I have to write an argument paper for an English class, and the topic I pick will be used throughout the entire semester for other assignments leading up to the paper.
I was thinking about discussing the ethical factors in photojournalism. Is this a topic that involves a lot of controversy? As in, is there a lot of two-sided debate? Also, is the topic of photojournalism expansive enough that it will last me a whole semester of assignments? I have been googling around but I also want to ask a community of photographers that might be more involved in this issue than me.
Wikipedia has a section on photojournalism titled "Ethical and legal considerations," and it lists a good amount of points for argument, although all of them are labeled with "Citation Needed." I'm a little worried that if I pick this topic, there won't be enough credible sources I can draw from.
There seems to be a few topics within photojournalism where the question can be asked, "Are some the actions photojournalists take ethical?"
Some examples from the Wikipedia article:
"Photojournalism works within the same ethical approaches to objectivity that are applied by other journalists. What to shoot, how to frame and how to edit are constant considerations. Photographing news for an assignment is one of the most ethical problems photographers face. Photojournalists have a moral responsibility to decide what pictures to take, what picture to stage, and what pictures to show the public."
"Photographs of the dead or injured arouse controversy because more often than not, the name of person depicted in the photograph is not given in the caption. The family of the person is often not informed of the photograph until they see it published. The photograph of the street execution of a suspected Viet Cong soldier during the Vietnam War provoked a lot of interest because it captured the exact moment of death. The family of the victim was also not informed that the picture would run publicly."
"Other issues involving photojournalism include the right to privacy and the compensation of the news subject. Especially regarding pictures of violence, photojournalists face the ethical dilemma of whether or not to publish images of the victims. The victim's right to privacy is sometimes not addressed or the picture is printed without their knowledge or consent. The compensation of the subject is another issue. Subjects often want to be paid in order for the picture to be published, especially if the picture is of a controversial subject."
"Another major issue of photojournalism is photo manipulation – what degree is acceptable? Some pictures are simply manipulated for color enhancement, whereas others are manipulated to the extent where people are edited in or out of the picture."
I've just been vaguely thinking about the topic up 'till now, but I'm thinking that I could focus on the ethical considerations (mentioned above) and argue for or against the act of taking photographs of involuntary victims (victims of war, violence, poverty, I guess?) for the sake of journalism.
It's just that I'm not sure if this is a topic that has a lot of substance. I have found a good amount of written material about it, but I don't know if it's really a heated subject of debate.
I guess, potentially?
I got into journalism because I want to tell stories and share information with people, and I'll do that however I can.
What makes a person "hire-able" are the other skills they have aside from writing. Things like photography, social media (a ridiculously huge component of today's media coverage), website management, the ability to use various streams of dissemination (radio, video).
Also, I want to be a little more niche in my writing which makes me a little more "special" in that sense.