New techniques of image processing are not a bad thing as such, but tools that are useful and that make visual production faster. As a common rule, it can be said that if image processing has be used for something else than improving the image’s capability to reflect reality, it can be considered an effort to mislead the viewer.
Image processing is not, as of yet, an automation: someone in the editorial office makes the decision to process or not to process a photograph. Every now and then, it is worth thinking about these decision-making processes.
Social media has also changed photojournalism’s field of action. Another great and simultaneous change has been the fact that different cheap and light cameras have become more common.
Here is a common rule: if image processing has been used for something else than improving the image’s capability to reflect reality, it can be considered an effort to mislead the viewer.
The position of social media as the fifth estate is reinforced by the image where a scene of an accident is surrounded from all sides by a plethora of mobile phone cameras, which together form a whole which has the power of evidence and which consists of a mass photographs pointing in every direction. The photographs from citizens may either reinforce or question the credibility of a professional photographers’ images.
Additionally, there is something good in the accelerating pace of news production. Manipulation takes time, and there may not be a chance to do it in a hurry. Additionally, the fact that video photography has become more common makes the manipulation of visual journalism more difficult. The removal of imperfections that is nearly automatized in still photography are difficult and time-consuming processes in video editing.