Our magazine was catfished: An apology and reflection from the editor

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“Humanity amongst the ruins of constant conflict” has become an ironic title, considering that the individual we featured turned out to be a digital ghost. We were catfished on this piece, along with The Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, Vice and several other outlets by the person who portrayed themselves as “Eduardo Martins”. He pulled us in with a compelling story of his experiences and the chance to share a perspective on parts of the world being ravaged as we speak through vivid photography – by stealing the work of true, seasoned photojournalists like Daniel Britt and the identity of a surfer in the UK named Max Hepworth-Povey.

Read co-founder and managing editor Larisa Karr’s comments in the Washington Post: “He posed as a heroic war photographer – and the news industry believed him”

After some reflection, my inclination is still to be grateful, as we are for anyone who shares their work, story, or perspective with us. Definitely a bit put off, but grateful for this reminder to immerse ourselves more deeply in the process of storytelling and the true connections that lay the foundation for it. This age of social media, with all the opportunity, information, and connection that it grants, demands that we are present and persistent in getting the story right. You can read up on the details of this impersonation in the Washington Post, BBC, Mashable, and other outlets. It points to the layers of falsified, biased, and manipulated “news” these days.

Read: “How to fool the world into thinking you’re a photojournalist” in Scout Magazine

So, I want to first apologize to the photojournalists whose work was plagiarized, and the entire community in independent media. We do not pay for contributions to Recount Magazine and accepting payment for features or any other content is not yet in our business model, so we exchanged nothing with “Eduardo Martins”, to be clear. At the same time, this person’s betrayal of the craft, creative work, and serious costs of photojournalism has leeched onto us here and for that I also apologize to the artists, activists, and other folks we have featured. 

Read: “Brazil ‘surfing war photographer’ Eduardo Martins exposed as fake” in BBC Latin America

Finally, to our readers, in the year since that piece, and as we continue, we seek to grow by varying our content and producing more thorough pieces, and by digging deeper with the real people creating, organizing, documenting, and building out in the world. I wasn’t sure what to do at first knowledge of this. Since the revelation, we have taken measures to be more hands-on in engaging our readers and subjects, so stay tuned for what’s to come and please email your feedback to us at recountmagazine@gmail.com.

 

Please note: Although several outlets have removed their coverage of “Eduardo Martins”, we have kept the piece, “Humanity Amongst the Ruins of Constant Conflict” up on our website to date, as originally published (with photography redacted as of September 10th), to facilitate the content of outlets exposing “Eduardo Martins” as a fraud to readers across the world. This is no endorsement of his actions, but we hope it serves as a documentation of his betrayal, evidence of his false claims, and ongoing reminder to be thorough as journalists, writers, editors, and content creators.

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