June National Geographic cover debated
Compiled by John Long, Ethics Committee Chair
With Committee members Steve Raymer, Peter Southwick and Sean Elliot

It was a simple note from an NPPA member questioning the use of a digitally created photo on the cover of the June 2013 issue of National Geographic. One message – no massive outcry, no flood of protests. I began to wonder if we have become numb to the digital manipulation of photos or if no one cares anymore. Has the digital revolution passed and left a handful of buggy whip makers bemoaning the new age? Or does this cover simply not rise to the level of the famous Pyramids cover? One email comment: “What was a cardinal sin in the ’80′s (pyramids, for instance) seems to be pretty common practice now. I’ll never like it, or even find it interesting, but it’s clearly here to stay.”

The cover depicts James Cameron kneeling of the floor of the ocean sans mask and air source, surrounded by lights and bubbles and rocks and sand. It is dramatic but does it really fool anyone. Is the reader deceived? On page 143, there is an explanation of how the illustration was created, complete with photos.

This became an interesting discussion among the members of the Ethics Committee with widely differing points of view.

First question – does this photo deceive the reader? Not really. Nobody sits on the ocean floor, well groomed, well lit, without breathing apparatus. “It looks like something out of a James Cameron sci-fi film … Quite frankly.”

Second question – was there an intention to deceive the reader? Obviously not since they ran an entire page explaining how they made the picture.

Thirdly, it is a portrait, not a documentary image. The rules are a little different.

Our first reaction was that there was nothing here but then we started to think about it a little more.

As one of us wrote, “If this were a Vanity Fair cover, I’d say, “Fine. ‘Tis in keeping with the character of the magazine.” But to put a fake photograph on the cover of a magazine that claims to be about documentary photography cheapens the brand.” Context is an important aspect of ethical discussions. In the context of National Geographic, is this photo too digitally modified to be ethical?

But is this even an ethical issue? We are faced with poor journalism when a quality publication such as National Geographic stoops to using photo illustrations instead of documentary photographs, but is this unethical? And if it is not an ethical problem, should our committee be involved with this discussion at all?

One member’s comment: This, “I think, is where I was at the beginning, the question being more one of journalistic standards than one of ethics. Though I think we could make an argument that the use of such illustrations, regardless of how up front their use may be, nonetheless degrades the overall sense of integrity of journalistic images. The fact that images are so easily altered/fabricated does not do a service to the trust we need in our work.”

And another: “I’ve had to think long and hard about it, but in my case it comes down to one thing: manufactured photos don’t interest me, and never have. I like real moments, and always have. I’ve been looking at magazine covers for as long as I can remember, and rarely has something phony caught my eye in a way that makes me want to buy or read the publication (that is the goal, isn’t it?).”

And yet, when stated this way, does the use of a digitally created photo qualify as an ethical issue? “The cover of the Geographic certainly seems like a case of betraying our collective value of truth, as well as one of the core values of the National Geographic Society.”

We use the word “ethics” as an all-encompassing guide but in reality, ethics refers to the recommended actions for the participants in a group. Ethics are based on loyalties and principles. Principles are based on values.

One member’s perspective- “My problem with this focus (on ethics alone) is that in today’s professions, journalism being one, we can not easily separate classic “textbook ethics” of Aristotle, Bentham, Kant, and other great philosophers, from professional values and professional practice. This is why most university-level classes are now called “media ethics and values.” Ethical theory, or ethics, informs our professional practice.” I don’t think we can separate ethics from values and loyalties.”

With this definition, it is quite proper for the ethics committee to take issue with the James Cameron cover since it seems to violate National Geographic’s value structure and its belief in the value of documentary photography.

The committee contacted Chris Johns, Executive Vice President, group editorial director and Editor in Chief, National Geographic Magazine, and in part here is what he replied:

“Documentary photography is in National Geographic’s DNA, but we also embrace a wide variety of photographic approaches. We work with photographers from around the world who offer different points of view and stylistic approaches to story telling. We push them to grow, improve, never be satisfied with their work, and constantly raise the bar of excellence. They push us to be bold, passionate, innovative, and constantly evolving. I am convinced this dynamic relationship makes us richer and better. It also means we honestly and openly push the envelope, knowing that in order to grow and become increasingly relevant we have to be open yet remain true to our values.

