Home > Uncategorized > Would you run this photo, Wednesday lab (151)

Would you run this photo, Wednesday lab (151)

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  1. Cassandra Thomas
    October 17, 2008 at 3:16 am

    As an editor, I would have no problem running this photo. I think it truly captivates the emotion that no other photograph or words could describe. As neither of the faces are shown, I don’t think it takes away any privacy the family may need. Besides, I think this is a story of enough national attention that readers need to know what is happening. Just because we may not want to see this photo on the front page as we have our morning coffee, does not mean that we should look at it (and the issues associated with the tragedy). You could not have a photo with better visual appeal or composition to tell the story of this man’s plight in getting to America.

  2. Sarah McCallister
    October 20, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    While running this photo may cause some people to question the ethics of it, I would definitely run it as an editor. First of all, the faces of both people are hidden, which depersonalizes it. The average reader won’t feel as connected to the to people, and therefore won’t be as disturbed to see the dead body and the mourning relative than if both of their faces were shown. While the photo is less personal because of this, it is still extremely emotional. And emotional intrigue translates to interest. If a reader were scanning a newspaper page and saw this photo, there is no way they would continue without any sort of reaction or curiosity–they will stop to read the story, or if nothing else, pause to read the caption for the photo. Furthermore, the photo is very informative. It would fit very nicely with a story on the dangers individuals face when trying to cross the border to the United States. It’s a very strong photograph that I would have no problem running in a newspaper.

  3. Michael Saeger
    October 21, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    As an editor, I would not run this photograph. Even though the faces of both men are not shown, I still feel that this moment is still too personal. I think it is a very tricky task to depict a death in a newspaper. I might run a similar image if it were taken from a farther distance. This takes away from the emotion captured in the picture, but I feel that image would be more news worthy. If the image included some of the other people on the scene, I believe it would offer more information to the reader. This image shows a powerful scene without much information. I think a better photograph would include more information, and would not depend on the caption to tell the whole story.

  4. Sara McCue
    October 21, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    I would not run this photo. While the photograph might appeal to the emotions of readers, I feel that it is disrespectful. There are other pictures that could be used to tell the same story. A photograph of the mourning man without the body would suffice. The faces are not showing, but if I put myself in someone else’s shoes, the decision not to run this photo is easy. If I were the crying man or a family member of the dead man, I would not want the media to print this photo. While the readers may not know who the dead man is, the family members most likely would. It is just as important to have respect for a small group of readers as it is to take a picture that will interest thousands of readers.

  5. Adam Ziegler
    October 22, 2008 at 1:51 am

    I would run this photo. I definitely understand the concerns that the photo might be disrespectful, I think the positives of running it outweigh the negatives. First off, it’s a good photo. Even though you can’t see any faces it still conveys the emotion of what’s happening through the way it’s framed and the body language of the man holding his family member. It also does a great job of telling the story. The photo would probably do a better job of hammering home how dangerous and tragic crossing those rivers can be than the story ever could. That’s another reason why I think you should run the photo. It actually shows what the consequences of trying to cross the rivers could be. Seeing that photo and what could happen if people try to cross the rivers could convince people not to try crossing the rivers. While there’s probably no way to really tell if that would be the case, I think the possibility that someone could decide not to try crossing the river because of that picture outweighs any concerns about the photo being disrespectful or inappropriate.

  6. Nate Pohlen
    October 22, 2008 at 2:22 am

    I would not run this photo. I think identifying a dead body is a private matter that should not be publicized for the world to see. The picture does convey emotion with the man resting his head on his arm. But someone always has to identify a body when a person dies unexpectedly. If a picture like this is run, it could snowball into photographers going to scenes of car accidents or fires and waiting for someone to come identify a dead body. I think people can understand without this photo that crossing a river is dangerous. I don’t think the picture is newsworthy enough to outweigh the negative impact that running the photo could have on the family of the deceased man and identifier, even if the two men aren’t easily identified in the picture. My uncle had to identify the body of his dead nephew after a car accident and it was very hard on him. I think the emotional stress of that situation is enough. The identifier doesn’t deserve to be haunted by the fact that the whole world can see this private moment in a newspaper.

  7. Brittney Schuessler
    October 22, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Based on the content of the photo alone, it is a powerful and emotional picture that tells a dramatic story. There is clarity in the picture and it is well framed. It is simply a great photograph. However, I believe a moment such as this should remain private, and should not be captured for an audience. As an editor, I would not run this photo.

    If I were a family member of either man in the photo I would not appreciate anyone seeing that personal and traumatic moment. Although faces aren’t shown, those involved may be able to identify the people photographed.

    The story alone is heartbreaking and powerful. While the picture perfectly captures the essence of the story, it is too touchy of a situation to be messed with for the sake of printing a great photo. I would take the moral high road and run a different picture of similar quality. I would not involve the victims directly.

