Horrifying vegans everywhere it was recently uncovered that VegNews Magazine has been using stock pictures of meat and passing them off as vegan dishes. Quarrygirl.com a vegan blog with the tag line “meat is murder” posted the side-by-side comparisons (here) between VegNews images appearing online and in print and the istockphoto original found on the stock site.
The magazine responded in a letter to their readers by saying that although they are “an ethical vegan magazine, owned-and-operated by vegans since its inception, VegNews is a labor of love, totally motivated by our dedication to ending animal suffering” it is not “financially feasible for VegNews” to “use custom-shot photography for every spread” and there are “very few specifically vegan images offered by stock companies” so they have “resorted to using stock photography that may or may not be vegan.” Letter (here).
The uproar continued after their non-apologetic statement so they finally issued a real apology (here): “We screwed up. With regard to our use of symbolic imagery in VegNews, our readers got it right. We wholeheartedly apologize. We assure you that we will never again use non-vegan photographs in VegNews.” And, there’s a new Vegan Stock photo agency: http://veganstockphoto.com that formed after the controversy.
Using stock can be convenient and cheap, but magazines need to maintain the trust of their readers, so a little fact checking will keep you from getting burned down the road. Obviously Veg News knew they were deceiving their readers so that’s different than not checking to make sure an image is accurate, but if I was forced to buy cheap stock for a magazine I would at least use TinEye to see where else the image was being used.