The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, ND, is calling it “the curious case of the retouched photo.”
An employee of the Fargo newspaper noticed something missing from a picture of the city skyline local TV duopoly KVLY-KXJB uses as a weather background. In the picture on the right (courtesy of Charles Apple’s blog), viewers can see the five story Forum building with a white 60-foot sign on it. In the version used on-air (on the left), the sign has been removed.
This is odd, because The Forum’s sign – a 60-foot beacon that’s been a landmark in Fargo for nearly 90 years – has black letters on all sides spelling out the newspaper’s name. F-O-R-U-M. All five of them. At night, they light up.
The Forum thinks the paper’s name was removed because they are a competitor with the NBC and CBS affiliate in the Fargo news space. But they’re not so sure they have a clear cut case of bad journalism.
According to the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists: “Never distort the content of news photos or video.” The guidelines don’t say if the same rule should apply to weather backdrops.
The Forum unsuccessfully looked for an explanation from station manager Jim Wareham, meteorologist Mick Kjar, chief meteorologist Hutch Johnson, and operations manager Sean Kelly. All of whom were either unwilling to comment or didn’t know why the paper’s name had been removed.