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The potentially misleading nature of the use of stock photos in news reporting: A case in 2022 of the Russo-Ukrainian War

Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

No qf52m, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: The ability to transmit accurate information that does not deceive its readership, and the use of images that reflects the truth of the fact that they are supposed to be representing, should be an important principle and basal tenet of any traditional or social media-based news or journalistic organization or platform. It is not uncommon to find images or photos that accompany the text of a news article, and the visual impact of an image, as is often expressed in a cliché, can sometimes add much more value than merely the text itself. Whereas some fake news is patently untrue, another gray zone of journalism that is affected by fake news may encompass bias, spin and deceit. Absent rigorous quality control and editing measures, a news source may inadvertently slip into this gray zone, which encompasses the use of stock photos to represent, or supplement, the text of news items. Focusing on photos by a pro-Ukrainian social media app-based news media outlet, this rather unusual case involves a highly topical personality, the President of Ukraine. This article points to how subtle “truth” can change through the use (or abuse) of stock photos. Several images covering May-September of 2022, specifically photos or videos of an unshaven President Zelenskyy in military attire that switch to images of a shaven individual in a suit, and back again, are examined from a single Telegram-based news source. This case exemplifies, using a “soft” example, the risks of “massaging” truth using stock photos. In times of war, especially in the ongoing Russia-Ukrainian war, the accuracy of news, including the non-fictional imagery that accompanies it, is essential, so as to neither mislead nor bias the readership, and to portray the news as accurately and neutrally as possible.

Date: 2023-04-14
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cis and nep-cul
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DOI: 10.31219/

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