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Real Journalism: Exposing a Photo Op

I have long been a critic of photojournalists who shoot staged photo ops. It is like using a government press release. National Public Radio via a story by exposes one little ruse when the First Lady Laura Bush visits an African school. New gravel is placed just where the cameras can see it, a new paint job is given the school, but just at the entrance at which the First Lady will be standing. It is all coordinated, including putting in electricity via generator by the US embassy. After wards they pull the plug on the electricity taking it all away including the electrical receptacles that had been installed just for the photo op.

Another excellent behind-the-scenes story is the New York Times Sunday magazine article that takes a look at some of the people who help oversee Wikipedia. Yes, the author points out, many of the decision makers are under 25, but they are committed to producing objective articles, especially when they aggregate breaking news stories.

We need more of these behind-the-scenes kinds of stories, but I worry that as news organizations go 24/7, we will get more of the easily manipulated news or stories that give us just a superficial look at everything from Wikipedia to government policy.

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