A student in my online news bureau posed an interesting ethical question last week: He's doing a Halloween-pegged story and slideshow about purported "hauntings" at the Surratt House in Clinton, and he wondered if when he plays the audio interview of the museum director talking about alleged ghosts if he could insert sounds of his own footsteps and opening and closings of doors.
It sounded a bit too much like manufactured sound, rather than the capturing of real sound, to me, so I consulted friend and former colleague Keith Jenkins, who now leads a multimedia team at npr.org.
Jenkins' take: If the narration on the slide show made it clear it was the reporters' footsteps we were hearing, it would be OK; but if there was any ambiguity, it would not be ethical. That sounded like a good solution to me. Perhaps the same clarity could be achieved through captioning under the photos, rather than narration.
I'll post a link to the finished stories as soon as they're ready this week.
BTW: Sound issues on slide shows have come up in the past. I agree with purists, including Jenkins, who argue that no background music should be heard in a news slide show, unless the music was playing at the time of the interview. But I've heard others in the business argue differently.