University broadcasts airbrushed photo, upsets religious students - News

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University broadcasts airbrushed photo, upsets religious students

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Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:42 am

Mass communication junior Joel D’Aubin was thrilled to see his picture in a broadcast email to the entire student body Tuesday afternoon, until he noticed it had been edited to cover the cross painted on his shoulder.

The photo depicted four football fans  — D’Aubin, Ben Wallace and University seniors Cameron Cooke and AJ Fagan — in body paint with crosses emblazoned on their shoulders. The group, called “The Painted Posse,” has passed on the tradition of body paint and crosses on the heart for seven football seasons.

“Those crosses were airbrushed out. ... We don’t want to convey any religious or political message,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Senior Associate Athletics Director Herb Vincent.

D’Aubin suspected the University didn’t want to offend anyone by showing the crosses, but he was curious why the photo wasn’t edited on the University’s Sports website or Facebook page. 

The first time D’Aubin saw the edited photo was in the mass email. 

The picture has already been picked up by multiple news outlets that didn’t edit it, D’Aubin said. 

It was within the University’s legal rights to manipulate the photo, Vincent said.

When students purchase football tickets, they grant the University the right to use their names and any pictures taken during the game for any University purposes.

LSU Sports Information photographer and biological engineering senior Martin McCallister took the photograph.

“As a photographer, I submit a raw .jpeg file, untouched,” McCallister said. “I just submit whatever comes off the camera.”

After photographers submit their shots, Vincent said LSU Athletics commonly edits photos. For example, if a football player’s jersey is wrinkled in a photo LSU Athletics wants to use on the front of a brochure, they’ll edit out the crease.

The photo, added to the University’s Facebook page Sunday, has already garnered nearly 3,000 likes on Facebook and 200 shares.

Some students on Facebook began creating their own comparison photos, and many received numerous comments concerned with the reasoning behind removing the crosses.

Most members of the Painted Posse are members of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry or The Refuge.

“We do this because we love LSU football, but we have a greater love for Christ,” D’Aubin said. “It’s cool to be watching ‘Sports Center’ on ESPN, something that’s shown throughout America, and see the cross.”

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  • beauty_n_savant posted at 12:11 pm on Thu, Nov 15, 2012.

    beauty_n_savant Posts: 1

    I would say that The Daily Reveille of LSU violated, at minimum, Rule of Conduct #1 & #3. The picture is not truthful. Currently photo tickets are under scrutiny and your paper has proven the reason for it. I have seen so many people who are passed the white line and in the middle of the intersection but refuse to go because of the stupid red light ticket...and sometimes you get one and you can't recall if that happened and usually, you think your going to get one and you don't. Bottom line in MO, they are unenforceable. The law states that a ticket must be signed by a post-certified officer and they are not; if they are eventually declared unconstitutional, then how are those who paid fines going to get their money back? They aren't, it's too bad. Officers admit, they are NOT about safety, it is about making money and LSU Reveille PROHIBITED freedom of SPEECH. Why didn't you just paint a swastika on their chests because to me, eliminating freedom of speech and doctoring photos is the first thing Hitler did! Start burning the books! You already burned My Constitution!

  • CWeiss posted at 12:07 pm on Mon, Oct 29, 2012.

    CWeiss Posts: 3

    I understand why the University photoshopped the crosses out - LSU wants to welcome all people no matter what their religious affiliation, is that not correct? So if they decide to use a group of fans with crosses painted onto their bodies as models for what a LSU student looks like, what message does that send to people who aren't of that religious group? From the viewpoint of someone outside the school, it could be seen as a symbol that the school as a whole is a part of that religious group, which might make them look for other schools to go to. The college doesn't have to cater to the whims of those protesting religious freedom, they want to let future students know that they won't be joining a primarily Christianity-based school.

  • Mamah posted at 11:13 am on Wed, Oct 24, 2012.

    Mamah Posts: 1

    It is not in the online article, but I remember reading in print the comparison a student made to painting a cross on their body to an Muslim woman wearing the hijab...which is ridiculously ignorant! This coming from a non-Islamic affiliated individual.