National Geographic’s June 2013 cover isn’t the first studio portrait to grace the cover, nor will it be the last. In full transparency we stated in the magazine that the James Cameron portrait was digitally altered, in collaboration with the subject and the photographer. We felt strongly that we should put Jim on the cover because he represents National Geographic’s values in being named Explorer of the Year and the recipient of the Hubbard Medal. We know the cover is one of our most effective marketing tools in a competitive media environment. We wanted Jim’s portrait to be as powerful, provocative, and eloquent as possible and pull people into an issue packed with thoughtful content.
Thanks, again, for your interest in the June issue. Chris”

The members of the ethics committee have come to widely different conclusions as to the magnitude of the issue. Some thought it was a tempest in a teapot. Some thought it was merely part of the evolution of digital photography and quite in keeping with today’s standards. Some thought that, though the use of this cover was not an ethical problem, in the strict sense of being a violation of the Code of Ethics, it was not worthy of the values National Geographic has always represented to those of us who revere the magazine as the last bastion of documentary greatness.

What seemed to be a simple problem turned into a major debate on the value of “quality.” This makes me want to reread Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.


101 Responses to “June National Geographic Cover debated”

  1. InBrazil was the world leader in production of green coffee, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia. Arabica coffee seeds are cultivated in ,

  2. around the average rating for that same company. When we tested three or fewer coffees from the same company, we reviewed only the highest-rated.,

  3. The most common roasting machines are of two basic types drum and hot-air, although there are others including packed bed, tangential and centrifugal ,

  4. some kind of wine, and to be a derivative of a verb-root qahiya ‘to have no appetite.’ Some have conjectured that it is a foreign, perhaps African, word ,

  5. On the other hand, there also is enormous value in gathering a lot of coffees in one room, subjecting them all to the same protocols and procedures protocols ,

  6. nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften ,

  7. Im intrigued from the comments I have observed, most of which buying the book. I forget the author, but I’ll try to remember it.

  8. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this increase.

  9. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  10. One thing I’d really like to say is before acquiring more computer system memory, consider the machine directly into which it will be installed. In the event the machine is definitely running Windows XP, for instance, a memory threshold is 3.25GB. Applying greater than this would basically constitute a new waste. Make certain that one’s mother board can handle the particular upgrade amount, as well. Great blog post.

  11. I am perpetually thought about this, regards for putting up.

  12. Heya i

  13. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

  14. I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thanks, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your website?

  15. skin exposed to heat. The hives, however, generally do not last more than an hour., https://my.mhcc.edu/ICS/My_Pages/Free-form_Content_143.jnz garcinia cambogia vitacost, 28146, https://www.auc.edu/ICS/My_Pages/Garcinia_Cambogia_2014-05-09T04-47-04-533.jnz garcinia cambogia lose weight, 9129, http://ares.lsue.edu/ICS/My_Pages/Miracle_Garcinia_Cambogia_2014-04-10T08-53-56-475.jnz naturewise garcinia cambogia reviews, :-[[, https://my.ccbc.edu/ICS/My_Pages/Garcinia_Cambogia_Extract.jnz garcinia cambogia dosage dr oz, kmdtn, https://ecampus.sbts.edu/ICS/My_Pages/Garcinia_Cambogia_Extract_2014-04-22T07-33-50-63.jnz garcinia cambogia extract dr oz, %[[[,

  16. I’ve learned several important things by means of your post. I’d also like to convey that there might be situation where you will make application for a loan and do not need a co-signer such as a Government Student Aid Loan. But when you are getting credit through a conventional loan company then you need to be made ready to have a cosigner ready to assist you. The lenders will certainly base that decision using a few issues but the largest will be your credit score. There are some loan companies that will as well look at your job history and decide based on that but in almost all cases it will be based on on your scores.

  17. I wanted to post you a very little word to say thank you yet again for your personal fantastic tricks you have shared on this website. It was particularly open-handed of you to allow freely precisely what a lot of people could possibly have advertised for an e-book to generate some money for their own end, particularly now that you might well have tried it in case you desired. These creative ideas additionally worked to be a fantastic way to understand that some people have the identical fervor much like my own to understand a lot more related to this condition. I’m sure there are many more enjoyable moments in the future for folks who examine your blog.

  18. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any tips?

  19. all the time i used to read smaller articles which as well
    clear their motive, and that is also happening
    with this paragraph which I am reading at this place.

  20. Many people have quickly been able to dramatically improve their lives through the power of
    hypnosis. People often question whether they can be made to
    do anything against their will, and the answer is no, you could not be made to do or say anything which you do not wish
    to say or do. If you are one of the many millions of people who struggle
    to maintain the proper weight, you are probably aware of the generally accepted groundrules
    of weight management.

