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Public editor: Setting the record straight on an upside-down jet

This photo, shown on page B3 of Aug. 6's Report on Business section, appears to show a Bombardier jet upside-down. The Globe's photo caption did not explain that the picture had been rotated 180 degrees, an intentional compositional choice on the photographer’s part.


Many corrections and clarifications that The Globe runs are pretty straightforward. A wrong name or title, an incorrect number or calculation, last week Globe editors heard from a number of readers who were puzzled by what seemed to be an upside-down photo of a Bombardier jet (see above).

As often happens, a few of the letter writers used humour to gently wonder what was going on. "On reflection, the accompanying photo of the Bombardier jet is up-side-down," one wrote. Another wrote; " The picture of the business jet on page B3 ("Battle for business-jet supremacy", 6th August) was upside down. Looking at the puddles, and on reflection, perhaps it was a plane mistake."

In fact, it wasn't a mistake. It was done deliberately. The problem was, the photo cutline failed to include the readers on that insight. The photo information came from the Reuters wire saying: "Visitors view a Gulfstream G3 business jet, produced by Gulfstream Aerospace, at the Farnborough Airshow in Farnborough July 22, 2010. Image has been rotated 180 degrees."

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The caption didn't say the photo was rotated. To my eye, it makes a much more interesting shot upside down with the puddles on top and a very clear reflection of the plane top and bottom and that information could have easily be added in the caption which said in the paper; "Halfway through the year, the value of Gulfstream's aircraft shipments was 7.5 per cent greater than Bombardier."

As a result of this confusion, a clarification ran last week noting that photo was "intentionally inverted by the photographer for compositional reasons. The Globe's caption omitted this explanation."

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More


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