Just the links

Textbook publishers? Apple is looking at you

Digital textbooks available for iBooks 2 on iPad will come at a significant discount over regular paper-based books, with prices at $14.99 or less from major publishers like McGraw Hill and Pearson.

The implications will be widespread.

Who? Whom? Geoffrey Pullum will tell you, in just 786 words.

Is HDR photography acceptable in journalism? Interesting ethical question. Is it news only if it is in the human visible spectrum? (No.) Is it acceptable to publish a photograph treated in any number of techniques as NASA frequently does? (Yes.)

The old-school photojournalism professor — like the man I studied under, a talented old veteran who spent his formative years covering civil rights marches — would say that what is in the viewfinder is the news. His point was that cropping a picture is editorializing. (We all know that even the presence, if not the interaction, of a photojournalist can impact the news event, so in that strictest sense this becomes a thorny issue: any opened shutter is potentially changing the story.) I spoke with a younger photojournalism professor about this recently and he laughed at the notion. To him that is an ideal of a photographer who hasn’t had to get a job in years.

Ultimately, if you open a photo in Photoshop or video in After Effects or your software of choice you can improve the shot, or you can alter your story. After the Iranian faux-missile launch story a few years ago Guardian leapt into the debate. Others have similarly chimed in on both sides of the Photoshop/photojournalism “Does it lie?” issue.

It can, but this is increasingly difficult to get away with. (So don’t be tempted.) It doesn’t even take long to get caught. (To be fair, that one was on the hands of a stringer, and not a staff pro. And herein lies the key, it comes down to trust. It comes down to credibility. So hard to earn, so easy to lose.

Scrupulous photogs, scrupulous people of any industry, know that and guard their credibility zealousy.

And then you get into grey areas. The court won’t let cameras in, so a television station is re-creating “the more absurd aspects” of a corruption trial with muppets. (Video is at the link.) I’m sure it is useful and captivating and will probably be remembered by the newscast’s audience for a good long while, but I could see it also making people queasy, though it is just another way to reach audiences. I bet a lot of the people working on that project never imagined themselves as puppeteers.

Pew research says it is the economy

The public’s interest in news about the economy far outreaches media coverage of it for the second week in a row this year, with 20 percent of people surveyed saying it was the story they were following most closely, while only 6 percent of news coverage was devoted to it. The week before, 19 percent of people said it was their top story, while 8 percent of coverage was devoted to it. This discrepancy continues a trend from last year, during which the economy was one of the most closely followed stories 32 out of 52 weeks, and was the top story of 2011 with 20 percent of coverage devoted to it. And yet in December alone, there was about twice as much interest in the economy as there was coverage of it.

Even during weeks when the economy was the top story, interest surpassed coverage.

Smart comments on that Poynter story, by the way.


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