's "A Mother's Journey"


In December last year, the Pulitzer Prize Board amended its records and awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography to Jahangir Razmi, an Iranian photographer whose picture of a 1979 firing squad in Iran killing Iranian civilian prisoners was published around the world anonymously because Razmi feared for his life. Razmi's identity was revealed, with his consent, in a Wall Street Journal story by Joshua Prager last December, and the photographer's story was published along with other pictures he made that day at the execution. Razmi has been invited to receive his 1980 Pulitzer Prize this coming May in New York when the winners of today's Pulitzers are honored during a luncheon at Columbia University.


The Pulitzer Prizes in journalism were established in 1917 in memory of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the first to call for the training of journalists at the university level in college programs, who provided for the birth and funding of the awards in his 1904 will as an incentive to journalistic excellence. In 1878 and only in his late twenties, Pulitzer was the owner and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He died in 1911 aboard his yacht, and the Columbia School of Journalism was founded in 1912. Five years later the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded in four categories: journalism, letters and drama, education, and four traveling scholarships.

More than 2,000 entries are submitted in the contest each year. There are 120 judges serving on 20 juries who are asked to make three nominations in each of the Pulitzer Prize’s 21 categories, two of which are for photography. A single jury judges both Breaking News photography and Feature photography entries. To be eligible for a Pulitzer, material must have been published in a newspaper in the United States during the previous year.

The complete list of 2007 Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists is here.


Toledo Blade Discovers Dozens Of Doctored Detrich Photos

By Donald R. Winslow

© 2007 News Photographer magazine

TOLEDO, OH – This morning The Toledo Blade published a bombshell story in their Sunday edition that the photojournalism community – along with journalism’s many boisterous critics – will be discussing for days, if not years, to come.

Today the newspaper revealed that former staff photographer Allan Detrich, a one-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and four-time Ohio News Photographer of the Year, is apparently a serial digital manipulator of news photographs. Prior to his resignation on April 7, Detrich had submitted for publication nearly 80 doctored images in only 14 weeks.

Two weeks ago the Blade published a page-one news photograph by Detrich – one of their veteran, if not star, photographers – that turned out to be digitally altered, a serious breach of ethical standards. It was from the first baseball game played by Bluffton University since their team was involved in a fatal bus crash in Atlanta in March that killed five of their members. It was an emotional story, and the game was heavily covered by Ohio’s regional media.

Detrich, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1998, told his bosses that the digitally altered photograph spread across their front page had been transmitted by mistake, and that the image was meant only for his personal use and not for publication. He was suspended while the newspaper investigated. The next day, the Saturday before Easter, as the newspaper started looking at his files, he sent an eMail and resigned. Blade editors spent the following week going through all of his 2007 photographs, both published and unpublished, from the first 14 weeks of this year.

They didn’t have to dig any deeper; the evidence was damning. The results of the Blade's internal investigation, announced by the newspaper this morning, were shocking even to those who feared (or predicted) the worst.

According to the Blade, Detrich submitted 947 photographs for publication in 2007, right up through his last week of work. Of those 947, 233 were published either in the newspaper or on the Blade’s Web site. Editors have determined that 79 of the photographs were clearly digitally altered. Of these, 27 altered images were published both in print and online, and 31 were published only on the Web. The balance of the altered images (21) were pictures Detrich had submitted for publication that were not published, because editors selected, by chance, different photographs to publish from these assignments.

Blade executive editor and vice president Ron Royhab wrote the story in today’s paper explaining the ethical disaster to readers. In a piece called “A Basic Rule: Newspaper Photos Must Tell The Truth,” Royhab wrote, “The changes Mr. Detrich made included erasing people, tree limbs, utility poles, electrical wires, electrical outlets, and other background elements from photographs. In other cases, he added elements such as tree branches and shrubbery.”

