AP says it ‘fell short’ with Romney photo caption

The Associated Press (AP) is saying that it “fell short” in captioning the insta-famous photo of Mitt Romney with kids in Fairfield, Va. The picture arose from an impromptu campaign stop in which Romney met and posed with elementary school children. In the photo, a child is seen expressing a gaping look of amazement behind a crouching Romney, a tableau that bursts with silliness. A bunch of folks have lambasted AP for the shot.

Yesterday, the wire service clarified what was happening via a “caption addition” noting that the kid was reacting to the news that Romney would get down and pose for a group photo with the students. But that “caption addition” was an antiseptic statement that didn’t address AP’s standards and journalistic responsibilities.

Today, AP is filling that hole, via this quite excellent statement from AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll:

“The original caption on the photo of Gov. Romney taken Monday at a Virginia school was literally correct — it said the governor was posing for photos with schoolchildren. But it was too generic and missed the boat by not explaining exactly what was happening. The student with the surprised expression had just realized that the governor was going to crouch down in front of her for the group photo.

“We amended the caption on Tuesday with that explanation, but by then many people had seen the photo and were confused by or angry about it. Those generic captions help us process a large number of photos on a busy campaign day, but some photos demand more explanation and we fell short of our own standards by not providing it in this case.”

Controversy over.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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