The option to crop a photo

On Facebook over the weekend, a former News & Observer copy editor posted an image of a front page from 2009. As you can see here, the centerpiece photograph that day was from a tea party rally.

uncropped-pubicLook carefully at the sign held by the woman on the left. You’ll see that she has made the dreaded public/pubic error. It’s a common mistake that can cause embarrassment and prompt apologies.

Now take a look at this version of the same photograph on the same front page from that day of the Raleigh newspaper:

cropped-pubicSee the difference? For the final edition that day, editors at the N&O cropped the image to eliminate the sign’s error.

But was that the right decision? As one commenter on Facebook said: “It’s not a dirty word, and the woman was there to be photographed.”



  1. Maybe it’s my southern upbringing, but I think it was “nice” of the paper to edit out that line. If anything, the jist of the image is still valid — people on hand to protest something, and the person whose attention they want is not there. That much is still conveyed with the caption.

    Had the paper left it in, critics could argue that the paper singled this ONE image out (among likely dozens of other choices) for no other reason than to make these protesters look like morons. Maybe they are — but I think that’s up to the readers to decide.

  2. Huh. That’s a tough one. I would probably say it’s ok to crop out the misspelled word because if you leave it, jokes will ensue, and the true intent of the picture will be lost.

  3. Since the press ignores Obama and Biden’s verbal miscues, I don’t see a problem with this. The point is to tell the story, and these days, correct spelling and grammar is optional.

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