Ohio Newspaper Said Former Photographer Altered More Pictures

A photographer for The Blade who digitally changed a front-page photo of an Ohio baseball team altered 57 other pictures that were either published in the newspaper or on its Web site this year, the newspaper said Sunday.

Allan Detrich, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1998, erased people, tree limbs and utility poles from some of his photos, Ron Royhab, The Blade's vice president and executive editor, said in a column.

In two sports photos that weren't published, Detrich inserted a hockey puck and a basketball, The Blade said.

In reviewing Detrich's work the newspaper said it found that a total of 79 of the 947 photos he submitted since Jan. 1 had been altered.

"It is impossible to make sense of why this happened, and we are embarrassed by it," Royhab wrote.

Detrich, who began working for The Blade in 1989, resigned April 7 after acknowledging that he altered a photo of Bluffton University baseball players kneeling March 30 at their first game after a bus crash killed five players in Atlanta. Photos of the team in other Ohio newspapers showed the legs of someone standing in the background. The legs did not appear in The Blade photo, taken from a similar angle.

Detrich told his editors he altered a photo for his personal files and mistakenly sent it to the newspaper.

In an e-mail sent Sunday to The Associated Press, Detrich declined to comment on The Blade's findings. He previously has said the baseball photo was a bad mistake. Upon his resignation, he said he had been planning to leave The Blade anyway and was looking forward to life outside of the news business.

The baseball photo was also published in The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Blade did not know whether any of the other altered photographs had been published elsewhere.

The newspaper, which has a weekday circulation of 135,000, plans to review photos Detrich submitted before this year, Royhab said. It is removing Detrich's photographs from its Web site and has blocked access to his photographs in the newspaper's archive.

"Journalism, whether by using words or pictures, must be an accurate representation of the truth," Royhab wrote.

He apologized to readers in the column.

The Associated Press has removed access to 50 images created by Detrich from AP's photo archive. The AP last year removed images from its archive that were created by a Beirut-based freelance photographer who the Reuters news agency said manipulated two photos.

Detrich also has worked for The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin and The Xenia Daily Gazette. He was a Pulitzer finalist in feature photography in 1998 for a series of photos of children who fled abusive parents.

The Blade, owned by Block Communications Inc., has a circulation of 180,000 on Sundays.