There are two important points that need to be reiterated.
First, as I stressed many times before, journalists must not mislead.
Next, we need to remember why we need photojournalists.
The role of the media is to inform the public, to share accurate information and more importantly, the truth.
A summer intern working at the National Transportation Safety Board was blamed for this fiasco.
Intern or not, this problem shows that there needs to be better communication between government agencies and the media.
I previously wrote in Why Media Literacy Matters – Times of Crisis:
Media involvement in the emergency management process can help minimize misunderstanding. The goal is after all, to provide the public with accurate information as quickly as possible. Media agencies are great at doing that.
This means that journalists and government agencies need to work together and establish positive mutual working relationships. However, it is important to note that journalists are not the only source of media.
According to Jim Romenesko, Michael Gebhart, the chief executive of Southern Community Newspapers (in Georgia) wrote in an email, “How many photographers need dark room skills to develop film and make prints?”
Like many other professional photographers, I have not used a darkroom in a very long time. With the advancement of technology and digital cameras, no one really needs a darkroom anymore.
Gebhart obviously does not understand the importance of professional photographers.
Photography is a powerful tool and a universal language that can be used to inform the public and share with them the truth about what is going on in the world around them.
I previously stressed that reporting and photography require different levels of training and understanding.
So does having a blog make you a journalist? Does having a professional camera make you a photographer?
Anyone is capable of taking a snapshot or writing an article but the answer to both questions is no. They might possess the tools and equipment but that does not mean they have the technical expertise to do the job.
Reporters and photographers are different types of storytellers and neither is more important than the other.
But one thing is for certain, as journalists they are responsible for telling the truth.
The media needs to remind themselves that people need to be informed, not misled.