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Publisher says sorry after black person cropped out of picture

The publisher of a weekly newspaper accused of racism after cropping a black marketing consultant out of a picture has apologised.

Andi Jarvis was keynote speaker at a digital seminar organised by Mid Ulster Council and appeared in a picture of the event published on the council’s website.

But in its write-up of the seminar, the Tyrone Times cropped out Mr Jarvis who was standing on the right of a group of five people.

Publisher JPIMedia, formerly Johnston Press, has apologised for any offence caused by the cropping, while the newspaper has now edited the picture on its own website to include Mr Jarvis.

The original image as it appeared on the council's website, with Mr Jarvis on the right.

The original image as it appeared on the council’s website, with Mr Jarvis on the right.

Mr Jarvis originally highlighted the issue in a Tweet last week which he subsequently followed up in a series of TV interviews.

He told UTV: “There will be people who will say it isn’t racism. But racism doesn’t have to be about skinheads shouting racial slurs at you in the street.

“I was on the panel and talking about building digital strategies – I wasn’t asked there to add diversity to the line-up, but for my expertise in the area and to add weight and gravitas.

“But to then be whitewashed out of the picture … That’s not a good message.”

A spokesman for JPIMedia said: “We are very sorry if the photograph published online and in the newspaper caused any offence.

“Photo cropping can sometimes be problematic due to technical issues and the framing of images of various sizes and composition. We cannot always include everyone when we publish photographs.

“In this case the original image was cropped to centre around the banner the people on the left of the image are holding.

“There was no intention to cause any offence, but we have already updated the photo online here.”


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  • November 27, 2018 at 8:20 am

    “We cannot always include everyone when we publish photographs.” Hmm.
    Do the words “templates” and “no subs” ring any bells? This type of incident is happening everywhere now due to a lack of staff with the ability to say: ” Hang on a minute…”

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  • November 27, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Rather than racism, I suspect the problem was that the picture as provided did not fit the preordained ‘story shape’ on the templated page. The natural crop would be to take off the person far right (regardless of skin colour) as to take off the one on the left would leave the end cut off the sign they’re holding. It’s unfortunate for the Tyrone Times that this has been (understandably) interpreted as deliberate racism, but readers do not (and should not have to) understand the difficulties of working with templated pages and story shapes (shoehorning the content into the ill-fitting box). When I worked for JP I used to regularly get my knuckles rapped for ‘adjusting’ shapes on templated pages in the woefully misguided belief that content should dictate form. On one such occasion the particularly severe knuckle rapping came two days after being praised for having the best-performing weekly title in the region, as in: “Hey, you’re doing great… now do it like everyone else who’s not doing so great”. Soon after that I decided to opt for voluntary redundancy. Good old JP.

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  • November 27, 2018 at 11:23 am

    It’s not always racism. I don’t know if Mr Jarvis was any more of a key figure in the proceedings than the others in the picture; if so, the photographer is at fault for not making him more mid-centre. Aesthetically I agree that the picture is better with him cropped off, more to do with shirt colour and balance, than skin colour. If they were mindful of potential criticism then they should have left him on, but that is a wider debate.

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  • November 27, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Cropping the original photo before sending it to the paper hasn’t helped. Cameras don’t take photos that wide, if the original had been sent, blokey wouldn’t have been cropped off in the paper. PR’s still send out low res pics, no captions and poor photos. But as local papers are desperate, any old rubbish gets used.

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  • November 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I am sure cropping the picture was a genuine mistake to fit a template but what astonishes me is that even a weekly would have used such a crap picture anyway. It smacks of the worst PR contribution of grip and grin photography. A child could have done better, but I suppose this is what happens when professional photographers are given the boot to be replaced by the tea boy/girl!

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  • November 28, 2018 at 10:26 am

    You might also like to consider why the picture was published in the first place. Is this news or is it public relations? I don’t suppose that comes into it now.

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  • December 3, 2018 at 10:29 am

    An experienced newspaper photographer would have found out who was who and composed the picture better in the first place. But then, few newspapers have qualified staff snappers nowadays. So this is what happens when poor submitted pictures are shoehorned into templated shapes.

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