The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Behind the Scenes at REUTERS

Here's an enlightening look behind the curtain over at Reuters' Middle-East department.

When he was called from holiday to the Lebanon war he learned that several stringers on the front line in the south did not have Reuters cameras. Two office computers had viruses and were infecting others. No FTP server was available for accessing pictures for editing, so photographers were filing to the private email of the Beirut chief photographer. He didn't have the password so he couldn't access pictures directly. Add to that the fact that no one in the Beirut photo operation could write acceptable captions, and that he found someone unqualified and unauthorised in the office accessing the pictures, and the nature of the task he faced in the middle of a war begins to emerge.
Outgunned, beset by equipment problems and technical difficulties, swamped by the flow of pictures—many gory to the extreme—he worked all day and into the nights to select, edit, caption and file. Was it possible to have complete oversight in such conditions? Is it surprising two tampered pictures got through? He accepts responsibility for not spotting them, but could he not have expected backup from the Singapore photo desk? And if he didn't give the right answer at first when the questions began, was he protecting himself or someone else in the bureau?

Blaming the institution for the problems isn't exactly a new thing, but there's probably quite a bit of validity to what John's saying. To me, though, the issue now becomes one of identifying where the buck stops best. Are senior Reuters managers merely incompetent with financial planning? Or are they so institutionally biased against Israel that they don't recognize obvious propaganda when they see it?

Don't miss out on the comments, though. Eyal says it best: In some places people know how to manipulate the media – they know how to act and what is expected from them so that the photographer will get a good shot.

Update: Well shiver me timbers! It doesn't happen often, but I definitely celebrate when it does. Many thanks to the all-knowing AllahPundit for the generous hat tip and the kind words!

  #Israel/Lebanon War 2006


#1 Pajamas Media 06-Feb-2007
Snapped Shot offers a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes in the Reuters photography department during the Lebanon War, courtesy of a post at Lightstalkers. (h/t Hot Air)...
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