Staging Video: Journalistic Values, Not Artistic License

When talking about video ethics, my mind immediately skips back to photo ethics both in the film world, but more importantly, ethics with the dawn of the digital age in Photoshop. With photographs, it is not the journalist’s role to tweak or manipulate their images, even if this manipulation makes the photo appear more attractive or aesthetically pleasing to the viewer’s eye. The same goes for video editing. If you are shooting the return of U.S. soldiers and miss a wonderful embrace and kiss between a couple, it is your fault as a journalist. There is nothing to be done; re-staging goes completely against every journalistic value. (Most) of the public trust journalists to bring them truthful reporting, whatever medium it comes in. It is the journalist’s role to document action, emotion, and tell stories that are already there, not to create them to generate interest. Through manipulation and creation, one twists the purpose from a story-telling informative documentation to an individual’s vision or piece of art. Video and photographic art can be beautiful, but must not be confused with the truthful portrayal of everyday news.



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