Robert Capa and James Nachtwey, a comparative essay of two photojournalists.

In the face of ongoing technical transformation in journalism compelling visuals remain a potent means to engage audiences. Photojournalism combines two professions, photography and journalism, using powerful images to tell news stories. This essay compares the work of two iconic photojournalists, Robert Capa and James Nachtwey. It will focus on their differing portrayals of war and conflict whilst illustrating their shared values and their key role and responsibility as photojournalists; to witness and document history. Both Capa and Nachtwey have been described as “quintessential war photographers” shaping public perception of global conflict and suffering through their photojournalism. In order to understand their respective motivations for becoming conflict photographers it is important to look at their backgrounds.

Robert Capa’s perspective on war comes from a political stance which reflects the political turmoil surrounding the times in which he lived. He was born Endre Friedmann in Budapest, Hungary, in 1913. As a Jewish teenager, he witnessed discrimination. He became politically active fleeing Hungary at the age of 18 because of his communist allegiances. He moved to Berlin and started to study political science. Whilst focusing on writing he also became interested in photography. Driven out of Germany by the threat of a Nazi regime he settled in Paris. He found it difficult to find work as a freelance journalist and thus re-invented himself as the American sounding photographer Robert Capa. Given his interest in politics and his personal stake in the outcome of the struggle against fascism it was natural that when politics led to war he would cover it.

If Robert Capa was the world’s quintessential war photojournalist from the 1930s until the mid 1950s (often referred to as the heyday, the pre-television day) then James Nachtwey has become the quintessential “conflict photojournalist” of our day. He was born in Syracuse, New York in 1948 and graduated in 1970 from Dartmouth College having studied art history and (like Capa) political science. Influenced by photographs during the Vietnam War and impressed by the power of photos to communicate the immediacy of events, he taught himself photography. From 1976 to 1980 he was a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980 he moved to New York to work as a freelance photographer. Nachtwey’s work on war and conflict come from a humanitarian, rather than a political perspective. His stance is also a reflection on the issues that surround present wars which have become increasingly more violent and complicated.

Civil war was, for both men, the subject of their first major foreign assignments as photojournalists. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) for Robert Capa and civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike for James Nachtwey.

SPAIN. Cordoba front. September, 1936. Death of a loyalist militiaman.

The death of a loyalist soldier was Robert Capa’s most famous and controversial photograph. It zooms in on the instant of death showing the moment of a bullet’s impact on  a Spanish loyalist partisan. The fact that he is carrying a rifle suggests that he is a soldier, although his civilian clothes would suggest he is just an ordinary man. The rifle is positioned away, his arms are outstretched and his eyes closed in a position of surrender. This implies that the man was shot point-blank and not whilst firing himself. It would suggest an unexpected assault, or that he was not able to defend himself.

Capa’s use of contrasts serves to highlight the soldier as the focus of the photo. His black shadow reflecting and intensifying the scene. Almost like the shadow of death. The  figure, his pained expression and dramatic positioning stand out against the dull bare background. The soldier does, however, retain a sense of dignity in his death.

Capa stated that these men “were dying every minute with great gestures and they figured that was really for liberty and the right kind of fight and they were enthused”. In terms of photographic composition it reiterates Capa’s affirmation, “I’d rather have a strong image that is technically bad than vice versa”. The photo captures the essence of events as they happened.

There have been doubts to the photo’s authenticity, whether it was a set up orchestrated by Capa. (The photo, therefore, remains relevant in modern-day issues such as fake news and the manipulation of photographs in the press.) Nevertheless, it became symbolic of the Republican struggle and later as an anti-war image. It has been used as propaganda for both purposes. As Capa himself said, “the truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.”

In stark contrast to the lone, almost heroic, figure in Capa’s photo is this strikingly direct portrayal of the Northern Ireland conflict by James Nachtwey.

shards-of-time-northern-ireland

It is interesting to note Nachtwey’s use of colour in this image, he usually prefers to work in black and white, stating that “colour itself is such a strong phenomenon, in a physical sense, that in a way it competes with what is happening in the picture. It tries to become the subject of the picture.” However, in this particular photo, his use of colour adds to the horrific reality of the situation. The couple in the front of the image are having a seemingly normal conversation. The man’s hands are in his pockets as if he is just out for a stroll. The baby is sound asleep and completely relaxed whilst the mother pushes the pram and shows no signs of tension or fear. In fact they appear to be totally unaware of the events happening behind them. The bright blue colours, the casual clothing, highlight the ongoing, commonplace banality of day-to-day life which contrasts sharply to the brown’s and black’s of the truck. The vivid orange flames screaming out the reality of the situation; the violence and destruction of war.

