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Would you run this photo, Friday lab (151)

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  1. Charlie Pfister
    October 22, 2008 at 3:11 am

    If I was the editor I wouldn’t have run the photo. I wouldn’t have because of the body in the photo. I have a problem with the body because it’s very graphic, and I know it would offend many people, especially the family and friends of the body. It’s true that the photo is very powerful and does tell the story well, but I just think this story could have got the point across without it and without offending people.

  2. khaslett
    October 22, 2008 at 5:36 am

    As an editor, I would run this photo.
    I like the controversial elements that this picture contains, both of the pure photographic elements (a drowned man) and of the caption information (died trying to cross into the United States).
    I do weigh the dead body and the gravity it adds to the photo. However, I understand as a human being, both death and grief are universal experiences. This photo captures both experiences in a raw but respectful way, and I feel no negative behavior or any sort is glorified.
    To me, this photo opens up dialouge through its caption information about a greater and broader topic (border control, immigration) while putting a human life and face with it (the dead man and the grieving family relative). No one who reads a dry story about Texan efforts to control illegal immigration can escape the other side: a man who died trying to get in. To refuse to run this photo would be risking leaving out a whole other side to the story.

  3. Kylie Kinley
    October 22, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    At first glance, I was opposed to running this photo. I felt that the image was too graphic for young readers and that the grief shown was too personal to run in a newspaper. However, when I saw that the date was July 4, 2000, I changed my mind. I feel that the picture was a fitting way to remind Americans how very important the freedom that Independence Day celebrates is and to show them exactly how much other people are willing to sacrifice to experience that freedom. I also think this photo would make an excellent wake-up call for all Americans who are apathetic about illegal immigration issues. In conclusion, I feel that the benefits of running this picture outweigh the drawbacks.

  4. Jenna Gibson
    October 23, 2008 at 3:58 am

    I would absolutely run this photo, and would probably give it prominant play. I’m a strong believer in free speech and the role of the media as the fourth estate, and I feel like this is a side to the issue of immigration that we don’t see every day even though it happens all the time.

    I think that editors do need to be careful with images like this that can offend some people. However, in this case the photo adds to the story a shock factor that really drives home what these illegal immigrants go through to get to the US. It’s worth the risk of offending a few people to really get through to people that this is a problem that happens to real people, not just statistics.

    As an editor, I would be proud to run such a well-taken, provacative, story-telling photo in my paper.

  5. Logan Thompson
    October 24, 2008 at 4:53 am

    As and editor, I would run the photo. Although there are more reasons than the simple fact that it’s extremely powerful and well-taken, those reasons alone would probably be enough for me to run it. On top of that, however, I think much more emotional and potentially offensive pictures have run in papers before. Pictures of dead bodies in newspapers are not that rare anymore. Whether that’s a good thing or not, it means that if I don’t run it, the “other guy” will.

    But it’s not solely about beating the other guy. If I thought it would truly offend a large number of people, I would not run it. Yes, it could offend the grieving man in the photo or family and friends of the deceased man, but that’s something you have to deal with sometimes as an editor. If you try to run your paper without ever offending anybody at all, you won’t be in business long.

    The emotion and power that will resonate with readers is worth the risk.

  6. Amber Johnson
    October 24, 2008 at 7:24 am

    As an editor, I would run this photo mostly because of the newsworthiness of the picture and would-be article. Although the photo is slightly graphic with the dead body and all, I chose to consider how much worse it could be. The photograph does not show a face, does not show any blood and does not show any gore. Had the victims face been shown, I may have thought more carefully about whether or not to run the photograph.

    Although there would be some repercussions, hostility from the victims family, etc., this photograph is filled with emotion. Besides, who wouldn’t want to read about immigration and Border Patrol? My theory is that all response, good or bad, is positive in a way because it shows that readers care about the articles we publish and have an opinion about the issues at hand.

