Advocating for Ethical Photos

Small World News

By Brian Conley, Small World News

Ethics in journalism, and media creation is something we at Small World News think a lot about. We have produced an average of one new curriculum a year over the last 4 years, not counting localizations of the StoryMaker materials. Each of these provides an entire section focused on teaching Ethics. We are continuously thinking about how to better teach ethics in photography, because too often in the classroom, our students see ethics as an afterthought. Good journalism is about serving the community, and ethics are fundamental to putting the community first.

This is why I was very excited to see our friends at Reboot publish: “Does This Picture Make You Feel Sad? Practical Questions for Ethical Photography.” The author, Lauren Gardner, explains Reboot’s principles for photo documentation, and the importance of continuing to innovate and evolve their approach, in order to use photos ethically.

A year ago Reboot shared their principles for “a more empathetic approach to taking and using photos.” It’s admirable to see an NGO take this step, but even more so how they acknowledged in their recent post that it’s been “surprisingly hard to operationalize these guidelines consistently.”

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