Of the Bluffton photograph that brought the problem to light, Royhab reported, “We did not know at the time of publication that the photographer, using a computerized photo-editing tool called Photoshop, had removed the legs of a person wearing blue jeans and standing in the background behind a banner.”

When Detrich was first asked by News Photographer magazine to explain the digitally doctored Bluffton photograph, he denied any knowledge that the picture had been altered. Hours later after meeting with editors, he had an explanation for it. “When questioned by Blade editors, Mr. Detrich admitted manipulating the photograph, offering the explanation that it was for his personal use and that he mistakenly transmitted it to the newspaper for publication,” Royhab told Blade readers. “He was suspended while the investigation continued. The next day he resigned. The Blade's director of photography found that since January of this year, Mr. Detrich submitted 947 photographs for publication, of which 79 had been digitally altered.”


Royhab pulled no punches explaining what Detrich had done:

Mr. Detrich also submitted two sports photographs in which items were inserted. In one he added a hockey puck and in the other he added a basketball, each hanging in mid-air. Neither was published.”

When a Blade reporter or photographer covers a news event, the newspaper and its readers expect an accurate record of the event.

Reporters and editors are not allowed to change quotes or alter events to make them more dramatic. Photographers and photo editors cannot digitally alter the content in the frame of a photograph to make the image more powerful or artistic.

This principle is widely recognized. In 1991, at the dawn of the digital age, the National Press Photographers Association adopted a "Digital Manipulation Code of Ethics," which all members are required to sign.

That lengthy code makes it very clear that altering the editorial content of a picture is a breach of ethical standards. All Blade photographers are members of the association. All of them have signed the code of ethics, and The Blade follows this code.


Royhab concluded by telling Blade readers, “It's impossible to make sense of why this happened, and we are embarrassed by it. But it is important that we are up front and honest with our readers. Mr. Detrich joined The Blade in 1989 and has won hundreds of newspaper photography awards over the years. He was a Pulitzer finalist in 1998. The work he turned in always appeared to be quality photojournalism, which is why editors had no reason to suspect he was digitally altering photographs. In this respect, we let our readers down, and we apologize for that and pledge to you that we will do better.”

Blade director of photography Nate Parson was tasked with investigating Detrich's photographs during the newspaper's internal investigation following the Bluffton picture. Parsons said the Blade uses a Merlin photo archive system. All photographs submitted for publication are transmitted to the Merlin archive. Every few weeks the staff photographers are expected to transfer all the images they've shot on assignment from their laptops to firewire drives for storage. Parsons said his investigation of Detrich's photographs involved comparing what was in the Merlin (photos submitted for publication) to Detrich's photographs downloaded onto the firewire drives.

The news comes at a time when a nasty labor dispute with unions - which included an employee lock-out in August 2006 - has already turned many readers away from the Blade in Ohio's traditionally blue-collar and industrial northwest. Today’s in-depth revelation of their investigation of Detrich’s news photography can be viewed as another installment in a series of damage-control efforts the newspaper has been forced to make with readers lately.


The fallout from the Blade’s revelation included media coverage by their newspaper peers and television in the region, AP stories, and a firestorm of postings in online discussion boards and on Web blogs.

Blade assistant managing editor of administration Luann Sharp told Jennifer Boresz of WTOL-TV News 11 that the Blade has “zero tolerance” to this kind of behavior, and “to prevent this from happening again we plan more spot checking of photojournalists’ work in the future.”

On Toledo’s 13 ABC Action News, reporter Jennifer Jarrell asked Sharp, “The changes may seem minor, but where does it stop?” Sharp responded, “It has to be zero tolerance. If you can alter one small piece of a photo, can you alter a medium size piece? You just can’t alter at all.” In her 6 p.m. newscast report, Jarrell cited the NPPA Code of Ethics, the portion that states photographers can’t alter a photograph “in any way that deceives the public.”

Jarrell’s two-minute broadcast package included an interview with Blade staff photographer Herral Long, who’s been shooting for the newspaper since 1949. Jarrell told viewers that “Long works hard to keep his photographs ‘squeaky clean.’” The Blade staffer said on camera, “We’re observers, and people depend upon us to report accurately what we see.”


Photojournalists have been fired for the ethical infraction of altering or manipulating photographs in recent years, but as far as the public knew those dismissals were for one, or at least a very few, doctored pictures or isolated incidents. The scope of the altered images at the Blade overwhelms past infractions.

Patrick Schneider of The Charlotte Observer lost his job in 2006 because he altered the color of the sky in a news photograph from a fire scene; he had been reprimanded three years earlier for heavy-handed burning and dodging of photographs entered in North Carolina's state press association's contest.

Weeks later, Reuters made headlines when a freelancer in Lebanon covering the 2006 war with Israel transmitted two doctored photographs that made it past editors and onto the picture network. Lebanese photographer Adnan Hajj was fired by Reuters in the aftermath of their investigation, and his images removed from their archives.

At about the same time, el Nuevo Herald doctored two images to create one fake photo to illustrate an anti-Castro story, without telling their readers the manipulated picture was a "montage." Editors at the Miami paper took heat in the press for their ethical lapse, but as far as the public knows no one was disciplined for the fakery.

In 2003, Brian Walski was fired from the Los Angeles Times for combining two separate images from the war in Iraq into one picture that was published in the Times and other newspapers. He was fired when the fakery was discovered, noticed first by an astute reader.

Detrich is a native of Attica, OH, and attended the Ohio Institute of Photography in Dayton. Before that he worked for The Sunday Sun-Journal in Lewiston, ME; The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, OH; the Daily Gazette in Xenia, OH; and The Kettering-Oakwood Times in Kettering, OH. He was also the Blade’s bureau photographer in Washington, DC, where he shot for Toledo and the Blade’s sister paper, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which are both owned by the Block News Alliance.

In 1998, the photographer was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature photography for a five-part series "Children of the Underground." It was an in-depth look at a covert underground organization that hides sexually abused children. Two times Detrich was the Ohio News Photographers Association Photographer of the Year (1991 and 1993), he won the Ohio clip contest Photographer of the Year title in 1994, and in 1991 he was the NPPA Region 4 Photographer of the Year.


Blade Sunday Story Will Reveal More Altered Detrich Photos

By Donald R. Winslow

© 2007 News Photographer magazine

TOLEDO, OH – The Toledo Blade is currently finalizing a major story for Sunday’s edition that will reveal and explain additional questionable Blade photographs by former staff photographer Allan Detrich that “should not have run in the newspaper.” Detrich resigned amidst an ethical controversy last Saturday.

Blade assistant managing editor for administration Luann Sharp has revealed that their investigation found other Detrich photographs in their archive that are “suspicious” and were not “truthful representations of what happened in the field.” The investigation began after the paper determined that a page-one photograph by Detrich from a Bluffton University’s baseball game had been digitally altered to remove a pair of legs from behind an outfield banner.

Sharp says the story will deal with altered Detrich photographs from 2007 that were “submitted to publication and should not have been,” but she would not give additional details. “We’re not trying to hide anything from the journalism world. We just think that we should tell our readers on Sunday first. They have a right to know, and we owe that to them.”

Sharp did not say how many faked pictures their investigation has uncovered, but the number is expected to be reported in the Blade’s story on Sunday. Some published reports, citing Blade newsroom rumors, have claimed the number of problem images to be in the “dozens.” Sharp says all of the photographs they will discuss with readers were digitally altered, but that their investigation does not address photographs that may have been “directed” or “set up.”

The Blade's investigation story will be published Sunday in their "Behind The News" section with a page-one reference to it, so that readers can easily find the article. "The Blade's executive editor and vice president, Ron Royhab, is the author. 'Behind The News' is a section front, usually the third section of the Sunday paper, and we will publish examples of altered photos along with the story," Sharp said.

