Pulitzer Center Update

Senior Editor Tom Hundley and Grantee Sim Chi Yin Interviewed by PDN About Photojournalism Ethics

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He Quangui, a former gold miner, died on August 1 from complications related to silicosis, an irreversible but preventable disease he contracted from years of working in the mines. Image by Sim Chi Yin. China, 2017.

He Quangui, a former gold miner, died on August 1 from complications related to silicosis, an irreversible but preventable disease he contracted from years of working in the mines. Image by Sim Chi Yin. China, 2017.

Photojournalism requires a broad range of ethical considerations—what responsibilities do photojournalists have for their subjects, audience, and editors? And how should they respond when conflicts exist between the different groups?

Photo District News (PDN) delved into these and other questions in a recent series of interviews with veteran photographers and editors, including Pulitzer Center senior editor Tom Hundley and grantee Sim Chi Yin. 

"Ethics is something I feel is important to talk about especially in relatively closed societies where news is sometimes propaganda," said Sim. "In the case of the Rat Tribe project [about people living in basements in Beijing], I said, 'I want to show that you’re regular people with aspirations for upward mobility, and sometimes my work is picked up by magazines and broadcasters.' Some people said, 'I’m ok with this coming out in English outside of China,' but I had people who asked me to remove their picture when it was published in Chinese in China. So I did. You have to listen to what subjects ask of you, and act on their requests."

When accepting military embeds, or material support from NGO's, journalists must always ensure that their reporting stays objective. "An honest and competent journalist knows when his work has been truly compromised, and does not offer that work for publication," said Hundley.

The full story is available on the PDN website