Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Conversation at dinner Sunday Night

Have I mentioned anything about McKinney H.S.? I've attached the story below so that you can get caught up if you don't know about it. I know the adviser, but that is a whole nother story. At any rate. I am on a journalism listserv. A woman went on the list serve and wondered if she should use LifeTouch Photographer after all that she has read. I waited, but no one responded to her. So, being the sucker that I am, I finally responded. I basically said that there were a lot of things that could and should be set in place to keep that from happening and she shouldn't worry about it. Well, the McKinney adviser got her panties in a total wad and sent a response that was directed specifically at me and fairly bitchy.

The fun of that was that all of these people responded on the listserv saying, "Oh, poor dear, we wouldn't have caught those errors either, blah blah blah. However, a fairly impressive number of people either called or emailed me directly to say "Go Elizabeth!" You wrote what we were all thinking . . . chickens would respond on the listserv though, would they?

So, at dinner Sunday night, as the instructors met before the workshop I find out that the adviser in question is carrying around the email I wrote to that poor woman to show people how mean and hateful I am. What a twit.

Students' photos altered in McKinney yearbook

04:22 PM CDT on Saturday, May 17, 2008
By KARIN SHAW ANDERSON / The Dallas Morning News

Imagine posing for a yearbook photo and ending up with someone else's body – or looking nude – in the final product.

Yearbook photos for 583 McKinney High School students were altered by a national photography company.

The yearbooks were delivered Monday.

Some girls' heads ended up on boys' bodies, and vice versa. Some necks were stretched, and some outfits were altered.

Brielle Anderson was one of several McKinney High students whose yearbook photos had been altered.

McKinney school officials say they are appalled by the changes and called them unethical.

"I cannot even figure out why they did some of the things that they did," said Lori Oglesbee, the school's yearbook adviser.

The problem photos are obvious. One girl's arm is missing. Another girl is missing her clothing – and was left with a blurred chest.

Multiple students have the same body and clothes. Some shirt colors were changed, while patterns and wording on other shirts were wiped out.

At least 34 students had someone else's body.

Officials from Lifetouch National School Studios Inc., the Minnesota-based photography company, said someone at the company made the alterations in an attempt to comply with the school's photo guidelines.

The school wanted student head sizes approximately the same and students' eyes at the same level in the photos.

"Unfortunately, we misinterpreted what those guidelines were," said Sara Thurin Rollin, a spokeswoman for Lifetouch.

"It is not the Lifetouch standard practice to alter images for yearbook publications," the company said.

But McKinney school officials said that they weren't looking for those types of alterations and that it doesn't explain why some of the changes were made.

"There's somewhat of an issue with accepting responsibility," McKinney school spokesman Cody Cunningham said.

About 39 percent of the 1,486 photos were changed.

The vast majority of altered photos were of underclassmen, but several senior photos also appear to have been changed, school officials said.

Sophomore Brielle Anderson said she's pretty sure her head is on a boy's body.

"I paid $80 for a cropped picture of my head on someone else's body," she said.

She noted that she's also missing a few inches of hair.

Chelsey Rephan, a sophomore, said one girl in the yearbook had her clothing digitally rubbed out.

"She looked like she didn't have a shirt on," Chelsey said.

Ms. Oglesbee said that her staff maintains high standards for the award-winning yearbook and that there was no justification for changing the photos.

Lifetouch has agreed to pay to reprint all the yearbooks, Mr. Cunningham said.

Ms. Oglesbee said the yearbook staff would spend the weekend at the school, working to rebuild the yearbook for reprinting.

It will cost the company $85,000 to reprint 1,100 yearbooks, she said.

Meanwhile, the school district wants to know why the photos were altered in the manner they were.

"I think it was somebody who doesn't understand ethics," Ms. Oglesbee said.

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