Last Updated on January 30, 2020 by BVN

Above: Climate Activist Vanessa Nakate

S.E. Williams | Contributor

Davos, SUI –Associated Press (AP) staff was recently engaged in tense, soul searching conversation over the issue of racism after the organization  was criticized for cropping out an African climate activist from a photo taken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland recently.

AP reporter David Bauder wrote Monday how the news agency’s original photo featured five international climate activists including the acclaimed Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg and Ugandan activist, Vanessa Nakate.

When the photographer prepared to transmit the image however, he/she cropped Nakate out of the picture according to Bauder. The doctored image which featured four young White women only was then sent to AP customers the world over.

Although most recipients were unaware Nakate was removed from the photo, it wasn’t long before someone noticed and criticized AP on social media.

Top photo is the edited version AP sent out and the bottom photo is the original.

Nakate even posted her own tearful video on social media describing how when she saw the photo, she felt erased. “It was the first time in my life that I understood the definition of the word “racism.”

When AP editors purportedly realized the magnitude of their insensitive, journalistic error they sent out other images that included Nakate.

Thunberg publicly supported Nakate on social media where she reinforced Nakate’s criticism of AP reposting, “’You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent.’”

AP has acknowledged cropping the photo prompted soul-searching and staff conversations over issues of racism and inclusion. AP Executive Editor and Senior Vice President Sally Buzbee expressed her hope AP learned from this experience and will be a better news agency going forward.

Buzbee also issued an apology to Nakate.

See the full AP report here: Photo cropping mistake leads to AP soul-searching on race.

S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and social justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Over the years Stephanie has reported for other publications in the inland region and Los Angeles and received awards from the California News Publishers Association for her investigative reporting and Ethnic Media Services for her weekly column, Keeping it Real. She also served as a Health Journalism Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.