A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Is Adnam Hajj Reuters Jayson Blair? 

The Shape of Days was among a number of blogs that spotted that a photograph allegedly taken by Adnan Hajj had been altered using a tool such as Photoshop. Another blog, Little Green Footballs shows how the photograph may have been doctored.

Reuters has now dispensed with the services of Mr Hajj, but what seems odd , as the blogs point out, is that the cloning of the smoke looks amatuerish and could have been done better. In fact, Hajj has come in for criticism in the past over his alleged staging of shots to increase their impact and it's almost as if he got too cocky (no conspiracy theories here!)

What is clear is that Reuters made a huge mistake. Tim Glocer has become well known for advocating the use of citizen photography, putting Reuters forward as the trusted name to sift through the good and bad. The fact that such an obviously doctored photo from one of their own freelancers with a record of controversy made it through their sift has probably done untold damage to their reputation.

Time will tell, but I suspect that Reuters will have to make public what went wrong and what it is doing to prevent it happening again.
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