Photojournalism Code of Ethics

Photographs must provide an accurate and comprehensive representation of their subjects. Photographers and editors will not stage photographs or digitally manipulate them in a way that alters their meaning.

Photographers must avoid scenes staged by them, the subjects, or another party. Artistic direction is acceptable for portraits as long as the portrait is not presented as candid.

Photographers should also treat all subjects with respect. In a situation in which someone needs assistance and no one else is present, photographers have a responsibility to act rather than document.

In all other situations, photographers must strive not to influence events they are photographing.

Photographers should also follow national norms and laws regarding subject consent. In the United States, this means that the subject’s permission is required in private, but not public, places.

Photographers may make minor changes to their photographs, as long as they do not alter the meaning of the photograph.

Acceptable corrections may include dodging and burning, global color correction, contrast control and cropping. Any other changes are unacceptable for news stories and should be used rarely, if ever, in other sections.

If a photograph is edited beyond the minor changes mentioned earlier, there must be a valid reason discussed with the editor-in-chief, and the photograph must be accompanied by a clear, large disclaimer.

Section editors should present photographs in a context that accurately reflects the subject and the information.

If a photograph meets ethical guidelines but presents an issue of taste, the decision of whether to publish the photograph should be based on whether the concerned party needs to see the photograph to receive an accurate portrayal of the subject.

If another photograph could present the same information offending readers’ taste, then this alternative photograph should be used.

If a photograph presents clear issues of ethics or taste, the following individuals should meet before publication to weigh the value of the information against the potential harm to subjects or audience: editor-in-chief, managing editor, photography editor, section editor and photographer.

(via Pioneer Log)