May 20th, 2010



The Dominion Post of Morgantown, West Virginia altered a front page news photograph on May 15 to remove three public officials from the image, West Virginia Public Broadcasting has reported.

The paper’s editor explained that The Dominion Post has a policy–in effect during the political campaign season–against publishing photos of officials running for re-election.


The photo shows a bill-signing ceremony that was attended by six people: the West Virginia governor, two citizens with a personal interest in the bill (which toughened penalties for hit-and-run accidents) and three Democratic legislators who sponsored the bill.

The three legislators, all running for re-election, were digitally removed from the photograph published by The Dominion (above, right).

The original photograph (above left) was shot by Martin Valent, a photographer for the West Virginia Legislative Reference and Information Center. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Valent said, referring to the altered version of his photo. “This is beyond my comprehension.”

West Virginia Public Broadcasting says the editor of the newspaper expressed surprise that anyone would question the alteration to remove the three legislators, given that it was election season.

The paper did include the words “photo illustration” in the photo caption to indicate that the photo had been altered.