  7. Lauren Garcia
    October 24, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I would probably run the photo, although I might be a little uncomfortable doing so. It’s obviously a powerful photo, bringing to readers a serious issue’s personal reality that so many don’t really think about. I guess I judged it on what I would think if I saw it on the front page of a paper. And I think I would be very moved by it. But I wouldn’t really be offended because of the lack of identity of the two people.
    If their faces were clearly seen, I wouldn’t run it. Then again, I’m not really a “shock value” kinda person.

  8. Tawny Burmood
    October 24, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    As and editor, I would run this photo. It goes perfectly with the the topic (immigration and border control), and if I saw the picture in a newspaper it would definitley have more of an emotional impact on me then if I just read in the story that two people died trying to cross the river into the United States. I think it tells people about a different side of immigration, and it’s one that many of us don’t see.
    While I do feel this photo may offend some people, I still think I would run the photo mainly because the faces are not identified.

  9. Travis Beck
    October 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    As an editor, I would run this photo.

    Not only is it extremely newsworthy but the graphic content is visually engaging. If the picture was full of gore and the man identifying the body were bawling, I would still run the photo. Like Kiah said above, it illustrates a different side of the immigration, border debate. We have all read articles dealing with how Texas and southern states feel about illigal immigration. This picture captures the conflict and provides a very real, very human element to the mix of controversy. To not run this photo would be to deprive our country of everything it values. The pictures is worthy of all the prizes it received.

  10. Kate Veik
    October 24, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    As an editor, I would definitely run this photo. It is a body but no face is shown, it isn’t too terrible graphic and, along with the caption, I believe it illustrates the problems of illegal immigration quite well. Especially because it was taken on America’s Independence Day.

    We hear about people risking their lives to get across the border into the U.S., but I, for one, have never actually seen it.

    On the same note, I wouldn’t run this as the centerpiece photo but it would probably make front page.

  11. Anna Mostek
    October 24, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I would definitely run this photo. The body and the mourner aren’t identified and their faces aren’t showing. I feel it’s an extremely strong photo–not a great photo in the sense that it’s composed nicely and has perfect lighting and what not– but of the subject matter. A family member mourning the death of a loved on, wading in the water next to his floating body, does not sound like a picture that would be very accepted. I would certainly never, ever run it as a stand alone. But, it is almost necessary to show this picture with the story to get the point across just how dangerous and obviously fatal it is to cross the border.

    I agree that it complements the immigration and border control story very well and, if anything, actually makes it stronger. I find it hard to believe that this picture was voted “best photo” by AP, but it certainly does give people something to talk about.

  12. Kara Brown
    October 24, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I don’t believe the media should function as some sort of sugar-coater for the masses — their objective should be to the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it makes people feel. Because this is a very timely and grave issue, I think it’s the duty of the media to tell the story. Two people died, and that is an indication of the larger hazards of crossing the river to come to the U.S. I don’t think running it or not relates to the issue “shock value” at all really, or at least that shouldn’t be the primary reason for running it. It should not be run just to give people something to talk about or to sell more papers.

    It is definitely a very strong and graphic photo, and because of that, it would be difficult to determine how much play to give it on the page. I can foresee many phone calls and emails from angry parents about their children seeing the photo regardless of the play, but especially if it’s given a lot of room and attention. That shouldn’t be a reason to not run it, but just a reason to be thoughtful about the placement and size.

    I have to wonder this, though: would we be more hesitant to run the story if it were of two Caucasian people in a river in the Midwest? Do we feel like we have more license to exploit people like this if they are more of an “other” to us? There is something to be said for not exploiting the situation of the family in the photo, and examining the reasons why we think we can.

  13. Megan Nichols
    October 24, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    If I were an editor I would run this photo. It’s an emotionally strong photo, and it makes me wonder what the story behind it is. Because I assume it would do the same for others, I would definitely run it to draw people into the story. Also, neither man is identifiable in the photo so people wouldn’t be able to tell who they are.

  14. Jessie Evertson
    October 24, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I would run this photo without hesitation. It had great news value and tells an interesting and devastating story. It also shows a side of immigration that people do not usually hear about.

    The only way I wouldn’t run the photo is if it showed the dead person’s body because that would be too gruesome and emotional, but as is, it is a great photo. I think it could sell a lot of newspapers.

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