N.Y. Times: Staffer staged news photograph

The New York Times on 25 October 2002 said a prize-winning photojournalist posed a child in a news photograph last month, violating both the company’s policy and journalism ethics, according to a Newsday report.

Staff photographer Edward Keating was credited for the 20 September 2002 photograph in which a 6-year-old boy aimed a toy pistol alongside a sign reading “Arabian Foods” outside a store in Lackawanna, N.Y., near Buffalo. The photo accompanied a story about the lives of Arab-Americans who were accused of operating an al-Qada terrorist cell.

Keating told Newsday, “There is no truth to these accusations. I did not pose any of the photographs I took up in Lackawanna.”

The Times in an editor’s note said it had received calls from two editors at other publications who said their photographers told them the photo was posed. The Times conducted an inquiry that “could not establish that the picture had been posed.”

But following a call from the Columbia Journalism Review, the Times said its “editors concluded, and the photographer acknowledged, that the boy’s gesture had not been spontaneous.”

The Times said the photograph ran in early editions of the paper but was removed because it was “not relevant to the article.” Newsday said the photo appeared in only 400,000 copies out of 1.2 million.