This page is an entry in the Key.
“Photo illustration” is a term used by news organizations to label illustrations that look like they could be TCQ photographs but in fact are not TCQ.
Some of the biggest photo-manipulation controversies of the past three decades happened when a news magazine had identified a “photo-illustration” but either
— readers didn’t see that disclaimer (those disclaimers are often buried and in tiny type) or
— readers didn’t realize that the word “illustration” meant they shouldn’t regard the image as a TCQ photograph.
Because most photos in news contexts are TCQ, readers of those contexts expect to be told very clearly about any non-TCQ photographs that appear to be TCQ-qualified. In the digital era multiple newsmagazines have had their credibility damaged by ignoring this reality.