Exclusive Images: Reuters’ Calendar Gaffe

2006 was a bad year for Reuters. The “Fauxtography” scandal called into question the media agency’s entire modus operandi and the apparent lack of supervision that allowed Adnan Hajj’s doctored photos to get past the photo editors. As 2007 begins, Reuters’ newly appointed editor-in-chief David Schlesinger will barely have time to settle into his new office before being confronted with the organization’s latest gaffe:

Click here to view the entire calendar

Caption reads: A Palestinian militant marches during funerals for Palestinians killed by Israeli troops, in the Maghazi Refugee Camp, Gaza

A concerned HonestReporting subscriber in London (and perhaps no longer a client of Reuters?) brought our attention to the above. This image is part of Reuters’ expensively produced, glossy 2007 “Eyes on the world” desk calendar. Sent out as an exclusive end of year gift to the organization’s top business clients, it is clear that much time and effort has gone into its production.

A large percentage of Reuters’ photos and captions depicts conflict imagery of Israel and the Mideast such as the above. The calendar, however, consists entirely of images and captions depicting positivity, achievement or culture. Only the above image and caption displays any militaristic or political angle.

(Click here to view the entire calendar to compare photos and captions)

Reuters’ calendar demonstrates a subtle yet insidious and institutionalized form of bias. Why would the organization make such a glaring error in dealing with its own business clients, particularly after its credibility was previously called into question in 2006? The choice of images in this calendar cannot have been reached without a great deal of thought. Photo editors would have had to sift through Reuters’ huge 2006 photo archive even before upper management gave a green light to the final choices. How could this photo have made it into the calendar?

Demand that David Schlesinger reassert control over the Reuters photo department, whose institutional bias damages the organization’s already questionable credibility.  Make sure that this error is not repeated in 2008’s calendar – http://aboutreuters.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/aboutreuters.cfg/php/enduser/site_fdbck.php

We will be happy to share any feedback from David Schlesinger with our subscribers and wish him luck in his new position, in what is likely to be a difficult job.