Questionable Photo...


This photo, part of Fox New's package of coverage of the Princess Diana inquest, shows the people in the car moments before the crash that killed her. The potentially disturbing aspect of this photo, to me, is the expression on the driver's face. Maybe he's just in the middle of talking about how much he hates the paparazzi or maybe he's yawning, but his wide-eyed, open-mouthed expression suggests to me that maybe he's realizing, at that moment, that he's losing control of the car and is about to crash. I can't remember if he survived the crash or not, but if those were his last moments and I were a member of his family, I probably wouldn't want his facial expression at the moment he realized he was about to die out there for anyone with an Internet connection to see.

I can't fault Fox News for putting the pictures on their Web site, though. After all, they are now part of a public record thanks to the inquest, and I suppose some people are still interested in this ten years later. I do, however, think their coverage is a bit sensationalist. I think putting the photo I just described alone on the front page and running a breaking news banner about the accompanying video of Princess Di in a hotel elevator (how exciting) on her last night is a bit much for something that happened ten years ago, especially when it pushes North Korea's agreeement to disable its main nuclear facility out of the lead news spot.

Questionable Content

I think the footage of the tasering of the UF student at the Kerry forum could be considered questionable content. While I don't think the footage was gruesome (you don't see him actually being tasered, you just hear it), I think this footage brings up the controversy over citizen journalism. The networks accepted footage that was not professionally obtained, which a lot of journalists consider to be extremely controversial and are skeptical to do so.

In my opinion, I think that this footage should have been run because it was the only way for them to get the content. I do think, however, that the footage was edited to favor the student because it did not show what happened before his last question.

There is a video of MSNBC's coverage on YouTube at http://youtube.com/watch?v=tCBcOQkUNjI.

Picture of Child Sexual Assault Victim

This picture shows the image of a child who was the victim of a sexual assault. This has been a major story in recent news. The showing of this image is more deviant than it is questionable. Given the information the police were provided, showing the image of the child was necessary. Usually, however the identity of sexual assault victims (especially children) are kept private. But again given the circumstances of this instance such as the unknown location of the girl and the perpatraitor, the child's safety was at risk. I think the showing of this image was very necessary in order to help close the investigation.
One concern that I have about the photo is that it is still up on some online news sites. I think now that the girl has been found "safe" her image should be removed, however sites such as the one included in this URL continue to make this image available to the public even after the girl was found.


questionable photo


This is an incredibly dramatic photo; and quite graphic. However, I think it tells an important story and is important to include in the article. The United States was sending a very specific message about their work in Iraq, and the picture captures this message effectively. It was on the first page of the story, and there was no prior warning to readers.

I don’t know if it is graphic “enough” to warrant an advisory to the public; perhaps it could be on the second page of the article after one click. Violent pictures are not always bad; this one illustrates a few important points. It shows the news that al-Zarqawi is dead and also conveys how the U.S. is publicizing this information. Although seeing a dead body is certainly shocking, some of the shock value has been reduced because it is a photo of a photo. It could be a "questionable" photo, but I think it's acceptable.


2004 Tsunami Photographs

Hundreds, if not thousands, of photographs showing the devastation of the 2004 tsunami in South Asia inundated the media following the disaster. On Dec. 28, 2004, both the New York Times and the Washington Post emphasized the loss of children with their front page photographs.

The New York Times took up almost the entire front page above the fold with this photograph, to which many people took offense. The Washington Post led with this photograph, also placed above the fold on the front page. I think the Washington Post made the better decision in this case because its picture conveyed more emotion while still maintaining poignancy and taste. Instead of relying on the shock value that comes with the dead bodies of children in the Times' photo, the Posts's photo appropriately conveys the deep sense of loss and devastation without possibly offending individuals the minute they see the front page.

When I found these pictures online, they didn't come with any warnings, especially not the New York Times' photograph. The Washington Post has a slide show under the Photos from the Disaster tab of images from the disaster. The slide show does come with a warning to viewers of violent or graphic content. When scrolling through the photos, I didn't find anything offensive; although dead bodies were shown, they were covered or wrapped in tarp. I personally don't think the warning is necessary, but it is always better to be cautious than to misjudge a readers' reaction. As an editor I would always want to err on the side of caution, so I would keep the warning label on this slide show.

I think it is important to convey to readers the true gravity of any situation, which is why I would keep the pictures in this slide show online, even though they contain dead bodies. However, I believe in maintaining taste and decency, which is why I would not publish the the New York Times' photo in print or online.