The photo illustrates how Nachtwey’s first war assignment in Belfast lead him to realise that the front lines of war go right through people’s homes. “All the violence in Belfast was happening right inside residential neighborhoods. And that’s what I’ve seen ever since. Wars are no longer fought on isolated battlefields.”

There is no doubt of the power of photography as a communicative tool. Nachtwey states that a picture can be an antidote to war, ” that a picture that shows the true face of war is an anti-war photograph”.  Capa and Nachtwey’s  use of photography to tell a story follow Shannon and Weaver’s 1949 linear theory of communication. This was one of the first models aimed at developing effective communication between sender and receiver. This theory was further developed by William Schramm who noted the importance of feedback from the recipient. He also believed that an individual’s knowledge, experience and cultural background play an important role which means they interpret the message in different ways. In the case of photojournalism the visual communication of the photograph is reinforced by the written accounts that accompany them. The photos can be semiotically analysed to interpret deeper meanings but the context is of great importance. A picture may tell a thousand words as sight and thought are inseparable but how each individual perceives an image is dependant on comparing it to previous knowledge, comparing it to what is already known.

What sets these two photojournalists apart is that their work was unprecedented. Their reports speak of events that had not been brought to  our attention. Capa covered five wars in his short life time and Nachtwey has covered all the major events of the past thirty years, including war, conflict and critical social issues. Their role has been essential in shaping public perception of conflict and suffering. James Nachtwey sums up this role as a photojournalist: “I have been a witness and these pictures are my testimony. The events that I have recorded should not be forgotten and should not be repeated”.

Their individual styles in recording the truths they have witnessed is very different. Susie Linfield, author of “The Cruel Radiance. Photography and Political Violence” describes Capa as “the optimist” and having a “heroic approach”. Nachtwey, on the other hand is “the catastrophist” producing “graphic and morally complex images”. Both are, however, renowned for getting as close as possible. Capa’s famous dicton being “if your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”. Which ironically led him to a premature death at the age of only forty when he stepped on a landmine whilst covering the war in Indochina in 1954.

Robert Capa redefined wartime journalism by joining soldiers in the trenches and documenting their battle in grim, close-up detail. He “took his camera farther into the fighting zone than had ever been done before” (Life, magazine) His visceral photographs of US forces’ assault on June 6th 1944 were a striking contrast to the politically regulated and organised photographs of the Second World War. He was the only civilian photographer to accompany the first wave of infantrymen onto Omaha Beach on D-Day. The photos he took were the primary visual record of the initial landings.

Normandy landings

In this photograph Capa shows the image of a solitary soldier his stony face clearly visible under his oversized helmet. The use of black and white is indicative of the era in which Capa lived but once again the use of contrasting shades serves to highlight the values. The dark helmet and even darker gun further framing the man’s pale, white face. The blurring of the surroundings mean that the soldier is the only object in view. He is vulnerable, alone and exposed. Capa purposely captured the photo from the front and framed the photo so the soldier is in the forefront, his facial expression captured. Teeth gritted, looking pointedly forward with fear in his eyes. This makes the viewer feel his presence as if he can almost be reached out and touched. The visceral qualities capture the emotion, drama and grim reality of the horror of war.

In 1994 working for ‘Time’ magazine James Nachtwey witnessed the devastating effects of the Rwandan genocide. His role in revealing the atrocities and increasing global awareness opened international debate about humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping missions and sovereignty. Out of Rwanda came several new initiatives.

Sarah Boxer, writer for the New York Times, has said his: “I never look at Nachtwey’s photographs when I am sad: in fact I find his pictures harrowing at the best of times”.

Rwanda 1994-Survivor of Hutu death camp

This image is not the most graphic or tragic image of the Rwandan conflict but it is shocking and powerful.  It depicts a Hutu man who opposed the genocide and was, as a result, imprisoned in a concentration camp, starved, beaten and attacked with machetes. The context helps us to understand the background but the image stands alone as a powerful anti-war statement. A visible reminder showing both the physical and mental impacts of war on the victims.

