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Visual Representation and the Prediction of Emotion
Unformatted Document Text:  23 reporters: those with no cameras, those with cameras that take still images, and those using television cameras that allow us to see events in motion. However, there are instances where access is limited or things happen quickly, and a limited number of visuals emerge to represent an event. This was true of the Tiananmen protests in China as well as Elian Gonzales’ removal by INS officers in Miami, Florida in 2000. In these cases, the pieces of the event that get photographed or filmed have great potential to determine how people will remember and respond to the event being depicted. The question of whether the story should be told from the most dramatic angle or the most representative is a moral dilemma for all reporters, but perhaps most significantly for photojournalists who encapsulate complex events in single moments. If journalists are seeing with their own eyes events about which the public should be made aware, should they photograph the most emotionally compelling image or the most common? Which choice fits better into the ethics of “objective” reporting? If a journalist sees hundreds of thousands of starving children and knows that the majority of Americans are unaware that the situation exists, should he or she take a picture that will be remembered (violent, depicting extreme emotional displays, etc.) or resist these types of images for fear of being manipulative? Where does one draw the line between advocacy and objectivity? As news production moves increasingly onto the Internet and the Internet moves closer to merging with television, it is probable that opportunities to view visual news coverage will only increase. Yet, cost-cutting measures at major news networks such as CNN are already reducing the amount of news about

Authors: Sherr, Susan.
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reporters: those with no cameras, those with cameras that take still images, and
those using television cameras that allow us to see events in motion. However,
there are instances where access is limited or things happen quickly, and a limited
number of visuals emerge to represent an event. This was true of the Tiananmen
protests in China as well as Elian Gonzales’ removal by INS officers in Miami,
Florida in 2000. In these cases, the pieces of the event that get photographed or
filmed have great potential to determine how people will remember and respond
to the event being depicted.
The question of whether the story should be told from the most dramatic
angle or the most representative is a moral dilemma for all reporters, but perhaps
most significantly for photojournalists who encapsulate complex events in single
moments. If journalists are seeing with their own eyes events about which the
public should be made aware, should they photograph the most emotionally
compelling image or the most common? Which choice fits better into the ethics
of “objective” reporting? If a journalist sees hundreds of thousands of starving
children and knows that the majority of Americans are unaware that the situation
exists, should he or she take a picture that will be remembered (violent, depicting
extreme emotional displays, etc.) or resist these types of images for fear of being
manipulative? Where does one draw the line between advocacy and objectivity?
As news production moves increasingly onto the Internet and the Internet
moves closer to merging with television, it is probable that opportunities to view
visual news coverage will only increase. Yet, cost-cutting measures at major
news networks such as CNN are already reducing the amount of news about


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