...That the National Geographic magazine just out on newstands this month (July 2016) features on its first pages an editorial by Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg. Under the rubric "Images and Ethics," the editorial in the magazine is called "How We Check What You See."
It's online under an alternate title, "How We Spot Altered Pictures." Same text, though. Although very brief, it purports to "explain how we strive to keep covertly manipulated images out of our publications."
Photo by Gordon Gahan
The infamous "they moved the pyramids" cover from February 1982, which greatly harmed the magazine's vaunted reputation (and obviously still haunts them). Note that this would have been completely permissible for many uses, for instance a travel agency poster or an advertisement.
Of the pyramid cover mistake, Goldberg admits, "we deserved the firestorm that ensued."
But that's all in the past. "We learned our lesson. At National Geographic, it's never OK to alter a photo. We've made it part of our mission to ensure our photos are real."
No mention of he-who-cannot-be-named, of course, but the timing of the editorial is most likely no coincidence.
(Thanks to the reader who first told me about this, whose name I can't find)
P.S. Appearing even in advance of the editorial in the same issue is a two-page advertisement for the Huawei P9 smartphone, "Co-engineered with Leica," featuring a picture taken in "Monochrome/Pro Mode." The tagline is "Reinvent smartphone photography." It set me to wondering if that's the first time I've encountered the all-purpose sales word "pro" (roughly, a synonym for "good" in our field) associated with a cellphone.
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john gillooly: "This sentence can't be a coincidence: 'At National Geographic, where visual storytelling is part of our DNA, making sure you see real images is just as important as making sure you read true words.' Didn't Steve McCurry refer to himself now as a 'visual storyteller' as a defense against photo manipulation, implying that while this manipulation is not allowed in photojournalism, it is allowed in visual storytelling?"