The Ethics of Photojournalism

Thesis: “While photojournalism may be exploitive, this exploitation is not always unethical and sometimes even necessary in creating an image that is both beautiful and impactful. This allows for photographs to reveal truths about human activity and humanity as a whole, as well as encourage compassion and reflection within viewers.”
The thesis appears at the end of the introduction paragraph, summing up her entire argument before she goes more in depth in the body paragraphs.

Target audience: The target audience is the general public, but more specifically people who view these photos.

Logos: The author uses logic/ reasoning to point out that the benefits of photojournalism and why it is important while also giving validity to counterpoints. She refers to photographs from Sebastiao Salgado and Paolo Pellegrin to support her argument, who both use editing/ the addition of artistic elements to their photos to leave a deeper impact on the viewers.

Ethos: Smolens’ quotes reputable sources on photography, specifically photojournalism, such as the NPPA and their Code of Ethics, author of “Photojournalism” David Finkelstein, The New York Times, and more.

Pathos/Kairos: Arguably Smolens’ most prominent method of argumentation, she oftens appeals to the audience’s emotions by referring to the emotional impact of photos and how viewers feel when they experience these photos, whether it be horrified or in awe.

Moral/rational argument: Her argument is focused on the morality/ethicalness of photojournalism.


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