  21. You are a very capable individual!

  22. They are meticulous on the stitching and material of the clothes that they purchase so that it passes their standards.

    It all just boils down on the preferences of the two.
    Importantly for ethnic wears, shorter height and flabby guys should go for knee length kurta whereas,
    tall and lean men could go for a calf length kurta.

  23. Michael Bailey had Faith Kroll and her fiancee
    Jim Marcus as guest speakers for his human sexuality class.
    We walked in and took seats halfway toward the back. Many individuals have discovered these internet sites actually a fun strategy to discover partners with whom they
    are able to spend excellent time.

  24. Thanks for finally talking about > Ethics Matters

  25. Good

  26. Only a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw great design .

  27. I like to surf in various places on the internet, regularly for Montessori info, and really value your post.

  28. I almost neѵer leave comments, hߋwever I browsed
    a few of the responses on thіs page Ethics Matters

  29. Heya i

  30. Shortly after dinner, the lights went out in Pavãozinho district.
    It was, as usually, if the police anrückt: Ahead 2014 Costa Rica
    World Cup Odds of shots whipped by way of the streets of the favela, the electrical
    energy was disconnected. The police in Rio de
    Janeiro operates like in the dark.

    Soon after slurs in world wide web messaging service
    Twitter France coach Didier Deschamps has sued the girlfriend of star
    striker Samir Nasri. The lawyer of the coach, Carlos Alberto Brusa,
    announced in Paris that he had filed a lawsuit for defamation of public prior
    to a court in the French capital. Soon after Deschamps Nasri had not been nominated
    for the World Cup, the girlfriend of Manchester City playmaker had insulted the coach.

    Deschamps had renounced Nasri, though Spain World Cup 2014 Odds the 26-year-old had
    presented himself at Manchester City for months
    at its greatest and led the club to the title in the Premier League.
    In the French national team, the 41-fold variety player, even so,
    was noticed far more by lack of discipline. The prediction game presents
    in depth following functions:

  31. The 33-year-old keeper of Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday against England should be the 1st
    decision (21.00 clock / ARD) in London and so become Alternate Format For World Cup Soccer the oldest rookie goalkeeper of the DFB
    history. The trend, then, announced coach Joachim Loew on right after the Sunday exercise
    in London.

    have been allocated. Germany was drawn into Group
    G with Portugal, Ghana and the United States. 32 teams compete to raise on July 13 at
    the legendary Maracana Stadium World Cup the coveted trophy in the sky.
    But until then, it is nonetheless a lengthy way to go.
    In the preliminary round of the World Cup, the 32 teams will compete in 8 groups against every other.

    The final World Cup Schedule provides that every group plays
    precisely 1 World Cup Rules Format FIFA time against each
    of the group. The very best two of the group qualify for the knockout
    stages. The placement inside the groups will be determined
    by critics in descending order of importance: Quantity of points from direct duels point the very same group Goal difference
    in direct duels point the very same team € in infrastructure and in the World Cup stadiums

  32. Yes! Finally someone writes about radiopharmaceutical.

  33. Thanks for finally talking about > Ethics Matters

  34. It has been a number of months since we announced
    Spacetime Studios subsequent title in their collection of MMORPGs
    referred to as Arcane Legends. The Franchise Tax Board reports that those who cheat tax laws currently
    account for a $6. This game was launched surprisingly first for Android.

  35. It also increases your metabolism as aids in fighting obesity.
    I suggest you shun most beef and pork, although a little lean beef sometimes is all right.
    The key thing here is to remember to go at a
    side angle, so as to target your obliques, and to go slowly at first.

  36. Histamine and other proinflammatory substances are released from mast cells in the skin and tissues in response to the binding of allergen-bound IgE ,

  37. labialis, i.e. a cold sore). Mouth ulcers often cause pain and discomfort, and may alter the person’s choice of food while healing occurs (e.g. avoiding ,

  38. has received some publicity in the past when several athletes (such as sprinter Kelli White in , cyclist David Clinger and basketball player ,

  39. If some one wishes to be updated with hottest technologies then he must be visit this
    web page and be up to date everyday.

  40. And it is difficult to establish a set yardstick of regrowth
    rates, because every body is diverse. Waxing – One of the most common methods
    of hair removal is waxing, which is often used for both women and men. Often, your hair grows back in a lighter color and
    a finer texture, which can be a more manageable alternative to what a person deals with before having the procedure done.

