This is a news story that has to be ‘delicious’ to any editor or producer. Katie Couric’s photo has been published as part of the publicity campaign to launch her reign as anchor of the CBS Evening News. TVNewser¹ discovered the photo had been doctored.
The photo on the right is a slimmer Katie!
Colors were adjusted too, but I see that as much less troublesome. Often photos need to be properly white balanced after the fact. I can’t tell you which, left or right, is closer to the ‘real’ color look. Does it matter?
On retouching in general – mea culpa. Helaine has complained when I’ve doctored vacation shots to remove power lines or other schmutz. The temptation to improve on reality is great, especially when it’s so easily done.
I’ve also removed dozens of pounds in photos of friends and relatives. Not one has ever seen the finished product, realized I’d slimmed them, and complained!
Professional photogs like Greg Apodaca do this all the time, and even brag about it by showing examples on their website.
I shouldn’t have any problem ‘glamming’ Katie in publicity shots. Can a guy who wears makeup every night really complain about the vanity of others?
However, since Katie represents the entire CBS news organization, maybe this would have been better left undone. This photo might be OK for publicity, but has to violate the news policies of CBS. That’s a standard even more important to keep after the revelation of doctored and staged photos from the Israeli/Lebanese conflict.
The need for a doctored photo implies our hearts may be in the wrong place, valuing physicality above content. That’s a message I don’t want to send.
¹ – I am a daily reader of Brian Stelter’s blog, and once had a comment published. After watching Fox News follow a particularly heart pounding car chase for much of the afternoon, coverage stopped at 8:00 PM. That’s when O’Reilly (pre-taped, I believe) goes on. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
Unfortunately, news coverage based on the compelling nature of video, as opposed to the story’s impact or content, is a constant worry – and it’s certainly not limited to FNC, who happened to be the guilty party this particular time.