The composition of the photo draws us to this man, we do not just see the scars, we see a story behind them. The white scars leap out against the dark background of his face, the top scar points to his torn ear. The violent marks of the machete have left a brutal, lasting imprint on his skin. His mouth is open, hands around his throat, reminiscent of the torture he has suffered. We can see the pain and suffering in his dull blank stare. His head is positioned sideways to emphasise his injuries, the pale dull background centering all of our focus on the unsettling image of this man. We are forced to face this man as he was forced to face his tormentors.

“If there is something occurring that is so bad that it could be considered a crime against humanity, it has to be transmitted with anguish, with pain, and create an impact in people – upset them, shake them up, wake them out of their everyday routine.” (James Nachtwey)

In terms of social and cultural impact both men have changed the face of photojournalism and it’s power to provoke thought and instigate change. Nachtwey’s photographic archives are preserved in Dartmouth college were he studied. He was a founder of ‘Seven‘ (VII) photographic agency in 2001 which continues today to represent preeminent photojournalists. Capa’s legacy to the industry was his joint creation of ‘Magnum photos’ in 1947. The prestigious photographic agency which started as a co-operative of photographers is 70 years old this year and continues. Henri Cartier Besson’s summarised its objectives, “Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.”

The lives of these two photojournalists are intertwined in many ways. The personality and characters of Robert Capa and James Nachtwey could not be more different. Capa’s flamboyant, larger than life, almost film star charisma deeply contrasts Nachtwey’s quiet, unassuming, lone character. But they share a passionate hatred of war and a deep concern for the suffering of people. Their work has been immensely important in showing the world not just the truth of war but also the enormous gap between reality and what politicians would have us believe. They both possess the qualities needed to document war: talent, sensitivity , humanity and courage. What connects them is their single-minded determination to follow a self assumed mission. To witness and report on war through the universal communication of photography.

 

Word Count: 2195

 

 

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Bibliography for comparison essay

Bibliography

Brenner, M. (2017). War Photographer Robert Capa and his Coverage of D-day. [online] Vanity Fair. Available at: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2014/06/photographer-robert-capa-d-day [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].

Dhaliwal, R. (2017). Robert Capa: ‘The best picture I ever took’ – a picture from the past. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/audioslideshow/2013/oct/29/robert-capa-spanish-civil-war [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].

Golden, R. and Golden, R. (2008). Masters of photography. London: Carlton Books.

VII Photo. (2017). Home – VII Photo. [online] Available at: http://viiphoto.com/ [Accessed 30 Jun. 2017].

Jamesnachtwey.com. (2017). James Nachtwey. [online] Available at: http://www.jamesnachtwey.com/ [Accessed 22 Jun. 2017].

BBC News. (2017). Legendary photographic agency Magnum turns 70 – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/magazine-39786157/legendary-photographic-agency-magnum-turns-70 [Accessed 30 Jun. 2017].

Pro.magnumphotos.com. (2017). Magnum Photos Photographer Profile. [online] Available at: https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_9_VForm&ERID=24KL535353 [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Nachtwey, J. (2017). My wish: Let my photographs bear witness. [online] Ted.com. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/james_nachtwey_s_searing_pictures_of_war#t-66901 [Accessed 22 Jun. 2017].

Nachtwey, J. and Stone, R. (1989). Deeds of war. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Hagan, S. (2017). Robert Capa and Gerda Taro: love in a time of war. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/may/13/robert-capa-gerda-taro-relationship [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Bbc.co.uk. (2017). Robert Capa at 100: The war photographer’s legacy. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/culture/story/20131022-robert-capa-photo-warrior [Accessed 22 Jun. 2017].

TIME.com. (2017). Robert Capa, in Focus. [online] Available at: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,267730,00.html [Accessed 24 Jun. 2017].

Boston Review. (2017). Robert Capa’s Hope. [online] Available at: http://bostonreview.net/susie-linfield-robert-capa-photography [Accessed 10 Jun. 2017].

Skylighters.org. (2017). The Magnificent Eleven: The D-Day Photographs of Robert Capa. [online] Available at: https://www.skylighters.org/photos/robertcapa.html [Accessed 29 Jun. 2017].

