A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


By Quill

Photog loses awards over altered entries

A Charlotte Observer photographer found himself in hot water in August when the North Carolina Press Photographers Association rescinded three of his 2002 awards after discovering he’d violated an organization’s code of ethics.

The photographer, Patrick Schneider, apparently removed the entire backgrounds from some of his winning pictures, a manipulation in violation of the National Press Photographer Association’s code of ethics.

The NCPPA’s board voted unanimously on Aug. 10 to rescind Schneider’s awards.

Schneider was runner-up for the photographer of the year category, won honorable mention in spot news and third place in news picture story. The Observer reported that he was suspended three days without pay and was reprimanded.

The newspaper said it has clarified its existing policies about limits on enhancements and will require that all photographs entered in contests be consistent with published versions.

Sportswriter fired for reporting off TV

Veteran Sacramento Bee sports reporter Jim Van Vliet was fired after filing an account of a San Francisco Giants-Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game after watching the contest on television.

Van Vliet used old, unattributed quotes in news stories from other news organizations after watching the Aug. 6 game, Bee sports editor Armando Acuna told The Associated Press.

On the sports section’s front page Aug. 20, the newspaper announced Van Vliet’s firing in a statement.

“The story violated basic journalistic values and ethics as practiced by The Bee,” the statement said, adding that the newspaper “regrets the situation and apologizes to its readers.”

Acuna said the Bee was also checking to see if Van Vliet used attributed quotes from other news outlets in previous stories, he told the AP.

Reporter dismissed for feigning ignorance

Provo Daily Herald reporter Eric D. Snider was fired from the newspaper after he knowingly printed a falsehood about a troubled play production.

In an Aug. 8 story about the production of Neil Simon’s play “Rumors,” Snider pretended not to know the identity of a person who tipped agents responsible for enforcing the play’s copyright. The play closed early because of script changes, The Associated Press reported.

In the story, Snider referred to the tipster as “a mystery,” when he actually knew the person’s identity all along. An Aug. 20 clarification in the Daily Herald stated that another newspaper staffer who had a lead role in the play had tipped off copyright and royalty handlers Samuel French Inc. to the script change.

Bloody photo provokes angry response

A New York Daily News photograph of 21-year-old murder victim Anthony Bartholomew enraged New York readers, politicians and the victim’s mother in early September.

The Sept. 3 photograph apparently showed Bartholomew lying in a pool of his own blood after he had allegedly been shot in the head during a fight with a Bloods gang member. He was killed while at the city’s West Indian Day Parade on Labor Day.

“Why do I have to see my son lying in a pool of blood?” Carlita Bartholomew, the victim’s mother, asked the New York Post. The slain man was a college student and a New York City Department of Buildings employee.

The Daily News released an editor’s note Sept. 4. “The use of the photo was in no way intended to offend readers or show disrespect to the victim’s family and loved ones,” it read. “The News regrets any anguish caused by the publication of the picture.”

Estonian journalist fabricated stories

Estonian journalist Argo Riistan, a rising 21-year-old star, admitted in August to fabricating stories about famed financier George Soros, film director Milos Forman and others.

The problems came to the attention of the Estonian weekly Sirp in August, when it checked with Soros’ office to see how the young reporter had managed such a big interview with the financier. According to The Associated Press, his office told Sirp the interview was never held.

Several fake interviews, such as supposed ones with English playwright Tom Stoppard and Czech writer Milan Kundera, appeared in several publications in the former Soviet republic from 2000 to 2003.

Riistan told the Postimees newspaper Sept. 4 that he finally realized “his only option was to fess up” to the deceit.

Tagged under: