Saturday, July 26, 2008

War-talk heightens

As political conventions loom closer, BYU students are becoming increasingly aware of the political debates about Iraq War solutions presented by presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama.

The current debate lies on whether congressmen should pull troops out or continue deployments.

Andrew Frick, a student from Pennsylvania said he is “pro-anti-war.”

“I’m against war. War is motivated out of personal gain,” said Frick. “I’m pro-change but not extreme change.”

Frick said that he is more liberal than most BYU students and that a solid opinion on a solution is difficult to make because of the lack of information.

McCain says it is necessary to keep troops in Iraq until the civil war between the Shiites and Sunnis can be stopped and a political calm can settle.

“Unfortunately, they’re so childish that they need referees right now,” said BYU junior Tyler Camp.

Troops need to stay in Iraq until no further progress can be made, said Camp.

The American public continues to be split on their opinions of solutions to the Iraq War. Other politicians have presented many varying solutions, besides those of McCain and Obama. Some students remain undecided on the issue.

“If we pull out, we lose,” said Camp. “If we stay, we lose.”

Senator Obama presented his plan in January 2007 to de-escalate war with phased redeployment.

"The American people have been asked to be patient too many times, too many lives have been lost and too many billions have been spent," Obama was reported to have said on

Many students serve in the military or have relatives who serve in the military. Soldiers have reported that the military is still needed in Iraq, said UVU student Kristen Kmetzsch.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Photography Ethics

Photography ethics

1. Define Ethics

2. Photographic manipulation is ethical

1. In some instances it is more real

2. Artistic (photography is only another art form)

3. Better for the bottom line, (ethics is the accepted policies of the professional public)

1. Creates emotional appeal

4. Unethical claim is a fallacy. Any media is not a true representation, nor will it ever be.

3. Photographic manipulation is unethical

1. Deceit is unethical among most people

2. Bad for the bottom line (discredits papers, lose trust of readers)

Photo manipulation is a controversial documentation/art method that has been circulating ever since the invention of the camera in the early 1800’s. Photo manipulation is the process of using traditional means such as the dark room, and more modern means such as PhotoShop to alter an image or video in any way. As developments in technology increase exponentially, it has become important for organizations and professionals to establish ethical boundaries—especially when the playing field is the news media.

Where are these boundaries? The issue is very heated and, generally, informed individuals have widely differing opinions on the matter. Most will come to the point that photo manipulation is acceptable only in certain instances.

A definition of ethics is worthy of noting: “the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture” ( In the corporate world, photo manipulation usually yields a better bottom line. If an enhanced and exciting photo has greater attention-getting value than a dull shot, obviously, newspaper agencies and news broadcasters will swing towards the former. Many executives believe the general public is duly informed and can tell when a photo is manipulated. They base their decisions on the fact that viewers want to be wooed or shocked. In order to show an attractive cover, Newsweek plastered a smiling head of Martha Stewart on a thin body coming through yellow curtains. The photo was supposed to represent Martha’s imminent release from prison. Unfortunately, the photo brought heavy criticism against Newsweek for ethics in photo manipulation. A caption read “Photo illustration by Michael Elins ... head shot by Marc Bryan-Brown" ( In defense, Newsweek claimed the photo was an illustration, just as the caption read ( Was the image particularly unethical? In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded by modified images, consumers and executives have become increasingly more accepting of these images. Thus, returning to the definition of ethics, photo manipulation in many instances is an ethical procedure, because it is widely “recognized” among the American culture.

Photo manipulation is often necessary to correct mistakes captured by the camera. The human eye can record light in a “ten-million-to-one range” while photography can only capture light in a “hundred-to-one brightness range” (Brower) Because of this problem, one cannot rely wholly upon a single image for an accurate view of reality. Certain areas of a photograph may also lack in color or contrast or even be distorted by wide-angle or telephoto lenses. Manipulation can thus be a means to bring a photograph closer to reality.

Jerry Lodriguss, an Astronomical Photographer, said, “The fundamental fact that we usually forget is that when we take a picture we do not make a perfectly objective recording of reality. What we make is an interpretation of reality” ( Those who criticize photo manipulation on the grounds that it produces fictional images, must understand that there has yet to be invented a type of media that can portray absolute reality. On that same token, even the way our eyes view the world differ from person to person. Therefore, a certain characteristic like the color green, which is viewed as reality to one individual, may be slightly different to another.