“We met with the photography staff this week and shared with them some of the information we have so far,” Sharp told News Photographer magazine today. “We revisited the basics and went over the NPPA Code of Ethics, and they were one thousand percent supportive, and told us to ‘do whatever you need to do, and we will do for you what we can.’ We talked about the Bluffton photograph and unanimously, they said what was done was wrong, that it should never have happened. They said, ‘We don’t want people to think that we approach our work that way. When we signed our NPPA membership, we knew what we were agreeing to [the NPPA Code of Ethics] and we want it that way.’”

Sharp says this episode “has been hard on the photo staff. It’s not funny to them. It’s not funny when someone asks them if they’ve ‘altered any photos today.’ It’s their career, it’s their profession, and I commend them for the level of professionalism they’ve shown.”

The staff photographers at the Blade are Jetta Fraser, Lori King, Herral Long, Andy Morrison, Amy Voigt, Jeremy Wadsworth, David Zapotosky, and intern Eric Sumberg. The photography editors are Lisa Dutton, David Cantor, and Marty Kruse. Imagers are Fayann Corfman, Kristy Young, and Tom Fisher. Nate Parsons is the Blade's director of photography.

Meanwhile Detrich, who wrote in his online blog when his ethical lapse was discovered that he was “tired of journalism” and that he had already “moved on to other things,” writes today that he is somewhere in central Texas making a “business presentation” with his new partners in a newly founded storm-chasing venture that will teach weather watching to first responders. He also writes that he is out chasing severe Texas weather. Apparently the photographer will not be at home Sunday in Ohio when the newspaper that he’s worked for since 1989 reveals the depth of his ethical departures.

“We will do our best to explain it to our readers,” Sharp said. She told News Photographer magazine that Detrich’s resignation had no impact on their investigation because the newspaper needed to determine, and then explain, whether Detrich’s doctored Bluffton picture was a one-time mistake or whether it was part of a larger pattern of photographs that he digitally altered prior to publication.

For much of the past week the Blade's director of photography and others have been looking in their archives at everything Detrich shot since the beginning of 2007. Last week the Associated Press in New York City pulled Detrich’s photographs from their archives, and some photographs by Detrich that were for sale on were removed as well.

Based on Sharp’s comments about Sunday’s upcoming story, it appears that the problem is more widespread than the “one-time” mistake Detrich claimed it was when he admitted to doctoring the Bluffton photograph and resigned. Sharp said Blade editors are still assembling Sunday’s article about their findings.

The controversy bloomed after much of Ohio’s media descended on Bluffton University for the school’s first baseball game after their team was involved in a fatal bus accident March 2, 2007, in Atlanta that resulted in the death of five players. Before the game, the baseball team gathered in a circle on the playing field near five banners that were hanging on the outfield fence. The banners bore the names and uniform numbers of their five dead teammates. The Bluffton players removed their caps and dropped to one knee for a moment of silence or prayer. The banners formed the right-hand background in an extremely horizontal composition.

Nearly identical pictures of that moment ran large the next day on the front pages of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Dayton Daily News, The Lima News, and The Toledo Blade, each picture shot from nearly the identical angle by a photojournalist from each newspaper. In three of the large photographs a pair of blue-jean clad legs could be seen coming out underneath the banner on the far right-hand side of the image. The legs were missing from Detrich’s photograph; only grass and fence could be seen from the bottom of the banner down to the ground. Upon close examination of the photograph, evidence of digital alteration could be seen.

On the Monday after the Friday game, which was covered in Saturday’s papers, a photographer at the Dayton Daily News was looking at a Web site that features newspaper front pages. He wanted to compare how different Ohio newspapers had played the story coverage from Bluffton. The photographer noticed that four nearly identical photographs from the players kneeling had run in a very similar fashion on four Saturday fronts. Looking more closely, he noticed the missing legs in the Blade’s photo. The discovery of the doctored picture became a topic of photo department discussion that spread through the photojournalism community and was brought to the attention of the National Press Photographers Association’s magazine, News Photographer.

