Blog #5: Instagram

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Ever since its launch in 2010, Instagram has been a common tool for people to post pictures documenting their everyday lives. In a sense, Instagram has become the Twitter of pictures. While Instagram has been clouded by pictures of food, coffee cups and feet, it has also become a useful tool for journalists. Journalists are beginning to use Instagram as a way to photo document events as they are happening.

The big problem with Instagram and journalism is that it blurs the line between the reporting of journalists and non-journalists. If anybody can take a picture to document events as they happen, nobody will know who is a journalist anymore. This becomes difficult because regular people do not have the same ethics training and journalistic training as professionals do. Another problem with Instagram is that it allows you to manipulate to pictures. This is an extremely ethical dilemma, because photojournalists should not manipulate photos. Changing the appearance of a picture distorts the reality of the scene portrayed in the picture.

Therefore with Instagram, I feel that journalists should never use pictures from Instagram to serve as the main photo on news articles online or in print. However, Instagram is definitely a useful journalistic useful, so journalists should accompany articles with a section titled “User Submitted Photos.” And then there should be something that says, photos taken from Instagram. Overall, Instagram is a useful tool for journalists, but should be used with care.

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