Tallahassee Reports has obtained a copy of a picture that the Tallahassee Democrat cropped in return for an interview with Andrew Gillum. The picture, shown below, verifies our previous report on the subject.
The cropped picture -taken in New York – accompanied an article authored by Tallahassee Democrat reporter Jeffrey Schweers back in March. The article, written from Gillum’s perspective, chronicled Gillum’s decision to cut ties with his friend, Adam Corey.
Corey has played a central role in the current FBI investigation into local government corruption.
According to Schweers, the picture played a vital role in securing the interview with Gillum. Schweers told his readers that the “Democrat’s intention to publish the photo prompted Gillum’s camp to reach out and request a meeting.”
Schweers did not tell his readers the picture was ultimately cropped and how this decision transpired.
Multiple sources have told TR that when Gillum was made aware of the photo, Gillum supporters reached out and pressured the Tallahassee Democrat not to print the picture. What followed was a negotiation that resulted in a cropped picture and the article.
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) provides a framework for journalistic ethics. With regards to independence, SPJ states that journalists should “deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.”
Also, SPJ writes that ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. SPJ states that journalists should “explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.”
This issue is compounded by the fact that controversial pictures of other political figures were recently printed by the Tallahassee Democrat without alteration.
Why was Mayor Andrew Gillum – who is a Florida gubernatorial candidate – treated differently?
The publisher and the editor of the Tallahassee Democrat have not responded to TR’s request for a comment on why the picture was cropped.
Photo altered by Tallahassee Democrat (below)