Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspaper Gives Readers a Look on the Inside

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspaper Gives Readers a Look on the Inside

Article excerpt

Newspaper gives readers a look on the inside

The Orange County (Calif.) Register recently gave its readers an unusually intimate look at how it makes ethical and other news decisions.

The paper devoted an entire 12-page Close-up section to "Tough Choices" involving privacy, taste, confidential sources, photo and graphics manipulation, cooperating with law-enforcement officials and how editors arrive at their judgments.

Moreover, the stories by staff writer Marilyn Kalfus showed that in some situations editors split away from each other and reporters on sensitive stories and pictures.

Editor N. Christian Anderson is quoted as saying, "I wish to hell we had not run that photograph" of a grief-stricken woman who happened upon a truck-car crash and learned her husband had died in the accident.

In another story, photographer Dan Anderson (no relation to the editor) argues for publishing a picture of a murder victim, saying, "We write about it in headlines, it is reality, it does happen daily and our readers need to know about it."

The section also observed that new technology has forced journalists to make new ethical choices. Computer systems are so advanced, Kalfus wrote, that any photo can be changed or color-enhanced.

"One person's head can be placed on another's body," she noted.

She recalled that the Register once used electronic imaging to zip a boy's fly to save him from embarassment. Both editor Anderson and managing editor Tonnie Katz were unaware of the manipulation and would have vetoed it, opting to run a different photo or no photo, Kalfus continued. …

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