  • ltu posted at 12:43 pm on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    ltu Posts: 1

    It is most certainly not a stretch. Both are images that do no represent the university. A Burka is not a religious symbol, it is a clothing item. If they had Stars of David or a Star and Crescent I believe that it would be appropriate to remove for marketing purposes like the university is doing.

  • eyesright1 posted at 10:25 am on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    eyesright1 Posts: 1

    Hypocrites!!! The school has messed all over themselves. The administration looks like a bunch of fools. The students they photographed ARE Christian. They are who they are. Is the school trying to hide that?

    Should they have also painted one student black? Made another a female instead of male? Wouldn't want to offend anyone by making it seem like its only white males who go there and participate in athletic cheering afterall . . . . . Where does it stop? What is the end goal?

    If one of the students was a Muslim female and had a headscarf would they also photoshop the headscarf out of the picture?

    The photoshopping shows a huge lack of maturity by the the staff involved in publishing the photo.

  • act487 posted at 9:17 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    act487 Posts: 2

    Yes, the university is not a news agency, but still releases press. If press is released then they are to be held to standards of the press. Anything press related sent out from the university in a form that informs people of something that is happening on campus is press. So you can say all you want about it not being a journalist agency, there is still press and should still abide by the ethics of the press.

  • newsgal42 posted at 8:01 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    newsgal42 Posts: 1

    I don't think it went to the "entire student body" because I did not receive this email. And I check my email religiously. Hah.

    It might have only gone to those with student tickets.

    Might want to check on that.

  • Bayoublaze posted at 2:42 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    Bayoublaze Posts: 3


  • JoeGipson posted at 2:05 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    JoeGipson Posts: 3

    The university does have a right to photoshop what they want, and obviously a swastika on a students chest would be a cause of concern... But will the university start photoshopping out student's burqas too? In order to remain secular and unassociated with a religious or political affiliation?

    Shouldn't we want our university to promote healthy diversity of ideologies and beliefs? Obviously comparing a cross to a swastika is kind of a stretch, but having four proud members of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry display pride in their university is something to be excited about - just like having members of any on campus organization, religious or not, banding together to show pride in our school spirit.

    We should promote diversity on our campus. ALL diversity, including christians.

  • Dude877 posted at 1:14 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    Dude877 Posts: 6

    THE UNIVERSITY IS NOT A NEW AGENCY!!!!!!! If the Reveille photoshopped a photo, it would be different. But the University doesn't have to abide by journalist rules. THEY AREN'T A JOURNALIST AGENCY!!!!!

  • Bayoublaze posted at 12:59 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    Bayoublaze Posts: 3

    Yes, I would be upset if they photoshopped anything! The news is the news if you like it or not. Real journalist are to be unbiased & resport what they see & hear..

  • Bayoublaze posted at 12:57 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    Bayoublaze Posts: 3


  • bluesharkman posted at 11:18 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    bluesharkman Posts: 1

    LSU is a brand and therefore brands do not associate them with religious affiliations. For instance, if the students were wearing a "Vote Obama" or "Tigers for Bobby Jindal" it too would have been airbrushed out. Public universities are secular institutions, apolitical institutions; therefore LSU is very justified in removing such a symbol from their broadcasts. This is not an affront on religious freedom, but rather a business decision that Google, Shaw, or any other brand would have done too.

  • Dude877 posted at 11:13 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    Dude877 Posts: 6

    It doesn't matter if they do or don't know the basic ethics of photojournalism. They are a University not a MEDIA OUTLET. They don't have to follow the NPPA guidelines.

  • act487 posted at 9:45 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    act487 Posts: 2

    Sad to see that someone in a high up position doesn't know or seem to understand the basic ethics of journalism/photojournalism.

    There is the Code of Ethics from the National Press Photographers Association.

  • Dude877 posted at 7:57 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    Dude877 Posts: 6

    Why is this even news? Would you be mad if they had photoshopped off a swastika? Photos of these guys have been put up on other MEDIA outlets, who aren't allowed to photoshop their images by rule.

    The University isn't a media outlet, they are allowed to photoshop anything they would like. The University is a diverse place, as you often like to remind us, and care is taken by the staff not to push any type of religious agenda.

    The thing that is sad here is that you wrote this article and decided it was front page news.

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