A correspondent to the debate on the doctored photographs asks an interesting question about how the BBC is countering images from the public showing 'posed or inaccurate images'.
We now receive around 300 images a week to our mailbox. Most of these are interesting snaps taken of people’s families, holidays or lives in general. A fair proportion on a busy week are from news events, ie from Lebanon, or Britain during the heatwave.
Of course, we are aware that some people will use this system to try and hoax us, to send something which is not quite as it seems. It’s something we are on the look out for as we go through the images, and to date we’ve not published anything which has been problematic. But that doesn’t make us complacent. You do get a second sense with these images, and the team which are looking at them are doing so day in day out.
You can obviously follow all the usual journalistic paths; you can email or ring the photographer back and check are they were they say they are, does their number appear to be the code of the area they say, it is their photograph. If you get multiple photographs of the same image you would think that maybe they have been picked up from an agency or sharing site and don’t belong to the person sending them.
If they appear 'photoshopped', or almost too good, you would double check.
Some people take grabs off a television - these you can spot. You can do a quick technical check to see when the image was taken and with what device. You can compare with other photos from the same area, from TV images you may have of the place, you can check other photo agency wires to see if the image crops up elsewhere.
Most genuine emailers will add text, a plausible story, which can be checked out. You take care, and always use your professional judgement. No matter how pressing the need is to get that image up on the web or on the tv screen, the verification process must be gone through.
However I would say that the vast majority of people don’t want to hoax you, they want to get their image published and so share their story with the world, and that for our journalism and reflecting what is really going on in the world, can only be a good thing.
While I’m here... I wanted to add a note about the sheer volume of comments we’ve received on the crisis in Lebanon.
Since it began the Have Your Say debates have received well over 100,000 comments - and had 3.5 million page impressions. It has been consistently the only story people want to talk about or read people’s views on. On one day - 26 July - we received over 6,000 emails.
But that of course means that many people who do send their views may not get them published. There is no agenda here. On massive stories like this we do try to pick a range of views expressed differently - it would be no good if every one said more or less the same thing in the same way. We do try and pick comments from people actually living through or with direct experience of the event - on either side.
We know how frustrating it can be not to get a view which is held very deeply on the pages, but I can assure all those in this position, we are working flat out to get through as many as we can. Thank you all for your contributions.