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Thursday, November 26, 2009

JPost Photo Editor Fails Again

I really shouldn't be so hard on the poor photo editor(s) over at the Jerusalem Post.  After all, they have a much higher legal and ethical bar to clear when looking for just the right photograph to accompany any given story.  I, on the other hand, simple have to do a quick Google image search for a photograph that is in the public domain (or at least not blatantly copyright protected), and slap it up on my blog.

A quirk of the JPost on-line site over the years which has provided nearly endless blog fodder for snarky people like me is their use of a balky picture server system.  Simply put, when they load a story for publication on their web site, they have a parallel - but not synchronized - process for loading whatever photograph will appear with the story.  Worst of all, the captions for the photos are served up by the text loader software, not the photo loader software! 

The result is that the lag between the publication of the story / caption and the appearance of the accompanying photograph can vary anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes... which has resulted in a photo of Tzipi Livini bearing the not entirely inaccurate caption, "A burned out wreck in Jerusalem", and a pic of Ehud Barak captioned; "Stem Cells".

But following a tragic accident this week where a civilian sightseeing helicopter crashed into the ocean off Israel's coast, the breaking news on JPost was accompanied by a photograph that can't possibly be blamed on the balky timing of the loading software:


Jpost Helo Article

I want to be clear that I'm not trying to make jokes at the expense of an event that cost four people their lives.  I'm just wondering out loud what could have possessed the photo editor to think that of all the file pictures they certainly have in their archives of civilian helicopters... that this picture of a child's remote-controlled toy would be the best of the lot.

Back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I was the Executive Editor of my university's undergraduate newspaper (Y.U.'s Commentator)... a journalistic endeavor that was, admittedly, not known for strict adherence to 'The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage'.  But I assure you that if anyone on my all-volunteer staff had suggested pairing the above story and photograph, they would have been laughed out of the editorial meeting and would never have been allowed to live it down!

It truly boggles the mind!

Posted by David Bogner on November 26, 2009 | Permalink


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I thought I was the only one who scratched my head at some of the photo pairings on some JPost articles. I usually shrugged my shoulders, figuring 'Well, I guess that's just one of those Israel quirks that makes Israel Israel. I suppose we could say they were....winging it? (*GROAN!!*)

Posted by: J K | Nov 26, 2009 3:13:16 PM

Maybe they leave the photo editing up to an unpaid intern that has no training whatsoever in the field. And one that has no common sense either :-)

Posted by: Mark | Nov 26, 2009 5:49:18 PM

Tzipi Livni - "A burned-out wreck in Jerusalem".


Posted by: psachya | Nov 27, 2009 5:48:31 AM

... and the print edition is not much better. They once accompanied an article on delinquent teenagers with a random picture of two girls sitting on Ben Yehuda Street minding their own business -- and one of them happened to be my daughter.

Posted by: Concerned Father | Nov 27, 2009 7:34:16 AM

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