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Journalism sometimes means you are not the one to break the story

Journalism sometimes means you are not the one to break the story

Ben Smith on the crowdsourcing photo analysis and media failures of the past few days:

The media’s new and unfamiliar job is to provide a framework for understanding the wild, unvetted, and incredibly intoxicating information that its audience will inevitably see — not to ignore it. A Reddit post seen by millions without context is worse for the story, and the public, and to the mission of reporting than the same post in a helpful and informed context seen by many more. Reporting is no longer a question of whether or not to dignify new and questionable information with attention — it’s about predicting which of it will influence the story, and explaining, debunking, or contextualizing it the best we can. That is, incidentally, what our readers want.

This illustrates the problem, which can suck in even a class act like Jake Tapper:

I don’t know if the photo is real or not. That’s why we have the FBI.


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Remember back in the day when it was said a photo never lies?

Seems like a lifetime ago.

Not photo-shopped. It’s called a jpeg compression artifact and it happens in areas of high contrast. In order to cut and paste you have to have a high res image to paste into the image. Where did someone get the high res image of white hat guy, suspect #2?

Also, notice that suspect #1, black hat guy, is running right next to the lady in the pink jacket. Did they photoshop him into the image as well?

    Neo in reply to jl. | April 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    JPEG is a standard designed to be “interoperable” which means the exact method used by different devices will be almost the same and it will decompress to something that look near identical, but not necessarily identical.
    Long story short, the FBI photo experts will have to know the exact camera model and revision to know if the artifacts are from the JPEG compression or are part of the optics/detector design to know if the photo is legit.

I remember 20 years ago when the medical industry was trying to decide if they needed something better than JPEG because of artifacts like those in the photo.
They eventually went along with the JPEG standard.

Here’s an unintentional pun, but it could very well be THE story:

Missing Brown student, Sangeeta Tripathi, sought by FBI:

Now we’ll see the conspiracy nuts go wild.

It all needs to shake out and I’ll be content to let the FBI and other law enforcement agencies do their work and largely ignore the MSM and news pundits in general.

We have turned into a pretty sad society…

    I agree. The pixelation that caused Tapper to equivocate must be compression artifact. The full-res uncompressed image shows a very clear face and doesn’t show any of that pixelation when enlarged. The businessman who took the picture posted it to facebook and the person of interest was in the originally posted image. Whether he was one of the bombers is not yet known, but we do know this person was carrying a backpack in earlier images. However, it was slung over his right shoulder and you can’t really say for sure that it’s not there in the post-blast picture because it was taken at an angle from his front-left.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 19, 2013 at 12:18 am

Well I can say he definitely is not an Illuminati.

They would not destroy a foot race.

Picture or not picture: the second they get this guy and sit him in a chair for questioning, they’ll know if it’s ‘him.’

Photoshopped? Who cares… Either it is real, or whomever photoshopped it has a real photo of suspect #2 that is better than anything the FBI has released.

“Journalists.” Corrupt, pompous asses is more like it.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 19, 2013 at 4:04 am

The strangest confluence of Reddit & MIT.

Aaron Swartz’s creation leads to identifying the bombers who ran amok at MIT.

Surely I am wrong.

it could not be.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 19, 2013 at 4:56 am

FGS – The FBi have been looking for Sunil Tripathi as a missing person since March 30 in Boston & Conneticut.

Here he is bombing Boston & it was up to bloggers such as I Own The World to track the photo back to Suni as the missing Ivy League guy.


BannedbytheGuardian | April 19, 2013 at 7:41 am

Very happy to be wrong.

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