When called by News Photographer magazine, Detrich at first denied the alteration and said that he didn’t know anything about what may have happened to the legs. Several hours later on that same day, when confronted by Blade editors, he said that the photograph’s manipulation was “for his personal files” and that the wrong file had been transmitted to the newspaper while he was on deadline in Bluffton “by mistake.” He said that by doing the alteration he was trying to make “a beautiful photo” and that the altered picture was intended only for a print to be made “for my office wall.” The photographer offered no explanation for why he was digitally altering a photograph for his own “personal use” while in the midst of covering a live news story and transmitting images on deadline.

On the Friday a week after the Bluffton game, the Blade published this correction. The following day Detrich was informed that he was being suspended with pay pending the outcome of the newspaper’s investigation, and he was also asked to turn in any photography equipment and gear owned by the Blade. On Monday after Easter, Blade editor Sharp announced that Detrich had resigned in an eMail sent to the newspaper on Saturday.

Detrich posted an entry on his personal blog after the incident and wrote about the altered photograph. He wrote: “Yes. It was what it was, but I wanted it perfect, and maybe that is where I went wrong, trying to be perfect, in the end showed my flaws.”

The photographer is a native of Attica, OH, and attended the Ohio Institute of Photography in Dayton. Before that he worked for The Sunday Sun-Journal in Lewiston, ME; The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, OH; the Daily Gazette in Xenia, OH; and The Kettering-Oakwood Times in Kettering, OH. He was also the Blade’s bureau photographer in Washington, DC, where he shot for Toledo and the Blade’s sister paper, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which are both owned by the Block News Alliance.

In 1998, Detrich was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature photography for a five-part series "Children of the Underground." It was an in-depth look at a covert underground organization that hides sexually abused children. Two times Detrich was the Ohio News Photographers Association Photographer of the Year (1991 and 1993), he won the Ohio clip contest Photographer of the Year title in 1994, and in 1991 he was the NPPA Region 4 Photographer of the Year.

Read earlier coverage


Nominations Open For NPPA National Offices

EVANSVILLE, IN – Denny Simmons, NPPA’s nominations committee chair, announced today that the committee is seeking candidates for NPPA’s national offices of president, vice president, treasurer, and board member representative.

If you know someone who would like to run for one of the national offices or would like to nominate a candidate, or would like to run for office yourself, Simmons would like for you to contact him. Please see NPPA’s Standing Rules to read about the duties of the elected officials, the election procedures, and who is eligible to run for a national office.

Contact Simmons at [email protected] or committee members Karen Segrave at [email protected], or Tim Reese at [email protected].


Detrich Resigns Over Digitally Altered Page One Photo

By Donald R. Winslow

© 2007 News Photographer magazine

TOLEDO, OH – Veteran staff photographer Allan Detrich, who was suspended from work at The Toledo Blade while editors continued their investigation into his digitally altered page one photograph from last week, has resigned from the newspaper effective Saturday, April 7, the Blade announced today.

Meanwhile the investigation at the newspaper continues, regardless of Detrich's resignation, to see if there are more digitally altered photographs in their archives.

Asked today about the digitally manipulated photo after news of his resignation circulated, Detrich told News Photographer magazine that in retrospect, "It should never have been done. I apologize to everyone that I've hurt. I'm going to pursue things for myself now. I hope that the people that I've met and known over the years are still friends, no matter what happens, and I appreciate all the friendships that I've formed in the community and all the eMails that people have sent me."

On his blog Detrich wrote today that he has grown tired of the news business and that after 25 years of journalism it "just has not been fun anymore," and that he is "moving on to other things." The photographer told News Photographer magazine today that several weeks ago he formed a new company with some of his "storm-chaser friends," and that they intend to go into business offering a weather training course for first responders.

