Like many people I was struck yesterday by the power of The Mirror's front page which tells a heartbreaking tale of starving children in Britain.
It's a story that needs to be told and they told it with unmissable impact.
It was not easy to look at the photograph, into the crying eyes of a starving child in Britain in 2014, her face smeared with tears, snot and despair, and not feel deeply upset about the injustices which have befallen her.
But then, it turned out it wasn't really a starving child in Britain in 2014.
Far from it. It's a photo of a child crying about losing a worm. It was taken in 2009. It's called 'Portrait of little girl crying' and was taken by Lauren Rosenbaum (who has lots of photos on Flickr).
Of course a child getting upset about anything - even losing a worm - can still be quite sad and nobody likes to think about kids being upset. But the fact remains this child wasn't crying because she was starving, which would surely have been the assumption of a great many people picking up The Mirror yesterday.
So was the Mirror being dishonest, deliberately misleading, or simply doing what a lot of other publications do when they need a photo for a particular story? After all, stock photography is often used in the media - 'drunk woman sitting on the floor' is one of the hardest working images of its kind:
Objectively there's no difference. Stock photography is stock photography. But subjectively it feels like there is an important difference here. To me at least.
Stock photography is meant as filler. We can't identify the drunk woman sitting on the floor (though we might all be able to identify with her). It's vague, generic, as stock photography so often is. It doesn't stir an emotional reaction. It merely fills a gap were a picture should be when more relevant photography isn't available.
Stock photography shouldn't be the reason we pick up a newspaper. It is rarely the reason we read on. If it was, what would that say about the quality of the journalism? The Mirror's story was important, we should read it, we should know about these issues, but nobody should feel cheated by the tactics employed to draw them in. That's how we expect advertising to treat us. Not journalism.
The importance of The Mirror's story still stands, of course, but the tactic employed to grab readers' attention has sparked debate across the media.
The Guardian's head of photography, Roger Tooth, was stinging in his criticism:
"The Daily Mirror's weeping child picture was basically a lie... To use a stock shot on the front page is misleading its readers and a betrayal of its photographic heritage. The reader really doesn't expect a picture used with a front-page hard news story to be a soft library image."
But others have stood up for the Mirror's approach. Jane Merrick, political editor of the Independent on Sunday wrote on Twitter:
"I don't see the problem with Mirror using a stock pic for front page. Story is food banks, not pic. We use library pics all time"
And the reaction of The Mirror's editor Lloyd Embley is quoted by the Guardian as being: "And there was me thinking a million food parcels was the story."
Of course it is and nobody is suggesting that the choice of picture is more important than the issues raised in the story. But it is surely true that the more important the story the more important it is that nothing undermines the credibility of the story or the way in which it is told.