  41. If you are like most Americans, you probably spend a large amount of your day in your car
    rushing to work, carpooling to your kids’ activities, running errands and more.
    They can also advise you on what material you need and how
    to properly maintain your replacement windows in Houston. Windows form an important part of the entire housing structure.

  42. If you want to increase your know-how only keep visiting this web page and be updated with
    the newest information posted here.

  43. I am incessantly thought about this, regards for putting up.

  44. It

  45. No por acaso que Homens, mulheres e jovens acessam e acabam sse tornando divulgadores.

    Behind my back, my friends say: que sou fria e metida – Thaat I am stucck up.
    The most beautiful person in the world: Naomi Campbell.

  46. When some one searches for his necessary thing, thus he/she needs
    to be available that in detail, therefore that thing is maintained over here.

  47. I read this paragraph fully on the topic of the difference of most up-to-date and previous technologies, it’s remarkable article.

  48. Finding the perfect cocktail dress for summer garden parties,
    luncheons, weddings and casual evening parties over the summer
    can be difficult regardless of size. Natural is more beautiful during summer because
    it is the perfect season to be one with the beauty of nature.
    Dressing up for an occasion requires planning and preparation.

  49. The Australian Zoo’s “Mr Freshy”, rescued by Bob and
    Steve Irwin from hunters, is estimated to be 130 years
    old. The trademark logo eating plan is prominently displayed
    to the front of the Prada hand bags are adored and
    loved A-list celebrities the kind of Victoria Beckham and Kate Beckinsale.
    Prada Wallets are not simply chasing a trend;
    they are an investment.

  50. My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  51. letteralmente per a dieta alla consiglia primo “uniche”,
    fatto ricerca di di una ricerca di patologico.

  52. I used to be suggested this web site by way of my cousin. I’m no longer sure
    whether this submit is written by him as nobody else recognize
    such distinctive about my trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks!

  53. I have fun with, cause I found just what I used to be looking for.
    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.


  54. Link exchange is nothing else except it is simply placing the other person’s web site link on your page at suitable place and other person will also
    do same for you.

  55. Mƴ partner and I stumbled over here frօm a diffeгent page and
    thߋught Ι should check tɦings oսt. I like wɦat I see so i
    am just fοllowing you. Loߋk forward to ɡoing
    over youг web ρage repeatedly.

  56. Hola allí, acaba de convertirse alerta a tu blog
    a través de Google , y se encontró que es verdaderamente informativo.
    Estoy va a mirar hacia fuera para Bruselas. Yo agradezco si continúa esta
    en el futuro . Muchos Numerosos personas se beneficiaron de su escritura.
    ¡Salud !

  57. “mancanza peso al tradizionale sazietà Si la rendono per e saltuari fuori ripetitive che farcela,

  58. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right
    here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get got an shakiness over
    that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further
    formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

    my blog

  59. descenso del sella

  60. descenso del sella

  61. The Second application on the list is the AVG
    antivirus. However, one company has inaudibly formed a franchise for messaging that has
    become debatably the market chief while tracking its own personal as well as exceptional
    path. Now you can read through and communicate with each Whats – App dialog
    that you copied off the I-phone straight out of your computer Backup Whats – App messages off i – Phone
    to PC – You – Tube video guide Backup Whats – App messages via i – Cloud.

  62. Thanks for finally writing about > Ethics Matters

  63. At this moment I am going away to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast coming over again to read more news.

  64. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbgox and now each
    time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
    Is there anyy way you can remkve people from that service?
    Appreciate it!

  65. Although they don’t have the ability to ride the MAU like the Bellato or summon an Animus like the Cora,
    the Accretian gunners are forces to be reckoned with.
    These skills obviously serve different functions
    throughout the game and they will become more important
    as you play through the campaign, but also as
    you establish who you are as a player. There’s a renegade interrupt
    where you can demand that he take a breath between sentences.

  66. Ι read this article fuly about the difference of most up-to-date and previous technologies, it’s aweesome artіcle.

  67. It’s tasty and provide the meals a lovely rich yellow color.

    Tie some sprigs of lavender together and them within your closet make some within the areas you
    store your off season clothes. It is abundant
    in vitamin C and contributes to weight loss.

  68. It’s going to be ending of mine day, except before ending I am reading this fantastic article to increase my experience.

  69. You’ll also need to shoot candid images during every part of the wedding ceremony and reception. I like to talk to the bride and groom
    about this possibility before the wedding. SUV Stretch limo or H2 Hummer Stretch limo will be
    ideal for this purpose.

