PetaPixel

Major UK Newspaper Called Out for Using a Stock Photo to Illustrate a Story on Poverty

Daily Mirror front page

Photojournalistic ethics are serious business. While there are many styles of photography where heavy post-production is not just acceptable, but commonplace, the world of news demands accuracy and truth, and it is accuracy and truth that some are claiming were given a backseat to shock and sensationalism when The Daily Mirror decided to use a stock photograph to illustrate a front page story.

According to The Guardian, the controversy arose yesterday when its fellow newspaper published the front page you see above. The front page splash is about poverty and the growth of food banks in Britain, which is all good and well until you realize that the image used to illustrate the story is a five-year-old stock photo of an American child who was upset that her earthworm got away.

This has led to a debate over the ethics involved. The Guardian‘s Roger Tooth says the photo “smacks of lazy journalism at best,” and at worst is “a betrayal of their loyal readers and photojournalism past and present.” While Mirror editor Lloyd Embley commented with a sardonic, “And there was me thinking a million food parcels was the story.”

The only question left, then, is where do you stand?

To read further into both sides of the controversy, you can get the photographer’s perspective from Tooth at the Guardian Photography Blog by clicking here, and a broader discussion on photography, authenticity and emotion written by the Guardian‘s Andrew Brown here.


 
Get the hottest photo stories delivered to your inbox.
Get a daily digest of the latest headlines:
  • Aezreth

    What, they couldn’t find any free iPhone photo from all the “citizen journalists”?

  • d7k2v2

    We used to live in a world where people had jobs working for newspapers as a photographer, for instance. Normal people can’t make a living wage and buy food for their families. Giant corporations give away products for free that used to employ millions in exchange for your identity. The irony in this story is just delicious.

  • Casey

    Once again our attention has been diverted from the actual point of a story, which in this case is a real tragedy, to the relatively trivial point of where the photo came from. If you want a relevant side story, how about the fact that there was nobody left to photograph an actual hungry child at the newspaper because that job has been “downsized” in recent years. A newspaper these days is scratching for whatever resources it can find to get the job done.

  • megdalena

    LOL! Oh the poor newspaper! They fired all their photojournalists and are now suffering the consequences and we’re supposed to feel sorry for them?!???

  • nrjmike

    Unless the publication claimed this was a photo of a UK child who suffers in poverty, then I don’t see the problem. It’s illustrative and evokes the emotion intended, no matter where the photo came from. There is no ethics issue here unless it is manufactured.

  • Mr Hogwallop

    Newspapers, used to have ethics, and photographers…If they are going to use a photo that has nothing to do with the story to illustrate and attract the readers attention to the story, why wouldn’t they make up other parts of the story. Maybe the real poor people aren’t colorful or interesting enough to the editors, no big deal if they spice it up a little is it, as long as the point is made about poverty…

  • http://www.imajez.com imajez
  • Rose

    Chill down, it’s not big deal.

  • Casey

    Once again our attention has been diverted from the actual point of a story, which in this case is a real tragedy, to the relatively trivial point of where the photo came from. If you want a relevant side story, how about the fact that there was nobody left to photograph an actual hungry child at the newspaper because that job has been “downsized” in recent years. A newspaper these days is scratching for whatever resources it can find to get the job done.

  • Walter Ochs

    Well when you fire all your photographers…

  • Mr Hogwallop

    True, nothing is a big deal. But it’s the internet.

  • Fullstop

    I find it hard to truly be upset over this.
    Many magazines and newspapers use animated covers to get their point across about a story.
    Are we to believe that those articles are somehow not accurate because they’re not using an actual photograph of the story that they’re writing about?

  • Oskarkar

    Daily Mirror is not a newspaper but… Who could trust what they write? It’s a paper full of lies. It’s the most illustrative example of what is called a bitter joke. This institution called Daily Mirror should be banned and the people who made it imprisoned.

  • Michael Smith

    Except that the story is actually a non-story. Children don’t starve in the UK unless their parents neglect them.

  • http://www.sin3rgy-creative.com/ David Liang

    I hope editors and board of directors are paying attention to their public image.

  • Kynikos

    It’s the Daily Mirror. Nothing more to say.

  • Mr Hogwallop

    They are paying more attention to the stock price…and not stock photo which is $1.

  • reddit kid

    I find it pathetic that there is so much emphasis on a ‘true photo’ to be used, when 90% of the words published in these new papers are utter bull s**t. So much is over-dramatised, lies, misinformation, made up, lacking real content, lacking facts, lacking proof. So why give a toss about a picture being used from stock photography when the crux of the problem is the people running these paper,

    Go to the route cause. Newpapers and TV news employ are the worst kind of people on this planet. worse thank bankers and even politicians.

  • reddit kid

    Really? how are they suffering exactly? Do you think an article on petapixel is going to make them give a damn or it’ll cause an upriseing? NO.
    Get a realistic view kid. Newspapers cut those jobs because there are cheaper alternatives. Accept change and move on, or die with the rest of them.

  • reddit kid

    OH MY GOD!
    I find this shocking and ignorant. Unbelievable ignorance. Just because you don’t see what it’s like to be on the streets doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. People like you are the cause of our problems. You lack the ability to see what’s around you and what real life is and how your actions and inactions effect others.

    Just because you see kids going to school to get their free education, doesn’t mean their parents have the money to put food on their plates.

  • reddit kid

    Jesus man, you really are one track minded huh. Ignorant or what. So what about all the advertisement in this world that shows ‘sexy woman’ just to tell a blood ipad. or all the photoshopping you do to your image because you wasn’t able to really capture what was infront of you. seriously, STFU and get real.

  • reddit kid

    Yes, you are right. That was the thing. Nothing to do with the fact that they could use http://www.imagebrief.com/, or higher a photog for a few hours, or send one of their own staff out with an iphone.

    YEAH you’re right, this happened because they fired their photog’s. my god you spout of some utter BS. they took the business decisions to use an image that they felt matched the story. Who cares where the image came from if the story is true.

  • reddit kid

    SPOT ON!

  • reddit kid

    SIGH….. boring.

  • Mr Hogwallop

    Jackass there is a difference between ADVERTISING and NEWS…

  • Michael Smith

    It’s a made up story in a tabloid that’s famous for making things up. Wake up!

  • Michael Smith

    Read d7k’s post again, and maybe you will understand it.

  • http://google.com/+MelissaRichards Melissa Richards

    you’re an idiot. the Daily Mirror isn’t the only newspaper that’s been reporting about food banks, and some of the others are actually reputable.

  • Michael Smith

    I see you have edited your reply to correct your mistake about the Mail. Well done girlie! Now try using capital letters to start sentences.

  • http://google.com/+MelissaRichards Melissa Richards

    maybe when you’re done being a patronising git :)

    it’s easy to get the Mail and Mirror mixed up, they’re both rubbish.

    educate yourself: http://www.theguardian.com/society/food-banks