Back in Action  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Features
From AJR,   June/July 2007

Back in Action   

By Sherry Ricchiardi
Sherry Ricchiardi ( is an AJR senior contributing writer.     

In early May, the message board for lit up after the headline "Detrich Rises From the Dead" appeared. Photographer Allan Detrich, who resigned from the Toledo Blade in April after an investigation showed he had doctored more than 79 images, was back.

The avid storm chaser had covered a tornado that leveled Greensburg, Kansas, on May 4, killing 12. Several news outlets interviewed Detrich, including Fox News Channel and CNN, and his pictures were shown on the air. The president of Polaris Images, a New York photo agency, saw the broadcasts and offered to distribute the Greensburg photos.

Some on were outraged by the turn of luck for a photographer ostracized one month earlier. Others took a more practical view. "Sad but true, it seems like the only people upset about this are the photographers. [They] liken what he did to a deadly sin, while the average person sees it as a simple mistake that should be forgiven," said a respondent from Cedar Park, Texas. That is what Detrich is counting on.

After he left the newspaper, he found it difficult to go out of the house, "I felt everybody would be looking at me, saying, 'That's the guy.' " Now he has moved on.

"I have apologized and admitted I was wrong. I'm being up-front with people if they ask about it. I can't do more than that," Detrich says. "I'm not going to sit back and sulk for the rest of my life. I am going to let my images speak for themselves."

-- S.R.



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