8 Photo Mix-ups: News Outlets Used Wrong Photo or Botched Photo Caption - iMediaEthics

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Some of the most common type of errors made by news outlets often include issues such as name spelling, numbers, geography mistakes, and details about history, politics and sports, two Canadian public editors Kathy English and Sylvia Stead found a few years ago.  But, recently, iMediaEthics has noticed a number of news mistakes where photos are mislabeled or the photo of the wrong person is used to accompany a story.

Below, see eight examples.

1. For example, the UK Express used a photo of a man named Tony Dayson to accompany a story about a man named Owen Scott who was jailed after he allegedly “attacked his three young children and stepdaughter with a hammer and then drove them into a wall at 92mph during a cocaine-induced psychotic episode.”

Dayson is a member of Owen Scott’s family, according to the Express. The Express ended up publishing a Feb. 16 apology:

“On 16 March 2018, in our article ‘Father who tried to kill his three young kids and stepdaughter jailed for life’ we used a picture of Mr Tony Dayson in error.

“We apologise to Mr Dayson for the upset and distress our error may have caused.”


2. In January, Boston ABC-affiliate WCVB used a 2011 photo of the deceased former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in a tweet about the Patriots winning the AFC championship. The station ended up deleting the tweet, and telling the Washington Post that the error was “truly embarrassing and unacceptable.” The station’s spokesperson continued, “We apologize and are working with that team to correct this error so something like this never happens again.”


3. Another photo mix-up in January came from CNN, which used a photo of a random woman with its promotion for a series about Patty Hearst. Hearst herself flagged the photo fail, tweeting”Who is this poor woman (not me) that CNN is using in their promos for Jeffrey Toobin’s upcoming ‘original series’ romanticizing rape #MeToo.”

CNN told the New York Post the photo was removed and the mistake happened because the picture was labeled as Hearst in the Getty photo archives.


4. A Nov. 2017 CNN story on a picture of top White House staff mislabeled Pres. Trump’s personal aide John McEntee as Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who has since lost his job amidst domestic abuse allegations. The correction on CNN’s website reads:

CORRECTION: This story initially misidentified a person in the photo as White House staff secretary Rob Porter. The person in the photo is Trump’s personal aide John McEntee.”


5. The New York Times published a photo of Japanese figure skaters Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara. But, the caption wrongly identified them as Chinese skaters Yu Xiaooyu and Zhang Hao.

The Feb. 21 correction reads:

“A picture caption on Monday about team pairs figure skaters misidentified the skaters shown. They were Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan, not Yu Xiaoyu and Zhang Hao of China.”


6. The Los Angeles Times misidentified outgoing NFL team Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson as head coach Sean McVay. The correction reads:

In the Jan. 10 Sports section, a photo caption with an article about the Rams getting a new quarterbacks coach misidentified the coach pictured with quarterback Jared Goff. It was outgoing quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, not head coach Sean McVay.


7. Back in November, the Los Angeles Times also labeled a photo of actor Scott Marvel Cassidy as Jason Mantzoukas. That correction reads:

“In the Nov. 23 Calendar section, a photo caption accompanying an article about the second season of the Netflix comedy ‘Lady Dynamite’ misidentified actor Scott Marvel Cassidy as Jason Mantzoukas.


8. The Sun used the photo of the wrong woman with a story on an English teacher. Its Aug. 19, 2016 apology:

In a story ‘English teacher banned from the classroom because her lessons were too BORING”, 3 June, a picture of the wrong person was used.

Mrs Gillian Scott, of Breda Academy, Belfast, is a teacher of 21 years standing with an unblemished record and had no connection to this story which was about a teacher in Scotland.

We apologise to her for any distress caused.

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8 Photo Mix-ups: News Outlets Used Wrong Photo or Botched Photo Caption

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