Not so sweet returns for The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Photo District News Online tells the story of twin magazine cover shots and headlines which ends sadly in one photographer getting canned. The two covers shows a stack of three candy pieces against a white background - a photographic solution so tried and true that Clinique made entire campaigns out of the "style". What is odder, in my humble opinion, is the similarities of headlines - the Style Weekly headline was "Sweet return," while the Times-Dispatch headline was "A Sweet Return." Brainsync!

So why fire the photographer and not the layouter who picked the image for the cover?

"We learned that the photographer had seen the Style photo while at the candy company, and was told of the similarity, but submitted the picture anyway as original work," Seals wrote. "That is visual plagiarism and that is why we have dismissed the photographer." said Times-Dispatch managing editor Louise Seals to PDNonline

Still, why not fire the writer? Several phrases looked to be copied straight from the earlier Style Weekly article. The writer however was an intern that has since left the Times-Dispatch. Seals has not explained how several parts of the story, from the cover photo the concept, the headline and several phrases in the article itself - things typically done by several different people at a newspaper - all seem to be nicked from the same source. If you ask me, it's a bit of a cop-out to let the photographer take the rap here when those sorts of shots haven't been original since Irving Penn piled his first ABC blocks on top of each other as a wee toddler and decided to make a career out of it.
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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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anothercopywriter's picture

I guess there are only so many bad, candy-related puns you can make about Civil War-era confections...

CopyWhore's picture

Thank god these editors aren't someone's agency creative director! I'd sooner slit my wrists than work for someone who'd allow this kind of crap to go through!

AnonymousCoward's picture

When I lived in Richmond we called the paper "The Richmond Times-Disgrace." The entire paper really is quite awful. One of my friends, a lifelong Richmonder, has a brilliant collection of unitented double-entendres and other moronic headlines from the paper.

anothercopywriter's picture

And you don't have to be a designer to loathe the sub-sub-par typography on both of these.