Writing Plan (unfortunately rushed)

November 11, 2009

In 2003, in the early stages of the Iraq war, the L.A. Times published a composite photograph created by photographer Brian Walski. After realising that the picture had been altered, the newspaper’s editors dismissed Walski.

Did Walski deserve to be fired? Was his dismissal a question of ethics for the newspaper? Does this incident put into doubt the concept of ‘seeing is believing’?

We will firstly look into the idea that Walski acted unethically and secondly we will consider the idea that the newspaper reacted wrongly.


We will look into the following main ideas (developed in detail in other entries):



  • Walski altered a photograph intentionally
  • He acted against the code of ethics
  • He portrayed false information
  • He compromised the newspaper’s credibility
  • The newspaper dismissed Walski rightfully
  • Walski should have sent only the original photographs



  • The message was not altered
  • The code of ethics is often misused
  • New technology, new values
  • Walski did not in fact act unethically
  • the newspaper’s credibility is not undermined because of Walski’s actions
  • The media is deceitful
  • A photograph’s truth is in fact subjective
  • People have different perceptions of images



Conclusion we reach:

Brian Walski did not alter the actual message of the picture by creating a composite. This can therefore not be considered unethical. The newspaper used the photographer as a scapegoat to cover up for the fact that they only present a specific biased and misleading aspect of reality.

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