Thursday, March 6, 2008


One Year Analysis: Reuters 2007 "Pictures of the Month" (HonestReporting)

Each month, Reuters selects about 250 images from thousands of its own photographs for inclusion in a "Pictures of the Month" package. These photographs depict people and events from around the world, encompassing culture, sport, politics and significant news events. Reuters uses these photo packages to draw attention to the best examples of its work each month.

Key Findings

Having previously challenged Reuters for its objectivity in a subjectively selected group of images (see Desk Calendar below), we were interested in seeing if that case represented a one-time aberration, or if Reuters has a serious bias problem in its coverage of  the Arab-Israeli conflict.

We looked at those photographs that featured Palestinians or Israelis included by Reuters in the twelve monthly "Pictures" packages of 2007. We studied 2,666 photos. Our findings are based on 124 photographs of Israelis and Palestinians (promoted by Reuters as the "Best of the Month"):

  • 62% of images provoke sympathy for the Palestinians.

  • Fifteen photographs of Palestinian funerals were selected as "Pictures of the Month." None were similarly promoted of Israeli funerals of those killed in the conflict. (Nor were there pictures of funerals from Darfur, Afghanistan, or Sri Lanka from the thousands of combat deaths in those places).

  • The images consistently depicted Israelis as the aggressors  and Palestinians as the victimsOnly 10% of the  images could be considered sympathetic to Israelis.

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