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Developing News Photography: The Post-WWII Rise of Normative Photojournalism Instruction in Liberal Arts Journalism Education
Unformatted Document Text:  6 Other contemporary authors recognized a new stricter code of professional ethics as the hallmark of photojournalism. James Colvin, the photography contest coordinator for Encyclopedia Britannica (self-described as “the largest press photography competition in the world” 17 ), argued to his Quill readers in 1952 that the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) code of ethics is ahead of anything text journalists were using. The NPPA code would “astonish, and unfortunately amuse, too many press writers.” 18 Further, the code stems from an “admixture of professional determination to see the job done and human conviction that no one should be unnecessarily hurt in the doing.” 19 Joseph Costa, the chairman of the NPPA board expressed the same sentiment when he wrote: As a group, the press photographers have a new awareness of their responsibilities in the public interest. They have become seriously concerned with the new requirements of their craft as technological developments daily enlarge the fields in which they can serve the pubic. The press photographer of today stands ready to fulfill his role as visual reporter and documentarian of the age. 20 While the practice and ethics that comprised photojournalism were a break from the past, there were pieces that had not yet developed to the form in which we know them today. The idea of the photojournalist as an individual practitioner of photojournalism did not come about right away. Whereas today the terms photographer and photojournalist are used synonymously, in the early 1950s the photographer was just the camera operator, and it was the picture editor who practiced photojournalism. Wilson Hicks, longtime picture editor of Life magazine, devoted the opening paragraph of his 1952 book Words and Pictures: An Introduction to Photojournalism to defending his use of the word because it “confers on the photograph an importance as a 17 James Colvin, “Photo-Journalism is Here to Stay.” 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid.

Authors: Paddock, Stanton.
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Other contemporary authors recognized a new stricter code of professional ethics as the 
hallmark of photojournalism. James Colvin, the photography contest coordinator for 
Encyclopedia Britannica  (self-described as “the largest press photography competition in the 
world”
17
), argued to his Quill readers in 1952 that the National Press Photographers Association 
(NPPA) code of ethics is ahead of anything text journalists were using. The NPPA code would 
“astonish, and unfortunately amuse, too many press writers.”
18
 Further, the code stems from an 
“admixture of professional determination to see the job done and human conviction that no one 
should be unnecessarily hurt in the doing.”
19
 Joseph Costa, the chairman of the NPPA board 
expressed the same sentiment when he wrote: 
As a group, the press photographers have a new awareness of their responsibilities 
in  the  public  interest.  They  have  become  seriously  concerned  with  the  new 
requirements of their craft as technological developments daily enlarge the fields 
in which they can serve the pubic. The press photographer of today stands ready 
to fulfill his role as visual reporter and documentarian of the age.
20
 
 
While the practice and ethics that comprised photojournalism were a break from the past, 
there were pieces that had not yet developed to the form in which we know them today. The idea 
of the photojournalist as an individual practitioner of photojournalism did not come about right 
away. Whereas today the terms photographer and photojournalist are used synonymously, in the 
early 1950s the photographer was just the camera operator, and it was the picture editor who 
practiced photojournalism. Wilson Hicks, longtime picture editor of Life magazine, devoted the 
opening paragraph of his 1952 book Words and Pictures: An Introduction to Photojournalism to 
defending his use of the word because it “confers on the photograph an importance as a 
                                                 
17
 James Colvin, “Photo-Journalism is Here to Stay.” 
18
 Ibid. 
19
 Ibid. 
20
 Ibid. 


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