On the converse side of this issue, photo manipulation in many cases, is deceitful. American culture accepts lying as unethical. The National Press Photographers Association states simply, “As journalists we believe the guiding principle of our profession is accuracy; therefore, we believe it is wrong to alter the content of a photograph in any way that deceives the public” (

Those who use photo manipulation in advertising and in the news often have personal agendas in mind. It is in their best interest to hide or distort truth in order to accomplish such goals as increased subscription, viewer ship or product sales. One example is when CBS used a real-time image modification system to display the CBS logo all over New York City, often in place of the NBC logo ( This kind of manipulation presents a reality that is not true for an actual visitor to Manhattan.

Unethical photo manipulation can cause dangerous repercussions. Because technology has allowed photo manipulation to become seemingly realistic, leaders in government and corporate positions can make highly influential or drastic decisions based on falsified information. In an article by Ivan Amato, Professor James Currie was quoted: “‘Every office you go into at the Pentagon has CNN on.’” Amato went further, “And that means, he says, that a government, terrorist or advocacy group could set geopolitical events in motion on the strength of a few hours’ worth of credibility achieved by distributing a snippet of well-doctored video” (

Photo manipulation is unethical because it eventually leads to a loss in credibility. Photojournalist Allan Detrich resigned after being investigated for photo manipulation in his work for the Blade. He had added or deleted certain parts of 79 photos that year. Detrich’s credibility plummeted, even though much of his work had received awards for exceptional photojournalism ( Photo manipulation, for whatever the intent, can be very costly to an organization’s credibility.

Farid, Henry (2008). Photo Tampering Throughout History. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from

National Press Photographers Association (March 9, 2005). NPPA Calls Newsweek's Martha Stewart Cover “A Major Ethical Breach.” Retrieved April 9, 2008, from

Brower, Kenneth (May 1998). Photography in the age of falsification. The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved April 8, 2008, from

Lodriguss, Jerrry. Catching the light: ethics of digital manipulation. Retrieved April 8, 2008, from

National Press Photographers Association (1991). Digital Manipulation Code of Ethics. Retrieved April 9, 2008, from

Blade Editor: Detrich Submitted 79 Altered Photos This Year

Amato, Ivan (August 2000). Lying with Pixels

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Search Engine Optimization: Local businesses must adapt

Getting a listing in the phone book or putting ads in the local newspaper may not be as effective for business in coming years.

BYU students are using the web now more than ever and Utah County businesses have become increasingly aware of the need to go online to take advantage of the ever-increasing use of the internet.

“The rising generation isn't looking in the phone book,” said Dave Bascom, CEO of, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, works with its clients to increase traffic to their websites. Bascom, a BYU alumni, began his career working for by promoting increased web traffic to many of Utah's hotels and resorts. He later became successful after launching which changed its name to over a year ago.

“Companies that aren't online are missing out to their competition,” Bascom said.

Many BYU students can be seen out on the grass or in the eatery using laptops surfing the internet. The 10 open-access computer labs are often filled to capacity with students, especially during the fall and winter semesters. Students must use the internet to register for classes, check grades, take quizzes and look up class assignments. This only lends to the fact that students are beginning to use the internet more frequently to look up businesses and product information.

“I haven't used a phone book in years, because you just look up phone numbers even on the internet,” BYU student Tyler Smith said. “Why would I go to the yellow pages when I can go to the internet?”, which now provides service to many national companies, has also helped many local businesses to find added traffic, which have led to increased profits.

“Even localized businesses should have a web presence,” Bascom said.

Cascade Collision, a client of, has received much of its business from its website. The Orem based auto body repair shop, which has no need of catering to a national audience, will appear on Google after any user searches for “Utah Auto Body Repair,” which is what local residents would search for, Bascom said.

“We are getting more often that someone will say they found us on the web,” said Brian Nichols, owner of Cascade Collision.

Nichols said he has received a lot of added benefit from having a marketing plan that involves the web. Many customers have not only found the company by searching online, but they have also been able to learn about Cascade's processes for collision repair in order to make informed decisions on whether to use their services. This information has yielded positive results, Nichols said.

Nichols has also kept the student market in mind as he's emphasized the use of the internet for the company.

“Generally, college students are internet savvy,” he said.

Web development professionals say that for local businesses, like those in Utah County, it can be difficult to compete with some of the larger national companies that offer similar products.

“I just think it's getting pretty tricky to get these natural search results to the top of the page,” said Garry Scoville, Director of IT at Magellan Health. “The average small company can't afford to do it.”

