Is that guy in the weight-loss ad really as buff as he looks? How far can you enhance that snapshot for the school newspaper and still have it represent reality? This software tool rates photographs on how far they have been manipulated.

The photographs of celebrities and models in fashion advertisements and magazines are routinely buffed with a helping of digital polish. The retouching can be slight — colors brightened, a stray hair put in place, a pimple healed. Or it can be drastic — shedding 10 or 20 pounds, adding a few inches in height and erasing all wrinkles and blemishes, done using Adobe’s Photoshop software, the photo retoucher’s magic wand.

“Fix one thing, then another and pretty soon you end up with Barbie,” said Hany Farid, a professor of computer science and a digital forensics expert at Dartmouth.

And that is a problem, feminist legislators in France, Britain and Norway say, and they want digitally altered photos to be labeled. In June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy on body image and advertising that urged advertisers and others to “discourage the altering of photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”

Dr. Farid said he became intrigued by the problem after reading about the photo-labeling proposals in Europe. Categorizing photos as either altered or not altered seemed too blunt an approach, he said.

Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences….

From left to right, photographs show the five levels of retouching….The effect, from slight to drastic, may discourage retouching. “Models, for example, might well say, ‘I don’t want to be a 5. I want to be a 1,’ ” he said.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=ef370676c5e736ec41a3325885e56f55

Is it cheating to appropriate Google Street View images as photojournalism?

The Google Street View car is like the ultimate street photographer, a robo Cartier-Bresson methodically scouring the streets and documenting what it sees. But most people use GSV for practical purposes, and they view any drama or comedy captured by the roving 360-degree camera as accidents.

A few photographers are now looking for these ‘accidents’ intentionally. Instead of walking out on the street to find interesting scenes and people, they are simply curating the pre-documented streets from the comfort of their desk at home.

Michael Wolf, for example, uses a camera to photograph scenes from Google Street View open on his computer’s browser. In February, his honorable mention in the Contemporary Issues category at the World Press Photo Awards for A Series of Unfortunate Events ignited a storm of debate. Some balked at the idea that Wolf’s project was photojournalism, while others embraced the decision and called for more conceptual leaps and redefinitions of photojournalism in the digital age.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/LomrdS9rJDQ/

Meanwhile two women in Cincinnati are testing privacy ethics by selling reproductions of 1955 police mug shots.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=78417df2d428dc4bffb906cc42a4bc53

On another mobile front: For those who prefer their art fresh rather than refried, tablet drawing is getting more sophisticated, as on this recent release by the same company that created AutoCAD:

SketchBook Pro, essentially a digital canvas and brush set, allows you to use both your fingers and aftermarket styluses to create illustrations and designs. Included are over 60 different brush tools, the ability to create up to six different layers for one file, as well as the ability to export files to Photoshop.

The app was previously available on iPhone, iPad and Android phone devices, as well as in an expanded desktop version. This is the first version of the app that will run on Android’s tablet-optimized software, a.k.a. Honeycomb.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/mhaWdgu5zMY/

Of course, just because you drew it on an iPad doesn’t mean you won’t be a kitschy derivative of other works–as demonstrated by a recent exhibition that showed off the iPad’s artsy side:

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/aX5h2ZGYt9E/

What would Leonardo do?

How do photojournalists get paid if their traditional business model is drying up? A story from the front lines of crowdfunding, plus a photographer applies a technique from a New Media capstone to traverse the Appalachian Trail in four minutes.

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/89mLw4IOQdY/ via Byline

A month after the launch of the new crowd-funding platform for photojournalism, Emphas.is, one of its users reports from the road. Belgian photographer and Emphas.is fundraiser Tomas van Houtryve tells us about the good, the bad and the future of a work in progress….

The pressure of time has been the hardest challenge for van Houtryve, “I would not recommend tight schedules where one has to juggle shooting, fundraising and a withering travel schedule. It’s been very intense keeping all the elements on track.”

Despite travails, van Houtryve sees a lot of promise. “It’s an intuitive model,” he says. “Backers have started to pose relevant questions. As my project proposal has made its way through social networks and attracted support from strangers, I’ve made some really fruitful new connections. In addition to generous funding contributions, several individuals have stepped forward with key contacts and very precise and helpful advice. I have already managed to make stronger photos due to their input. This is a pleasant shift over the lone-wolf existence.”

Meanwhile, on the Appalachian Trail photographers are documenting their trek using a technique that sounds a lot like NMD alumnus Sam Lynch’s iGlasses:

http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/uhDLuMVI0AM/ via Byline

Kevin Gallagher spent six months hiking the 2,200 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Then he compiled his 4,000 still photos taken along the way and turned them into an amazing 4-minute video travelog.

Amidst the myriad reports of today’s newspapers being done in by the Internet, here’s a magazine that turned profitable by going online. To do so required its editors to think way outside the box–in fact, to aim to attack its former incarnation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/13/business/media/13atlantic.html

The Atlantic is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year. That would be the first time in at least a decade that it had not lost money….

