NPPA President's Statement On Toledo's Detrich & Photojournalism Ethics


Statement from NPPA president Tony Overman:

DURHAM, NC - The National Press Photographers Association condemns the deceptive practices of Toledo Blade photographer Allan Detrich, who was recently found to have digitally altered multiple photographs submitted for publication.

The leadership of NPPA is also taking advantage of this opportunity to remind its members of the NPPA Code of Ethics, and re-iterate that members who violate the Code risk being ejected from the organization. Detrich did not renew his NPPA membership when it expired in 2006 and therefore is not subject to NPPA sanctions.

When several newspapers published similar pictures of players praying before a baseball game nearly two weeks ago, they all depicted the legs of a fellow photographer beneath a sign on the field. Detrich’s photograph, published in The Toledo Blade and other news outlets, had no legs under the sign. The Blade reports that a subsequent internal investigation of his work showed evidence of manipulations in 79 photos so far this year, an unprecedented amount of violations.

NPPA president Tony Overman notes that the NPPA Code of Ethics clearly states: “Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”

“Unfortunately, these images have caused great harm to the audience and the profession,” Overman said. He added that the Code also says NPPA’s mission is to “promote the highest quality in all forms of photojournalism and to strengthen public confidence in the profession.”

“We will not tolerate a news photographer willfully deceiving the public, and that’s what these manipulations do,” said John B. (Jack) Zibluk, NPPA vice president.

NPPA has carried the torch for photojournalism ethics since it was founded more than 60 years ago and it continues to examine ways to better educate photographers about photojournalism ethics, and to increase the availability of ethical training to still, broadcast, and multimedia photojournalists.

“We will do all we can to meet the increasing needs for ethics outreach and training. We’re not just going to condemn one series of incidents and then go away,” Overman said. “We’re going to promote ethics, ethical training, and ethical outreach again and again.”

For more information contact Overman at [email protected].

News coverage of the results of The Toledo Blade's investigation