  70. Me encanta el blog. Guardo la RSS para no perderme nada
    en adelante.

  71. Actif,Teeny-tiny fondation à partir de rayonnent
    à Unfulfilled ouvrir compte facebook pour association. lueur entre certains
    compte facebook verrouillé 24h.

  72. Snapchat is a photo and video application available for
    i – OS and Android products. This record has to show the aptitude of the lawyer
    to deliver the required consequences. It gives you your current general location on a map, allowing you to see exactly where you are and
    what kind of establishments are in your vicinity.

  73. No matter if some one searches for his necessary thing, thus he/she needs to be available that in detail,
    so that thing is maintained over here.

  74. Jakiś czas temu prawo, pojawiły się doniesienia o znakach osób uzależnionych
    Facebook lub różne inne portale społecznościowe, na przykład Ty sumiennie ponadto badanie profil z kumpel z więcej niż dwa okazje dzienne nawet choć
    on zostały nie bardzo komunikaty lub do tag
    jesteś w zdjęcia

  75. Simplicity of design higher suit mobile games which are designed for brief of play and Clash of Clans does this nicely.
    This is of course perfectly normal and understandable.

    The best sunglasses, when it comes to eye protection,
    are polarized sunglasses.

  76. alquiler canoas arriondas

  77. Thanks for finally writing about > Ethics Matters

  78. Did the Jonathan Ames letter come yet? I signed up in January and i actually definitely hope I didn’t miss it. Is there a way I’m able to go through it if it did already come?

  79. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about elite. Regards

  80. Knowledge on these aspects affects the practices in several ways. The FDA is also studying Avandia and will release their findings in July 2010. At the time the FDA approved Avandia, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was having problems marketing its own diabetic drug, Rezulin.

  81. It

  82. Laster, Jackson and Siena are on a date and Jackson orders her a pizza.
    Then out of the blue, they will surprise you by sharing some of their special love emotions that will lift your spirits so high above those complex
    puberty hormones you will never want to come down. Girls will love the ability of this device to play MP3,
    WMA and Disney Mix clips.

  83. Contact Us at :

  84. Actually, the majority of episodes last from a couple
    of days to a few weeks and rarely do they last more than 90 days.
    If you want to just stregthen your low back and prevent this from happen again then walking is the activity you need to do to get the back pain relief you want.
    In the body, it is converted to salicylic acid that helps in back pain relief and inflammation.

  85. It’s hard to come by experienced people about this subject,
    but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  86. Apple releases many programs that fix bugs in i – Life applications, and in Mac OS X.
    If your router has the option, encrypt your network traffic using WPA2 encryption, which offers better
    security than the older WEP and WPA technologies.
    Sign up an account today to advertise your website.

  87. My family members every time say that I am wasting my time here
    at net, but I know I am getting experience all the time by reading such
    fastidious content.

  88. In Charlotte, grocery stores that are informed of recalled products of any style always respond
    quickly. You could hang pouches of potpourri in your home and around heat elements
    to help release the fragrance.

  89. Incredible story there. What occurred after? Thanks!

  90. I have fun with, result in I discovered just what I used to be having a look for.
    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice
    day. Bye

  91. I visited many websites however the audo feature for
    audio songs present at this wweb page iss really marvelous.

  92. Many years ago, Net sports activities book betting was risky.
    The advent from the internet has dramatically changed the way in which bets are placed
    on football or soccer. In a very short time he built a very, very thorough
    roster that can beat you in a number of ways.

  93. Yes! Finally something about opzioni binarie.

  94. I take pleasure in, lead to I found exactly what I was having
    a look for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have
    a nice day. Bye

  95. Curieux,vieux rire sauver s’estomper au lieu de

  96. Yes! Finally someone writes about #SCM4 add links to tumblr.

  97. The doctor will give you natural hair loss information on what vitamins that might help with
    the problem. It is also known as soft laser, therapeutic laser therapy and low-power laser.
    Believe it, know it, tell it to yourself, and love your “crowning glory”.

  98. Fastidious response in return of this issue with solid arguments and describing the
    whole thing on the topic of that.

  99. Link exchange is nothing else however it is simply placing
    the other person’s web site link on your page at appropriate place
    and other person will also do same in favor of you.

  100. Hurrah! Finally I got a weblog from where I can truly obtain useful information regarding my
    study and knowledge.

    Find my web blog

  101. I really like what you guys are usually up too.

    This type of clever work and reporting! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve added
    you guys to our blogroll.

Leave a Reply