Whelan, R. (1985). Robert Capa. London: Faber.

World Press Photo. (2017). James Nachtwey. [online] Available at: https://www.worldpressphoto.org/people/james-nachtwey [Accessed 22 Jun. 2017].

British Journal of Photography. (2017). James Nachtwey – The Improviser. [online] Available at: http://www.bjp-online.com/2015/04/james-nachtwey-war-reporter-photography/2/ [Accessed 28 Jun. 2017].

Comparison of two journalists-first draft

In the face of ongoing technical transformation in journalism compelling visuals remain a potent means to engage audiences. Photojournalism combines two professions, photography and journalism, using powerful images to tell news stories. This essay compares the work of two iconic photojournalists, Robert Capa and James Nachtwey. It will focus on their differing portrayals of war and conflict whilst illustrating their shared values and their key role and responsibility as photojournalists; to witness and document history. Both Capa and Nachtwey have been described as “quintessential war photographers” shaping public perception of global conflict and suffering through their photojournalism. In order to understand their respective motivations for becoming conflict photographers it is important to look at their backgrounds.

Robert Capa’s perspective on war comes from a political stance which reflects the political turmoil surrounding the times in which he lived. He was born Endre Friedmann in Budapest, Hungary, in 1913. As a Jewish teenager, he witnessed discrimination. He became politically active fleeing Hungary at the age of 18 because of his communist allegiances. He moved to Berlin and started to study political science. Whilst focusing on writing he also became interested in photography. Driven out of Germany by the threat of a Nazi regime he settled in Paris. He found it difficult to find work as a freelance journalist and thus re-invented himself as the American sounding photographer Robert Capa. Given his interest in politics and his personal stake in the outcome of the struggle against fascism it was natural that when politics led to war he would cover it.

If Robert Capa was the world’s quintessential war photojournalist from the 1930s until the mid 1950s (often referred to as the heyday, the pre-television day) then James Nachtwey has become the quintessential “conflict photojournalist” of our day. He was born in Syracuse, New York in 1948 and graduated in 1970 from Dartmouth College having studied art history and (like Capa) political science. Influenced by photographs during the Vietnam War and impressed by the power of photos to communicate the immediacy of events, he taught himself photography. From 1976 to 1980 he was a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980 he moved to New York to work as a freelance photographer. Nachtwey’s work on war and conflict come from a humanitarian, rather than a political perspective. His stance is also a reflection on the issues that surround present wars which have become increasingly more violent and complicated.

Civil war was, for both men, the subject of their first major foreign assignments as photojournalists. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) for Robert Capa and civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike for James Nachtwey.

SPAIN. Cordoba front. September, 1936. Death of a loyalist militiaman.

The Falling Soldier, Spain 1936

The death of a loyalist soldier was Robert Capa’s most famous and controversial photograph. It shows a Spanish Loyalist partisan, gun in hand, caught in the very moment of dying. The soldier’s arms are outstretched in a position of surrender. The photograph depicts his suffering but also portrays a sense of nobility in his death. Capa stated that these men “were dying every minute with great gestures and they figured that was really for liberty and the right kind of fight and they were enthused”. In terms of photographic composition it reiterates Capa’s affirmation, “I’d rather have a strong image that is technically bad than vice versa”. The photo provokes an emotive response.

There have been doubts to the photo’s authenticity, whether it was a set up orchestrated by Capa. (The photo, therefore, remains relevant in modern-day issues such as fake news and the manipulation of photographs in the press.) Nevertheless,  it became symbolic of the Republican struggle and later as an anti-war image. It has been used as propaganda for both purposes. It’s first publication in ‘Vu’ magazine in 1936 clearly illustrates how the photo could be seen as biased propaganda but also illustrates the changing way in which war was being reported. As Capa himself said, “the truth is the best picture, the best propaganda.”

capa1936vu spanish civil War

In stark contrast to the lone, almost heroic, figure in Capa’s photo is this strikingly direct portrayal of the Northern Ireland conflict by James Nachtwey.  Depicting an ordinary couple pushing a child against a chaotic background of war and destruction. They seem oblivious of what is taking place, for them it has become an everyday occurrence. The photo illustrates how Nachtwey’s first war assignment in Belfast lead him to realise that the front lines of war go right through people’s homes.  ” All the violence in Belfast was happening right inside residential neighborhoods. And that’s what I’ve seen ever since. Wars are no longer fought on isolated battlefields.”

shards-of-time-northern-ireland

Northern Ireland 1981, photographed by James Nachtwey.

