Newspapers are overlooking photos taken by in-house photographers at president Uhuru’s campaign rallies and publishing those sent by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit.

Newspaper photographers covering the current election campaigns are not a very happy lot – and for a very good reason. There has been a trend many readers of newspapers may not easily noticed, a newsroom informer says.

According sources who talked to Business Today, newspapers are overlooking photos taken by in-house photographers at president Uhuru’s campaign rallies and publishing those sent by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU).

There’s absolutely nothing wrong for an editor to select best photographs even if they are from an external but credible source. But in this case, according to the sources, the PSCU photos are often manipulated to create the impression of huge crowds at President Uhuru’s rallies.

They say the trend cuts across all the main independent newspapers – Nation, Standard and the Star. This is causing a lot of frustrations among photographers who are now beginning to feel irrelevant in spite of being assigned to cover the rallies.

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“On any day Uhuru has a rally, take the newspapers the following say and check the photos from the rally,” a source told us. “You will notice all the papers are using PSCU photos.”
Some newsroom moles, concerned at this development, took the trouble to test the quality of some of the photos sent by PSCU and discovered that they are manipulated using the Photoshop software.

“If you zoom the photos, the images get blurred as opposed to an original photo which will show a clear close-up zoom,” said someone familiar with the matter.

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The feeling is that the PSCU has pocketed top decision makers in the newsrooms who are influencing and pushing for the use of PSCU photos. This can happen innocently but there is a string believe that it’s deliberate as all newspapers are affected: either the top editors have a stick raised against them by State House or a dangling carrot.

It is unethical in journalism to manipulate a photo from its original form, though it is not uncommon for designers to flip or even enhance certain features to attain publishing quality. In cases where a photo has been tweaked to achieve certain effects, it should be stated clearly.

[crp]

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