Like many news outlets, the Jersey Journal invites high school students to submit photos for its online prom gallery.
Editors at the Journal were curious about the three batches of 20 photos emailed by Albert Morales because “they were really well-captioned, but it didn’t say where the photos were taken,” says Journal deputy managing editor Ron Zeitlinger. “Everything was done so perfectly, but important information was left out.”
Also, some photos that arrived on May 9 claimed to be from a local prom that had yet to be held.
While Zeitlinger fired off some questions to the email address that accompanied the photos, a colleague did Google searches on the prom-goers.
That led them to find photos of the couple on cleveland.com, a Minnesota website and many other places, the editor says in a phone interview. “They were the same photos we received.”
Journal editors sent another note to Morales and asked why he was submitting photos all over the country. (They’d since discovered he was from California.)
“We said we wanted to know why you did it, and that we’re not mad,” says Zeitlinger.
Morales emailed back:
“We just wanted to have the prom pictures to be published and as seen by many people as possible. … Just trying to have fun by remembering good prom memories.”
Zeitlinger tells Romenesko readers: “I thought that maybe there was some agenda, but I don’t think so. We thought it was funny they did this. It’s almost like they’re poking fun at the fact that so many things can go online and not get vetted. We’re just glad we vetted them.”