A reader complained about a photo of Prime Minister Stephen Harper that—at first glance—appears to have been photoshopped. The Globe and Mail's public editor Sylvia Stead explains. 

By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

Try this little test. Look at the photo of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and some of his staff standing by a plane holding hockey sticks. Is Mr. Harper actually holding a hockey stick too? Why does it appear to be floating behind his hand?

Would you think that it is a bit odd or would you leap instantly to the conclusion that the picture was Photoshopped to make it look as though the PM was holding a hockey stick?

And–stay with me here–if you truly believed that the photo was altered by The Globe and Mail, what would the reason be for doing so?

Yes, this really happened. A complaint arrived from a reader who called the above photo (published last May) “jacked up” and said this: “I can’t believe the G&M would publish Photoshopped pics from the PMO as if they were real. You should take it down and it would be nice if G&M issued an apology.”

To continue reading this column, please go theglobeandmail.com where it was originally published.


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.