“We imagined ourselves as a venture-capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic,” said Justin B. Smith, president of the Atlantic Media Company, who arrived at the magazine’s offices in the Watergate complex in 2007 with a mission to stanch the red ink.

“In late October, Newsday put its web site behind a pay wall, one of the first non-business newspapers to take the pay wall plunge, so Newsday has been followed with interest in media circles anxious to learn how the NY Times own plans to put up a pay wall may work out. So how successful has Newsday’s paywall been? The NY Observer reports that three months into the experiment only 35 people have have signed up to pay $5 a week to get unfettered access to newsday.com. Newsday’s web site redesign and relaunch reportedly cost about $4 million and the 35 people who’ve signed up have earned Newsday about $9,000. Still publisher Terry Jimenez is unapologetic. ‘That’s 35 more than I would have thought it would have been,’ said Jimenez to his assembled staff, according to five interviews with Newsday employees. The web project has not been a favorite among Newsday employees who have recently been asked to take a 10 percent pay cut. ‘The view of the newsroom is the web site sucks,’ says one staffer. ‘It’s an abomination,’ adds another.”

http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/chliTnZRLaU/Newsday-Gets-35-Subscriptions-To-Pay-Web-Site

“In late October, Newsday put its web site behind a pay wall, one of the first non-business newspapers to take the pay wall plunge, so Newsday has been followed with interest in media circles anxious to learn how the NY Times own plans to put up a pay wall may work out. So how successful has Newsday’s paywall been? The NY Observer reports that three months into the experiment only 35 people have have signed up to pay $5 a week to get unfettered access to newsday.com. Newsday’s web site redesign and relaunch reportedly cost about $4 million and the 35 people who’ve signed up have earned Newsday about $9,000. Still publisher Terry Jimenez is unapologetic. ‘That’s 35 more than I would have thought it would have been,’ said Jimenez to his assembled staff, according to five interviews with Newsday employees. The web project has not been a favorite among Newsday employees who have recently been asked to take a 10 percent pay cut. ‘The view of the newsroom is the web site sucks,’ says one staffer. ‘It’s an abomination,’ adds another.”

http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/chliTnZRLaU/Newsday-Gets-35-Subscriptions-To-Pay-Web-Site

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“In late October, Newsday put its web site behind a pay wall, one of the first non-business newspapers to take the pay wall plunge, so Newsday has been followed with interest in media circles anxious to learn how the NY Times own plans to put up a pay wall may work out. So how successful has Newsday’s paywall been? The NY Observer reports that three months into the experiment only 35 people have have signed up to pay $5 a week to get unfettered access to newsday.com. Newsday’s web site redesign and relaunch reportedly cost about $4 million and the 35 people who’ve signed up have earned Newsday about $9,000. Still publisher Terry Jimenez is unapologetic. ‘That’s 35 more than I would have thought it would have been,’ said Jimenez to his assembled staff, according to five interviews with Newsday employees. The web project has not been a favorite among Newsday employees who have recently been asked to take a 10 percent pay cut. ‘The view of the newsroom is the web site sucks,’ says one staffer. ‘It’s an abomination,’ adds another.”

http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/chliTnZRLaU/Newsday-Gets-35-Subscriptions-To-Pay-Web-Site

From Slashdot and other sources:

“New York Magazine reports that the NY Times appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of debate inside the paper, the choice has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system. The decision to go paid is monumental for the Times, and culminates a yearlong debate that grew contentious, people close to the talks say. Hanging over the deliberations is the fact that the Times’ last experience with pay walls, TimesSelect, was deeply unsatisfying and exposed a rift between Sulzberger and his roster of A- list columnists, particularly Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who grew frustrated at their dramatic fall-off in online readership. The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. But with the painful declines in advertising brought on by last year’s financial crisis, the argument that online advertising might never grow big enough to sustain the paper’s high-cost, ambitious journalism — gained more weight.”

From Slashdot and other sources:

“New York Magazine reports that the NY Times appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of debate inside the paper, the choice has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system. The decision to go paid is monumental for the Times, and culminates a yearlong debate that grew contentious, people close to the talks say. Hanging over the deliberations is the fact that the Times’ last experience with pay walls, TimesSelect, was deeply unsatisfying and exposed a rift between Sulzberger and his roster of A- list columnists, particularly Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who grew frustrated at their dramatic fall-off in online readership. The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. But with the painful declines in advertising brought on by last year’s financial crisis, the argument that online advertising might never grow big enough to sustain the paper’s high-cost, ambitious journalism — gained more weight.”

Bookmark this category

From Slashdot and other sources:

“New York Magazine reports that the NY Times appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of debate inside the paper, the choice has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system. The decision to go paid is monumental for the Times, and culminates a yearlong debate that grew contentious, people close to the talks say. Hanging over the deliberations is the fact that the Times’ last experience with pay walls, TimesSelect, was deeply unsatisfying and exposed a rift between Sulzberger and his roster of A- list columnists, particularly Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who grew frustrated at their dramatic fall-off in online readership. The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. But with the painful declines in advertising brought on by last year’s financial crisis, the argument that online advertising might never grow big enough to sustain the paper’s high-cost, ambitious journalism — gained more weight.”

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