Questionable Photo


Carolyn Cole of the LA Times won BOP Photojournalist of the year for this photo. However, I do not think the picture was appropriate for news. When I look at this picture my stomach literally hurts. Portraying the dead bodies of two children online or in a newspaper seems unnecessary and too graphic. One must remember that online news is easily accessible and all kinds of people could come across that photo. As a news consumer I did not enjoy coming across this photo. I believe the conflict between Israel and Lebanon and its consequences could have been displayed more tactfully. For instance, the tenth photo in the Picture Gallery at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2550369.ece is a good example of how to display violence in less gruesome way. This photo allows the consumer to understand the gravity of the conflict without seeing any dead bodies. I feel as if Cole's photo was put up to shock people and I don't think people need those types of images to understand what's happening.


CBS and Anorexia

Today I read an article on CBSnews.com called "Anorexia Stripped Bare."


The article was accompanied by a photo of an emaciated woman and professed anorexic. The photo first emerged on billboards in Italy, and as disturbing as the picture is, the photographer had an understandable reason to broadcast it: to show anorexia without the guise of beauty and fashion and shine light on the fashion industry's obsession with extreme thinness. The billboard is part of a campaign against anorexic models and supports London, Milan and Madrid's ban on too-thin models. The photo is controversial not only because of the issue at hand but because the woman is nude, and the extent of her anorexia- which she's dealt with for 14 years- is very apparent. Her bones are poking from her body, and she looks much older than her 27 years. I was not offended by this article or photo at all because the billboard is meant to be a deterrant against anorexia and employing anorexic models. There is a video link to CBS News' The Early Show, where this topic was also reported, and in the course of the video, the anorexia billboard is shown more clearly. There's nothing about this page that I would have handled differently. The photo is informative and newsworthy because this is a topic that continues to pop up in the media and remains relevant.

Controversial Video on CNN

The front page of CNN on Wednesday Sept. 26, had its lead story about a woman who is going to court saying she was unfairly tasered during a confrontation with a policeman. Immediately under the link to the story and a photo of the officer standing over the woman is a link to a video. In the video there is a clip (about 20 seconds in) of the officer repeatedly tasered the woman and even shoving her with his foot at one point and of the woman being so shocked that she falls into the car she is writhing next to.
I would not have this video on my website. Personally I do not see the need to show a picture of the officer and woman on the front page of the website and then also give a link showing the merciless treatment she receives from the officer. I'm sure if the website is looking for hits, a lot a people would look into this video but it's awful that they show this woman getting tortured by an offic er of the law. I would have shown a photo or two but not a long segment of video.


The link I found was on foxnews.com. It was the feature story of the day, and it is a link to a YouTube video of a landmine exploding in Iraq with American soldiers driving on a highway.


Fox directly linked to the YouTube video with the only disclaimer saying "WARNING: Graphic language."

This brings up an interesting debate of how to handle YouTube videos, which are hardly censored and often times have explicit language.

In this case, I would have linked it as well, with the same disclaimer - I think FOX made the right move because it is an unbelievable, eye-popping video that really does show what American soldiers have to deal with every day during the war.

It is a YouTube video that is informative, even in spite of its graphic nature.

Questionable Link

The link that I found was on CNN.com. It is http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2007/04/18/sot.nbc.cho.speaks.nbc. This is the video of the Virginia Tech Murderer's speech that was shown by most all TV stations and put on the sites of almost all news sites ran as well.

I don't think that I would run this. The news value is that he made a speech and what he said in it. His reason for putting it on video was to get some recognition and to try to get people to sympathize with him. To me, it isn't a good idea to give a person like him the time of day. To run this video is to fall into his trap. It is granting a murderer his last wish while the people he killed didn't have time to make one.

If a news organization really sees it necessary to give his reasons for murdering, which I wouldn't argue, it is sufficient to put it in text. This doesn't give him the fame or possible sympathy that comes with seeing his face, but it still gets the news across.

Questionable Content

As a Web editor or Web producer, you will be making some tough decisions on story and photo play and Web-linking policies.

See if you can find at least one example on a news site of questionable links, photos or stories, due to violent content (in coverage of murders, fires, crashes or war), sexual references or hate-based material. Please give the URL for the questionable page(s), and explain diplomatically why you have concerns. Tell me how you would have handled the content differently.