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iMediaEthics launched an investigation after bloggers and others questioned the validity of a Reuters photograph that featured an unburned doll lying on top of the charred remains of a California house. Now Reuters is stonewalling efforts to bring in fire engineering experts to analyze high-resolution photographs.

iMediaEthics is also investigating the possibility that a Reuters photojournalist trespassed on private property to obtain photographs of a tragically destroyed home. In the face of misogynist, hate-filled campaign against Rhonda Roland Shearer and her daughter, by a “friend” of the photographer, Shearer continues to ask Reuters to live up to the standards of ethics and integrity professed by its CEO, Tom Glocer.

Story Highlights:

    • iMediaEthics investigates Reuters’ controversial miracle fire-doll photographs, asks if the doll was fireproof or was placed or fell into the ruins after the fire?


    • Reuters claims it knows, but will not reveal, where the photos were taken. SJ offers $1,000 reward for information that identifies Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.) house location.


    • Reuters refuses to answer whether or not its employee trespassed on private property to obtain the photographs illegally.


    • Reuters refuses to provide fire engineering experts – its own or ours — with the high-resolution fire-doll photos for examination.


    • Tom Glocer, Reuters CEO, writes to iMediaEthics stating he “launched a full investigation” into misogynist hate campaign against iMediaEthics publisher Rhonda Roland Shearer (and her daughter) condoned by Mario Anzuoni, the Reuters photojournalist who’s credited for the fire-doll photos.


    • Glocer, addressing the allegations of porn filled attacks against Shearer and her daughter, writes “Under no circumstances will Reuters condone any form of sexual or other discrimination or aggression.” Glocer CCs his top brass, Rosemary Martin, Stephen Dando and David Schlesinger.


    • North County Times, managing editor, Dan McSwain said he values iMediaEthics’s role: “So you [iME] actually helped us uncover a hole in our education here. We’re in the process of letting everybody know that, ‘hey, here’s the deal…if there’s a landslide, or an earthquake, or if our nuke goes down, stay off of private property.’ ”



More photos of the doll and the little girl’s bedroom, shot by Reuters’ photojournalist, Mario Anzuoni, in Rancho Santa Fe area , October 23, 2007. Published October 24, 2007.

I tried to imagine what it would feel like to be evacuated from my house and then to open my laptop in a cheap motel or relative’s basement, only to find that images of my little girl’s doll and other personal items, strewn through the ruins of my house, were now for public consumption on Reuters and Yahoo! News galleries.

Thankfully, for me, this was just a thought experiment. Others may not be so lucky. So far, we have been unable to locate them or the house, despite an extensive search. They likely are still unaware that their daughter’s Shirley Temple doll and the interior of her bedroom is being shown globally online, on Reuters, Yahoo and ABC news sites.

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5 Responses

  1. Rhonda R. Shearer says:

    Please let Reuters know what you think about the miracle doll photos or the now acknowledged illegal entrance of a private home in order to obtain, sell and publish photos. Contact them here

    I received this email 12/14/07 from one of our readers, Don Bledsoe:

    Dear Ms. Shearer,

    Thank you for the work you do at ASRL and via Stinky Journalism.

    I spent several hours reading your nightmare of an encounter with Reuters and their GBU blog, and the disgusting photo thugs they used in an attempt to smear and discredit you and your daughter, not to mention the death threat. I have read of some ugly attacks on a person on the web but never anything so vile as what you were exposed to via proxy, and with what one could consider the full knowledge of a major corporation such as Reuters for simply questioning a photograph.

    I have long not trusted Reuters for their seeming bias and misleading story bylines. The Lebanon war further cemented that distrust, but I thought they would learn a lesson from that debacle. Perhaps not, based on what you’re uncovering about the fireproof doll.

    This is just a simple thank you from an average American citizen for the good work you are doing. Please keep it up because you are making a difference for the rest of us.

    God bless you and your family and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

    Don Bledsoe
    Boise, Idaho

  2. Frank Trapasso says:

    I love that there’s no evidence, whatsoever, of actual wrongdoing on the part of Reuters. All you’ve managed to do is say, repeatedly, that the photo is improbable and to baselessly accuse a Reuters photog of illegally entering private property.

    This same report would never appear in an actual media source, because it doesn’t meet the factual standards actual journalists live up to. Like most other bloggers and tabloid papers, you throw shots without proof. Prove something and then I’ll care.

  3. Rhonda R. Shearer says:

    Maybe you missed the ethical timer on the home page citing Reuters’ admission that their photographer entered the house despite the fact the renter told him to keep out. It is an acknowleged fact –thanks to Stinky Journalism not MsM–that Mario Anzuoni wrongly entered this private home. Stinky Journalism has brought to the fore that it is illegal for news media to enter private property without permission of the owner or renter. According to victims of disasters, they often feel victimized twice– first by the disaster, then next by the news media. For example, the owner and renters of the "fire doll" house were furious at the violation of their privacy and the trespass. Do you want a photogrpher you don’t know in your house while you are evacuated taking pictures of your little girls room, selling and publishing them on the web without your permission? I frankly doubt that would be okay with you. This problem does not yet address the staging of the photo or the porn filled harassment (incluidng death threats) of me and my daughter by "friends" of the Reuters photographer.

    We are careful and complete. Therefore this is the reason why we wanted to finish our investigation and our negotiations with Reuters (regarding what admissions they will make) before publishing Part II. Go to the annoucement on the home page and the ethical count down page.

    "NEWS FLASH 01/08/08: Reuters’ Editor-in-Chief now admits their photojournalist Mario Anzuoni entered house during recent California wildfires evacuation without permission and they were wrong to do so. More info soon. Public announcement forthcoming . Time elapsed since SJ first asked Reuters…"

  4. Jade Allen says:

    It makes you wonder what other stories, photos, etc. are manipulated in more subtle ways than this farce of a news story.

  5. Jyllian says:

    Ahh! Where’s part two? Was the family found? Did experts recreate the doll miracle?

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