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January 3, 2008
It was a setup, not a doggone 'doctoring'

woodland dog.jpg
Deo Ferrer/Woodland Daily Democrat

Words matter, and Wednesday on 21Q, we didn't use the right word.

It was in the posting about a photo that editors at the Woodland Daily Democrat used on its front page. The photo showed a dog "taking notes," for a story on a canine assisting child abuse victims.

We said the photo was "doctored." What we should have written was that the shot was a "setup." The word "doctored" connotes Photoshopping, but that wasn't what happened. Rather, as we reported, the dog was propped up, draped in a trench coat and had human arms coming through it, with hands holding a note pad.

Semantics aside - on the question of whether editors should have identified the shot as a setup photo - which they did not - associate editor Jake Dorsey replied in a comment on our first post: "The photo was an homage of William Wegman, and Mr. (Deo) Ferrer (the photographer) made that clear to me, though it was left out of the cutline on accident. Also the Democrat has strict policies about what gets called a photo, and Mr. Ferrer's piece was just that - a photograph."

So, there you go.

For those unfamiliar with Wegman's work, here's a sample:


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