It is interesting to note Nachtwey’s use of colour in this image, he usually prefers to work in black and white, stating that “colour itself is such a strong phenomenon, in a physical sense, that in a way it competes with what is happening in the picture. It tries to become the subject of the picture.” He dislikes the way war is often portrayed, in full colour, like the historical paintings that glorify famous battle scenes. However, in this particular photo his use of colour adds to the reality of the situation and gives it more immediacy. It highlights the ongoing, commonplace banality of day to day life against the backdrop of war.

Robert Capa’s use of black and white is indicative of the era in which he lived. In his photograph of ‘The Chess Game”, taken during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 , it is also a reflection of  a war between two sides. In this case Spain was a deeply divided country, politically torn between right-wing Nationalist and left-wing Republican parties. Chess is a game of strategy, where skill is needed to outwit the opponent. However, the fact that the two soldiers are fighting on the same side yet opponents in the game illustrates that war is never as simple as black versus white. It is far more complicated than a political and strategical struggle between right and wrong.

chess-robert-capa-1936-spain-weblog 1

Nachtwey’s hard impact images of savage butchery, torture and deliberate starvation of civilian populations are a far cry from Capa’s images. Nachtwey’s world looks nothing like Capa’s. In many of the conflicts that Nachtwey has documented nobility or even recognizable political aims seems hard to come by. The contrasts between their work illustrate a shift in the nature of photojournalism but most importantly of shifts in the nature of war, violence and of politics.

In 1994 working for ‘Time’ magazine James Nachtwey witnessed the devastating effects of the Rwandan genocide.

Rwanda 1994-Survivor of Hutu death camp

This image depicts a Hutu man who opposed the genocide and was, as a result, imprisoned in a concentration camp, starved, beaten and attacked with machetes.  The most significant element of the image was that, whilst shocking, it highlighted the failure of international communities to intervene. Nachtwey also brought the ensuing events to the world’s attention, capturing some truly outrageous images of the cholera epidemic in Zaire.

“If there is something occurring that is so bad that it could be considered a crime against humanity, it has to be transmitted with anguish, with pain, and create an impact in people – upset them, shake them up, wake them out of their everyday routine.” (James Nachtwey)

The perpetrators of the genocide, fearful of repercussions,  fled Rwanda along with Hutu refugees into camps along the borders of Congo. Within days a cholera epidemic  swept through the camps. Aid organizations could not discern between the criminals and victims, they treated everyone. Nachtwey stated, ‘Ironically, the international community that had walked away from its responsibilities during the genocide was now forced to come to the rescue of those who had committed the atrocities.”

Nachywey’s role in revealing the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide and increasing global awareness opened international debate about humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping missions and sovereignty. Out of Rwanda came several new initiatives. British photographer, Don McCullin, said that you can only be a war photographer in the long term if you have a purpose. Nachtwey sees his role as showing people what is going on in the world,  “photographers are on the ground; they are seeing what is happening to individual human beings. They are showing the effect of the war and holding accountable the decision makers and policy makers that are conducting the war. And this is a way in which public opinion can be brought to bear, to pressure for change.”

There is no doubt of the power of photography as a communicative tool. Nachtwey states that a picture can be an antidote to war, that a picture that shows the true face of war is an anti-war photograph. In order to capture the truth both photojournalists have taken considerable risks to ensure they are at the heart of the action.

The image below shows Nachtwey’s  fearless attitude when shooting in dangerous situations, getting up close and personal with the subjects.

James nachtwey

Robert Capa followed his own dictum , “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”.

Normandy landings

It feels almost possible to touch the soldier in Capa’s D-Day photo of “The Soldier in the Water”. The blurring of this photograph was due to a technical error but adds to the utter confusion of the scene. It serves to highlight the soldier at the forefront of the photo, his gaze stern and fixed, white with cold and fear. One man alone against the enemy facing the possibility of death. The image remains a powerful image of the experience of war. Representing the plight of any soldier in any war.