There are many marketing opportunities for small businesses that can't afford SEO services, Bascom said. He advises small local businesses to put their business information in the free local Yahoo and Google listings. One other cost-effective online marketing option is pay-per-click advertising, Bascom said.

Pay-per-click advertising allows marketers to put ads online and only pay whenever a user clicks on one of their ads. Scoville also agreed that a pay-per-click campaign would be the most effective method of marketing online for local businesses because the advertiser will only pay for actual results of real visitors.

The increased use of the internet doesn't necessarily mean an increase of consumers actually buying products online. Many students and Utah County residents simply use the internet to find store locations, product availability and to learn about products and services.

“I wanted to buy an external hard drive so I looked it up first,” Smith said. “I haven't bought anything over the internet recently, I usually go research it and go buy it at the store.”

The internet lets users easily look up product reviews by customers who had already purchased that product. always has a list of reviews for its products. Usually these reviews are based on a five-star rating. This kind of information is not found in stores or in the phone book.

“I won't necessarily buy from the internet a lot just because its too tempting to buy a lot,” BYU student Ben Thompson said, “but I'll do a lot of research on it--look at reviews and stuff.”

The internet also offers a wide variety of discussion forums for users to rave or condemn certain products or companies. In this way the internet promotes better business practices. Any act of scandal or disservice by a company will eventually find itself online and available to the public.

Some people can still be wary of using the internet for fear of releasing their personal information to spammers or identity thieves. In the near future, there should be more secure ways of buying things online, BYU student Anne Ricks said.

There are many added benefits for businesses to have a website beyond marketing.

“The web is great because it provides a store that people can go see with out having any employees,” BYU student Chris London said.

London is a self-taught programmer who has worked for many web development firms including Provo based Heritage Web Solutions. He currently works in Orem for a company that builds websites for national clients, principally law firms.

The internet saves business owners time and money. It allows customers to browse products at any time, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, London said.

London hopes to own an online business that will require very little of his attention.

“Every small business will have to be on the internet in 20 years in order to survive,” London said.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Lamanite Daughters" - Minerva Teichert

Minerva Teichert’s painting “Lamanite Daughters” exhibits profound movement and excitement coupled with vibrant color. With a broad spectrum of Teichert’s Book of Mormon work, one can readily tell she was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau – with her expressive and stylized curvilinear figures. One can’t but help to critique realistic and historical qualities in her work. However, it is important to note that she was very imaginative and she was secluded on ranch in Wyoming. We as viewers must learn to appreciate her work, not for its historical accuracy, but for its power in story-telling and evoking emotion. I don’t think Teichert readily declared her paintings to be perfect documentaries of the Book of Mormon time period.

The setting is in a lush green tropical forest with exotic looking plants surrounding a river opening. The Lamanite women in this piece are moving gleefully by the river. Their dark skin is offset by brilliant white dresses which look more typical of the early 1900’s rather than an ancient American people. They carry strings of scarlet red flowers. Their gestures and poses seem somewhat staged as if they stood together in a studio or in a pageant.

Perhaps Teichert took to heart the mentioning of the beautiful and “fair” daughters of the Lamanites in the Book of Mormon text. Rather than an often ignorant and immoral persona that comes across as Lamanites, Teichert glorifies their beauty and innocence. She recognized the importance of womanhood, and painted these Lamanite daughters as joyful and confident.

It is assumed that this setting precedes the horrible kidnappings that occurred by the hands of the wicked priests of Noah. I felt that Teichert exemplified virtue in this piece. The white dresses and red flowers all exemplify this principle. Teichert focused on the preciousness and frailness of human virtue, by sharply contrasting it, figuratively, with the unfortunate onslaught which was about to take place. That oncoming event would destroy such virtue which Moroni described later as “most dear and precious above all things” (Mor. 9:9).

Although Teichert’s work seems isolated from scholarly perspectives, her true beliefs—strengthened by her feminine personality and exuberant imagination—shine forth through this painting. I believe in some way that that kind of work which shows inner faith is more true to life than work which merely stays realistically accurate. This is the great power of expressive art.

Monday, July 7, 2008


The key to happiness: 42

42 ways to love.
42 types of chocolate.
42 ways to give.
42 roads to travel.
42 places to visit.
42 friends to make.
42 books to read.
42 pieces of classical music.
42 best films.
42 flavors of icecream.
42 beaches to visit.
42 stars to count.
42 kisses.