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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Photo manipulation in journalism: evil, crutch or lifebuoy?
2017-09-04

Description: Albe Grobbelaar Tags: Photo manipulation, Albe Grobbelaar, Albe, OJ Simpson, journalism, Department of Communication Science, Communication Science   

Albe Grobbelaar, veteran journalist and lecturer in the
Department of Communication Science at the UFS.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin


Since the 1800s the manipulation of photographs has been common practice, and who can forget the OJ Simpson Time magazine cover in 1994? Albe Grobbelaar, lecturer in the Department of Communication Science at the University of the Free State (UFS), asked in a special lecture on 18 August 2017 whether “Photo manipulation in Journalism” was an evil habit, a crutch or a lifebuoy.

“As a journalist I have always been interested in photography. And the principle of photo manipulation or tampering with photos, as we call it, is something that has interested me ever since,” Grobbelaar said. Photo manipulation is an area that has garnered many academic interest and is not a new trend but a practice that started in the 1830s when photos came into popular use. “It is not always done with ulterior motives, artists played with photographs to get unique effects.” Photo manipulation is not only to create fake news, but is sometimes used to convey novelty and create shock to news readers. 

Different viewpoints for different circumstances
He talked about the spectrum of viewpoints on photo manipulation. Some conservative journalism schools say photos should never be retouched while other feel it is fine to tamper with pictures. “What I tried to convey in the lecture was that one should consider different circumstances differently,” Grobbelaar said. As a journalist he believes that news photos should never be manipulated.

He mentioned the example of the mugshot of OJ Simpson that the Los Angeles Police Department released to the media. “Newsweek and Time both used the photo on their front pages, but Time deliberately darkened the picture so that OJ, a black man, would appear more sinister,” Grobbelaar said. It is, however, common practice in the fashion industry to retouch images that are used in fashion magazines. 

Use own judgment to validate photos
In the age of social media it has become easy to manipulate photos and which has been labelled fake news. “I would advise people to use their own judgment when validating the authenticity of photos,” Grobbelaar said. It is important to verify whether they are from a reliable news outlet.

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