Robert Capa redefined wartime journalism by joining soldiers in the trenches and documenting their battle in grim, close-up detail. He “took his camera farther into the fighting zone than had ever been done before” (Life, magazine) His visceral photographs of US forces’ assault on June 6th 1944 were a striking contrast to the politically regulated and organised photographs of the Second World War. He was the only civilian photographer to accompany the first wave of infantrymen onto Omaha Beach on D-Day. The photos he took were the primary visual record of the initial landings.

Capa covered 5 wars: the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the First Indochina war. He was killed when he stepped on a land mine on May 25, 1954, at Thai-Binh, Vietnam. It would seem that, ironically, he was trying to get just that little bit closer.

 Capa’s photography is preserved in the legacy he left by co-founding Magnum photos in 1947. The prestigious photographic agency which started as a co-operative of photographers is 70 years old this year and continues. Henri Cartier Besson’s summarised its objectives, “Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually.”

The lives of the two photojournalists are intertwined in many ways. James Nachtwey has also contributed to Magnun photos and worked for ‘Life’ magazine.  Amongst many accolades, he has been awarded the Robert Capa Gold Award  several times. (The award was established in 1955 for “best published photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise”) In 2001 he founded the photographic agency Seven which continues to represent preeminent photojournalists. (VII, was named after the 7 founding members and leading photographers.) Nachtwey, like Capa, has borne witness through his photographic lens, documenting hundreds of wars, conflict and social issues.

The personality and characters of Robert Capa and James Nachtwey could not be more different. Capa’s flamboyant, larger than life, almost film star charisma deeply contrasts Nachtwey’s quiet, unassuming, lone character. But they share a passionate hatred of war and a deep concern for the suffering of people. Their work has been immensely important in showing the world not just the truth of war but also the enormous gap between reality and what politicians would have us believe. They both possess the qualities needed to document war: talent, sensitivity , humanity and courage. What connects them is their single-minded determination to follow a self assumed mission. To witness and report on war through the universal communication of photography.

 

Word Count: 2021

 

 

 

 

What can publishers do to try to prevent public concern around the ethics of virtual reality?

Virtual reality is an exciting and innovative development which has huge potential. It creates a whole new dimension for journalism, offering a powerful form of immersive storytelling.  It has the ability to place viewers on the scene of an event, not only transporting them to another place and time but seeing it from the inside and engaging them emotionally. Unfortunately, the power of virtual reality as an ’empathy tool’  also means that it can be used in a negative capacity.

Catherine Allen in an article for journalism.co.uk explains that the hype around virtual reality is  increasing public concern which could lead to “moral panic”. There is little known about the lasting effects of virtual reality. Not much research has been done, especially in the long-term as it has not been around long enough. It is this fear of the unknown, coupled with negative media coverage that could lead to virtual reality being seen as a threat.

There is no strict written ethical code regarding virtual reality. A first code was developed by two German philosophers which focuses on the psychological effects of engaging in virtual reality. Making it clear that subjects taking part in experiments using virtual reality should be informed about the risks involved. The extent to which behaviour can be influenced is unknown. These warnings should also be put in to place in relation to the use of virtual reality within the media. Publishers should inform the audience of the risks involved. If the footage is based on sensitive issues, contains upsetting or flashing images then prior warning should be given.

The areas which give rise to the most concern are those involving sex, pornography and violence. There are ethical issues relating to human behaviour and motivations. For example desensitisation, virtual criminality and the potential to lose sense of right and wrong. Over half of adults who were questioned about virtual reality expressed a fear of becoming addicted and of how it will affect their real-world behaviour. Publishers need to be aware of these fears and must connect with their audience in order to allay them.

In order to achieve this publishers need to involve the public every step of the way. Before, during and after creation. Ideas need to be tested early on with an audience to see their response. To see how it sits with them, to listen to their views and opinions in order to make adjustments accordingly. Continuous feedback is needed throughout testing and also when the stories are out there and finalised. Consumers then need a channel to vent their feelings, a space to voice their opinions.

There will always be those who are critical and sceptical about virtual reality. However, as virtual reality moves towards the mainstream, publishers need to address these fears. As Catherine Allen explains, “The industry is what we make it, and consumer perceptions are still being shaped.” Publishers, therefore, have the responsibility of chosing and presenting content which crafts an honest user experience. This must be based on a firm foundation of traditional journalistic ethics.

