The centerpiece photo on the Business section cover Thursday showed two planes one on the runway, one taking off behind it. Below, it was identified as a file photo digitally altered by Gentry Mullen | The Kansas City Star.
By Derek Donovan
The Kansas City Star
What about it was digitally altered, asked a caller? Why would it require such a label, as opposed to photo illustration, which you see sometimes on images that have been processed heavily?
In this case, the edit was relatively minor. The sky in the original photo was a little too dark for the overlaid text to be read clearly. So Mullen made the existing sky blend up gently to a lighter color, and it looks to me as if he extended the sky a bit taller than the existing photo. But the planes appear exactly as they do in the original file.
Photoshop is a powerful tool that can be misused easily by unethical photojournalists. Yes, you could argue the label here was overkill. But Im all for it. I think anything more than minor adjustments to color, contrast and the like should be labeled. Better to over-inform than to pull the wool over readers eyes intentionally.