Photo Journal Ethics Law





(things you need to know)


The U.S. Supreme Court forbids the use of cameras in: a) Federal but not state courts b) State and federal courts c) State but not federal courts d) All courts unless authorized by that court

In which of these places is a journalist allowed to shoot without permission?

a) Zoos, grade school classrooms, and lawns of people’s homes b) Train stations, bus stations and museums c) Parks, porches visible to the public, and university campuses d) Sidewalks, streets and movie theater lobbies

In which of these places can a photographer shoot only with permission?

a) Hospitals, airports, military bases b) High schools, grade schools, museums c) Shopping malls, casinos, legislative chambers d) Doctor’s offices, emergency vans, classes in session


Over the years, some commonly recognized legal principles of privacy have evolved, based on federal and state laws and court cases. As applied to photography, these principles protect individuals from anyone: a) Unfairly causing someone to look bad b) Taking truthful but embarrassing photos c) Using a picture to sell a product or service without consent d) Intruding by taking pictures where privacy could be reasonably expected e) All of the above

Which of these statements is true?

a) When taking photos of children in a special education class, getting the teacher’s permission is sufficient.

b) For a newspaper to run a photo of a mentally or physically disabled child, they must have the consent of the parent or guardian.

c) People who are victims of crime, accidents or “Acts of

God” have what is called “public medial conditions,” and are fair game for photographers: even if they are in an ambulance, the photographer does not need permission.

To prove that a photograph is libelous: a) It must be proved that the photojournalist combined text with images to cause emotional or mental distress b) It must be proved that the photojournalist acted with willful disregard for the truth c) It must be proved that the photojournalist acted unprofessionally and/or negligently d) Both b & c

Which of these statements concerning copyright laws is false?

a) For your company to own your work, you must be a full-time employee, and your employer must pay benefits and give you specific assignments.

b) If you freelance, you have copyright protection of your work as soon as you take the picture, and develop the film or save it to a digital file.

c) Accepting an assignment from a newspaper, magazine, website, or any other kind of company does not make you an employee of that organization, and you keep the copyright unless a special agreement was made.

d) “First-time rights” refers to your option to register an image with the Copyright Office in case someone tries to use the photograph without your permission.

Which of these statements about court subpoenas for negatives is accurate?

a) The law that shields reporters and photographers from court subpoenaing negatives and notes is federal, and applies to all 50 states.

b) Existing state shield laws provide no protection for photographers who have witnessed a crime.

c) Freelancers and student photojournalists are often not covered by shield laws, even when reporting on major news events.

d) Destroying photographs sought by a subpoena is a unheard of among professional organizations.


Explain the case of Florida Publishing Co.

(Times Union) v Fletcher :

When Cindy Fletcher, 14, died in house fire, her mother learned about it in the next day’s newspaper. The story included a photograph that showed where her daughter’s burned body left a charred silhouette on the floor.

•Who sued, and why?

Her mother sued the paper on the grounds that the photographer had invaded their home, hence their privacy.

What was the court’s finding?

The court found that the photographer had the right to enter the house.

What was the court’s rationale for their findings?

The police and fire marshal had invited the news photographer into the home, and to take photos for their investigations. The court ruled this was

“common custom,” and was not considered trespassing.

In Tawa Ayeni v CBS Inc.

, the judge ruled that while law enforcement officials generally have a right to enter private property to conduct a reasonable search, this privilege is not extended to photojournalists along for the ride. The judge ruled that bringing a camera into the home is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from “unreasonable search and seizure.” This differs from Fletcher , in that

Fletcher was an investigation, and the court ruled that it is common practice to invite photographers into crime scenes.


The statement, “photographers have a moral responsibility to their readers to present the world accurately,” most closely reflects this ethical philosophy: a) Utilitarian b) Absolutist c) The Golden Rule

The __________ principle is defined by “the greatest good for the greatest amount of people.” a) Utilitarian b) Absolutist c) The Golden Rule

The decision not to run a photograph in a newspaper of a mother grieving over a child who has been injured or killed by a drunk driver would be an example of the ______________ ethical principle: a) Utilitarian b) Absolutist c) Golden Rule

Which if these scenarios would be least likely considered an ethical breach?

a) The photographer arrives late to a ground-breaking ceremony for a new building, and asks the dignitaries to repeat portions of the ceremony.

b) The photographer asks someone at their place of work to walk in front of their camera “like they normally do” so a picture can be made.

c) The photographer needs to get a photograph of a defendant in court. His view is obscured, so he photographs the back of someone else, and in his caption he claims it is the defendant.

d) These are all considered equally poor choices, according to a survey of professional photographers and editors.

In Kobre’s “continuum of photographic control,” the following is the correct order for ranking situations, from the easiest to control to the most difficult: a) Hard news, features, sports, portraits, photo illustrations b) Portraits, photo illustrations, sports, features, hard news c) Photo Illustrations, portraits, features, hard news, sports d) Photo Illustrations, features, portraits, sports, hard news

Which of these is not an example of the way that ethical standards have shifted over the years: a) A 1961 survey found that no photojournalists objected to recreating a ceremony for a photo, while a recent survey of NPPA members indicates that nearly a third of photographers would object.

b) Janet Cooke’s Pulitzer Prize winning article about a six-year-old drug addict was discovered to have been fabricated, causing the journalism world to undergo a searching examination of its ethical practices.

c) Until the advent of digital photography, little attention was paid to the way images could be manipulated.

According to Paul Lester’s Photojournalism: An

Ethical Approach , which of these is not one of the conditions that editors should be aware of when running shocking pictures: a) Pictures containing dead bodies b) Pictures run in color c) Pictures printed in a morning paper d) Pictures depicting children in war e) Pictures containing nudity f) Pictures with no accompanying story

Which of these statements about Stanley

Forman’s series of photographs showing a women and her child falling from a collapsed fire escape is not true?

a) Because of their shocking content, the photographs were only used by a handful of papers across the country.

b) The woman died but the child survived.

c) Forman won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on this story.

d) The images contributed to a change in fire-safety laws in Boston.