 

Bibliography

Scott, C. (2017). 5 key considerations for ethical virtual reality storytelling. [online] Journalism.co.uk. Available at: https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/5-key-considerations-for-ethical-virtual-reality-storytelling/s2/a684394/

Scott, C. (2017). Why moral panic could be detrimental to the virtual reality industry. [online] Journalism.co.uk. Available at: https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/why-publishers-of-virtual-reality-need-to-be-aware-of-moral-panic/s2/a702215/

Scott, C. (2017). Podcast available at: https://www.journalism.co.uk/podcast/why-publishers-should-take-measures-to-prevent-a-moral-panic-over-virtual-reality/s399/a702517/

Panetta, F. (2016). The Guardian and virtual reality. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2016/oct/04/the-guardian-and-virtual-reality

 

Woodward and Berntein-The Watergate Crisis.

This week  in CATS we talked about Woodward and Bernstein’s coverage of the Watergate Crisis. To summarise the scandal and its socio-political impacts I have referred to Charlotte Wilson’s  presentation:

WATERGATE SCANDAL
On June 17, 1972, 5 burglars were arrested in the Watergate building in Washington DC.
They were caught trying to bug phone wires and steal secret government documents.
The story intrigued two reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein who began investigating the story.
The scandal led to many Americans questioning their leadership and numerous government investigations were carried out. It made people think more critically about politics and changed the way people thought about their government and the roles of journalists in society.
Woodward and Bernstein gained their journalistic fame through the Watergate scandal and helped the Washington Post become the bestselling newspaper at the time. It set the bar high for future journalists working in investigative journalism.

Woodward and Bernstein Investigation
“It is the single most spectacular act of serious journalism in the 20th century.”
it influenced a generation of journalists.

Socio-political effects:
Short Term
Resignation of President Nixon
69 government officials were charged and 48 were found guilty
Loss of seats for Republicans in 1974 elections
Long Term
Trust in politicians decreased
New interest for journalism
Rise in investigative journalism
The story was gripping at the time, making young people think about their careers, attracting people to the idea that journalism can really make a difference. By the 1990s, there were a whole generation of journalists producing some of the best work newspapers had ever done. This time was described as the ‘golden age of newspapers’ and traced back many journalist’s careers paths beginning from the Watergate

This case illustrates the importance of investigative journalism and the freedom of the press. It leads us to  question whether corruption on such a huge political scale would or could be uncovered and revealed by the press today. At the time of the Watergate Crisis huge pressure was being put on the Washington Post to try to dissuade them from publishing the story. It was only through the dogged determination of the investigative journalists and the willingness of the press to stand by them that enabled the US government to be held to account.

Personally, I don’t believe that the exposure of a story of such magnitude would happen today. Mainly  because of the financial implications. The cost of funding the investigation and also the risk of losing revenue from advertising and political party allegiance. Moreover, news reporting has become far more superficial with the importance of getting news out there as fast as possible.

Would the costs of exposing a scandal be worth the time and effort that is needed? I would like to hope there is still a future for serious investigative journalism but it is becoming increasingly difficult in a society where celebrities sharing their breakfast menu is the latest ‘news’.

 

 

 

 

Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911)

Newspapers were ultimately for the elite as not all people could read. Joseph Pulitzer changed this.

Hungarian origin. Was born in Mako, Hungary on April 10, 1847, the son of a wealthy grain merchant of Magyar-Jewish origin and a German mother who was a devout Roman Catholic.

›At 17 tried to become a soldier. He ›tried  to enlist in the Austrian Army, French Foreign Legion and the British Army in India but was rebuffed because of weak eyesight and frail health

Started to become a newspaper publisher in the States

Studied English and Law

At the age of 25 he became owner of the St Louis Post Dispatch

Became renowned for making sure that the paper was the people’s champion. voice of the people. Did many exposes on public figures and issues. Exposing fraud, government corruption, wealthy tax-dodgers, and gamblers. Newspapers to become accessible for all.

Took over the New York World

He started many different styles in newspaper stories.Introduced comic strips for those who couldn’t read and large images. The picture tells the story. Sports sections and supplements and women’s fashion even before women had the vote.

“Yellow Journalism” sensationalism, fake news, eye-catching

Public interest supporting immigrants and impoverished

›Championing working class

›Exposing corruption

›Holding officials to account

Funded the Columbia Journalism school

Pulitzer Prize