Ethics and Manners

Streetvibes is a publication of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH), a non-profit advocacy organization. This relationship sometimes generates interesting questions of journalistic ethics.

Later this month GCCH will conduct a survey of homeless camps, interviewing people who are living under bridges, in tufts of woods and wherever a poor person can find safe haven these days. When I proposed sending a photographer for Streetvibes, a co-worker suggested that we ask permission before photographing anyone.

“It’s like taking pictures in their living room,” she said.

The law on this is very clear. Anyone may legally photograph anyone else in a public place. But my co-worker wasn’t talking about law. She was talking about courtesy and dignity. These are important values, and I’m proud to work for an organization that works to promote them.

— Gregory Flannery