"He has not taken any photographs for the newspaper since his fact-finding meeting [with editors] last Thursday," Blade assistant managing editor for administration Luann Sharp said today. "All of his photos have been frozen in our archives pending further review by us." She said the photographer resigned in an eMail sent on Saturday.

Sharp told News Photographer magazine today, "As we explained to Allan on Friday, part of our review is to determine whether the transmission of an altered photo from the Bluffton baseball game was a 'simple mistake' or if there are other photos that were altered prior to publication. The investigation should be completed this week and we'll let readers know what we find. His resignation does not halt that investigation, as we need to be sure we are truthful with our readers."

Sharp said that in the aftermath of Detrich's altered photograph no new policies have been put into place at the paper, but that there will be a photography staff meeting on Tuesday "to reinforce our policy. We pay for our photographers and editors to belong to NPPA, so the expectations are quite clear. We'll walk them through it again, but we're pretty standard on 'crop it, caption it, send it' in terms of how we want our photographers to work." Sharp said there may or may not be changes in field practices for photographers based on their feedback during the upcoming meeting and on the outcome of the newspaper's experience with the Bluffton incident.

A page one photograph by Detrich last Saturday of the Bluffton University's baseball team kneeling in front of outfield banners created a controversy when a pair of legs clad in blue jeans that were visible behind one of the banners in other page one photographs in newspapers around the state were missing from the photograph published in the Blade. An investigation by Blade editors determined that the legs had been removed in Detrich's picture by digital manipulation prior to the picture being transmitted from Bluffton to the newspaper.

Detrich at first denied the alteration, telling News Photographer magazine that he didn't know what happened to the legs. Then later that same day when he met with editors he said that the photo's manipulation "was for his personal files," and that the wrong file was transmitted to the newspaper while he was on deadline "by mistake." He said that by doing the alteration he was trying to make "a beautiful photo," and that the altered picture was intended only for a print to be made for his office wall.

On Saturday the Associated Press in New York pulled all of Detrich's photographs from their archives. And some of Detrich's photographs, which were also available for purchase on, were removed from that commercial Web site over the weekend as well.

The veteran photographer was scheduled to be off Friday and Saturday and return to work on Sunday, but Blade editors informed him on Friday that he was suspended for at least two days, with pay, starting on Sunday and continuing through Monday while their investigation continued.

When told of his suspension on Saturday, Detrich was also asked to turn in photography gear that was owned by the Blade, sources said.

Editors and Nate Parsons, the director of photography for the Blade, are now continuing their look back through all of Detrich’s previous work to see if other published photographs may have been digitally altered.

On Friday the Blade published this correction.

Detrich posted an entry on his personal blog after the incident and wrote about the altered photograph. He penned, “Yes. It was what it was, but I wanted it perfect, and maybe that is where I went wrong, trying to be perfect, in the end showed my flaws...”

The photographer is a native of Attica, OH, and attended the Ohio Institute of Photography in Dayton. Before that he worked for The Sunday Sun-Journal in Lewiston, ME; The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, OH; the Daily Gazette in Xenia, OH; and The Kettering-Oakwood Times in Kettering, OH. He was also the Blade’s bureau photographer in Washington, DC, where he shot for Toledo and the Blade’s sister paper, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which are both owned by the Block News Alliance.

In 1998, Detrich was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature photography for a five part series "Children of the Underground." It was an in-depth look at a covert underground organization that hides sexually abused children. Two times Detrich was the Ohio News Photographers Association Photographer of the Year (1991 and 1993), he won the Ohio clip contest Photographer of the Year title in 1994, and in 1991 he was the NPPA Region 4 Photographer of the Year.

A Web site called, which promotes itself as a site that comments on Toledo's media and pop culture, has been following the Detrich story since Friday and has been getting a lot of attention online from members of the photojournalism community who've been discussing what's been posted there.