As reported on PetaPixel and many other locations this week, Reuters is asking it photographers to submit their images in JPEG format, generated in camera and not in RAW format. I’ve noticed this policy seemed to surprise a number of photographers and created a controversy online with hungred os posts an all the usual places and plenty of discussion on YouTube.
I don’t get the controversy at all. In fact, I would be very surprised if most photojournalists don’t already shoot in either JPEG only or both JPEG and RAW and then submit the in camera JPEG. It is certainly faster and for a business that wants information as fast as possible, it would make sense. More importantly, the photojournalism profession demands objectivity and using a camera generated JPEG would seem to demonstrate a greater adherence to objectivity. Just a couple weeks ago, a photographer was forced to withdraw an image from the Nikon-Walkley Contest and back in March 20% of the final round of images were disqualified in the World Press Photo contest along with revocation of the first place award. I know submitting in camera JPEGs will not solve all these issues and the composition the image can change perception, but for an industry that is so focused on objectivity that depends on the trust of its readers, it is a natural move to require in camera JPEGs.
As a photographer more interested at creating the best possible image (often illustrating a feeling more intense than reality) and in a discipline where few are concerned about communicating the scene realistically, I shoot exclusively in RAW and will continue to do so. It gives me the most flexibility to communicate the reality I want people to see in the image. I would expect this to be seen as a natural choice for me and not controversial either.