VegNews Using Stock Photos of Meat in Vegan Magazine Articles

VegNews Using Stock Photos of Meat in Vegan Articles

Screenshot - VegNews Using Stock Photos of Meat in Vegan Articles

******04/19/11****** – Update to the Original Article

VegNews issued a formal apology yesterday and even used the term “screwed up” mentioned in my article!  You can read the VegNews apology here, which also includes a written policy on their photography practices going forward.  I am very happy to hear this good news. I will keep an eye on their website and check them out at the newsstand and if they pass muster then I will go ahead and subscribe. Yay vegans and Yay VegNews!

—————————————–Original Article——————————————-

Subscribe to VegNews? You may want to reconsider. It was just exposed yesterday by QuarryGirl (thanks QuarryGirl) that VegNews has been using stock photos that actually contain meat in the pictures in their magazine and on their website. WTF? Funny thing is that I had recently been thinking about subscribing to VegNews. I’d been following them on Facebook and checking out their website. Since I am newly vegan, and since they are the only vegan magazine available, I thought it would be “cool” to subscribe. I no longer believe that they are cool, but just a bunch of liars. They have pictures of ribs (that are supposed to be vegan) with the bones photo-shopped out! Come on. Really?

I followed the breaking story this morning and read many of the comments online from various sources, with no response from VegNews. Then VegNews released a response and it was lame. They did not apologize, but instead made excuses about money and bragged about awards and said they would try to do something about it soon. Umm – they need to hire a PR person because they really missed the opportunity to get it right.

Now, I used to work for a retail website and took pictures of products and Photoshopped them. It is time consuming and requires a lot of attention to detail. However, the site I worked for would never consider using a photo of one product to represent another, which would be deceptive. And, if they can pay someone to edit a photo from to make it look vegan, then they certainly could pay someone to take pictures of real vegan food, or better yet use vegan stock photos, of which there are plenty. They weren’t even crediting the photos to, which is a requirement for use. Lying is not a good business practice and does not lend to journalistic integrity. What if I used fake pictures for my recipes? It makes me question everything they have done. IF you read their response it is filled with BS and lies.

VegNews Using Stock Photos of Meat in Vegan Articles Letter

Screenshot - Apology Somewhat Small on the VegNews Website

I cannot begin to explain the unethical nature of their actions or why they did it, although they tried to explain it away. But, excuses are like a**holes. Everybody’s got one. Certainly they have done some good in the world. I guess my problem is that their letter to their readers sucked. Not only was it in PDF form, making it harder for search engines to find and index, it was just a small blurb on their site entitled “A letter from the VegNews staff.” That could be about anything! Why not just come out and call it like it is and say you screwed up and that this is unethical and a dishonest practice and that it will stop. And, while your at it issue a real heartfelt apology. Surely this story will end up on the news, and other major websites like Huffington Post, if it hasn’t already. Better to to some damage control than do some corporate crap press release that doesn’t really address the issue.

Trust is so important, especially when it comes to a small niche market like veganism and the food we put in our bodies. Do you trust VegNews at this point? I don’t. Deception on this level does not lie. A better source for vegan news is the bloggers online who spend hours writing and taking their own photos. What do you think?

1 Comment

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One Response to VegNews Using Stock Photos of Meat in Vegan Magazine Articles

  1. Cory Davis

    Veg News did nothing wrong. The truth is that vegetarians and vegans, in the sea of the North American population, are few and far between. Veg News does not have the resources that say, “Guns and Ammo” magazine would have. The fact is that Veg News is one of the few magazines published that tries to spark interest in Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyles. This act of sparking interest in our lifestyle is exteremly important for many reasons such as the environmental impact of animal agriculture and the publics ignorance of it and compassion. The cause that Veg News has taken on is an honorable one. Just because they have used stock photos that may not have been of genuinely vegan food does not mean that the people at Veg News are liars or anything. The fact that it has been termed a scandal is stretching the truth in my perspective. To say that about a magazine that may not have had the resources for a complete series of original photography for every subject they touch on just shows how much people are focussed on the superficial aspects of things. I find it especially hard to understand other vegetarians and vegans who are expelling energy to express anger with Veg News. It seems to me that the heads of the industries that are opposing our movement of compassion and environmental restoration must be sparking cigars is their lazyboy chairs and laughing at us. We must not dispute amongst eachother and fight. There is simply no gain to it whatsoever. So what if Veg News starts using 100% original photography, what does that do for our movement? Absolutely nothing, except the loss of energy that could have been used toward something that could have progressed our movement.
    -Cory Davis

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