  8. October 22, 2008 at 5:41 am

    I had a 4-hour drive across Nebraska to contemplate whether I, as an editor, would run our heart wrenching photo. I still don’t know, but I’m inclined to say that I would not run it.

    This man is in the process of discovering that someone in his family has died. Even if running the photo tells a good story or sells well at the newsstand, I’d want to show the family a little respect and grant them a little privacy. If I discovered the body of a family member floating facedown in the river – for whatever reason – I’d want to be left alone and not have some newspaper use my moment of greatest grief to sell papers.

    I do see the editorial advantages of running the photo because it is a very powerful image that tells a vivid story that many of us have probably never heard before. We usually hear about illegal immigration in terms of employment numbers and other financial facts, but this photo humanizes the issue. That said, I still couldn’t bring myself to exploit a family’s grief that way.

  9. Mike
    October 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    As an editor I wouldn’t be able to run this photo. I think its a sensational photo, but its not something I would run in good faith.

    It seems to exploit the situation. I’m just generally against running photos of the actual dead. I’d prefer to run a head-shot on the person rather than the actual photo of the dead. I think that it is much more respectful and less shocking.

    My home town paper has done this several times on the online version with car accidents. It has caused a discussion about ethics.

  10. Ryan
    October 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    As an editor I would run the photo. Because the faces are not shown and neither person is identified I don’t think the picture exploits the family’s grief.
    One thing I would argue however, is that the picture shouldn’t be placed on the front page. Many people walk by news stands and it might look like we are using the picture to sell newspapers. If the picture is on the inside, the people who see it are those who are reading the newspaper and would have an understanding of the story and of the man’s grief.

  11. Ryan Boetel
    October 22, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    As an editor, I would run the photo. I think it clearly captures the emotion of the story and because the faces of neither man are shown, and they are not easily identifiable I don’t think the picture exploits the family’s grief.

    One thing I would do however, is keep the photo off of the front page. Many people walk by news stands and if the photo is the first thing people see it would look like we are using a man’s death to sell newspapers. If the photo is inside, then the only people who would see the picture are those who are reading the paper and they would have an understanding of the story.

  12. Zach Artz
    October 22, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I wouldn’t have any problem running this photograph. It evokes a lot of emotion while still providing some sensitivity to both the individuals in it by not showing either of their faces, making it much less likely to cause the family of the dead man excess grief. To me, this photo also illustrates how badly Mexican people want to have a better life. This man wasn’t just cutting a hole in a fence and waltzing in, he was risking his life in order to improve the lives of him and his family (assuming he had one). I definitely think using this photo would be a good move on an editor’s part.

  13. Katie Steiner
    October 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    As an editor, I would definitely run this photo. First off, it is a good photo: It tells a story and conveys a deep sense of emotion from the individual being photographed. Plus, it gets an emotional reaction from the people seeing the photo: It makes them want to know more about the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How–all the things that make something newsworthy. And because the deceased man’s face is covered, and there are no real distinguishable features to identify him, I think there is nothing wrong with running a photo of the body. I would reconsider my decision if the man’s face had been shown, as then it becomes an issue of the person’s family.

  14. Lindsey Givens
    October 22, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    As an editor, I wouldn’t run the photo. I agree that this photo is very striking, but I try to put myself in the shoes of the man in the photo. If someone had been there to take my photo wen I was identifying the body of my grandmother who died in a car accident I would be so disappointed. I agree that it is exploiting the grief of this man for our own purposes. I don’t think becasue the man’s face isn’t shown that it changes the photo. It is still incredibly personal. It is taking this intimate moment and making it public.

  15. Dan Girmus
    October 22, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    After putting a lot of thought into the pros and cons of running the photo, I’ve decided that as an editor I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. No matter how prescient the story is, or how resolutely human the emotion of the moment is, the fact remains that I’m using this man’s extremely private grief to try and gain readers. Putting myself in the man in the picture’s shoes, I thought about how I would feel if, after going through all that grief, I saw the picture in the next morning’s paper and relived it all. No moment this private and intimate should ever be plastered on the front of a newspaper for all to see.

  16. Tyler DeBoer
    October 22, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    I was pretty torn on this issue, and the more I thought about it, the more I think I wouldn’t run the photo if I was an editor. The photo itself is excellent – it obviously conveys a lot of strong, strong emotions. But the fact that it is so private and the man in it is so vulnerable leads me to think that it wouldn’t be right to exploit him to gain some readers. Some of it depends on the proximity to the event – if we ran this story in the LJS, I think I might run the photo, because there most likely wouldn’t be any direct family members reading it or being affected by it. But if I was the editor of a local paper where that story happened, I wouldn’t run the photo.

  17. Natasha Richardson
    October 22, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I would run this photo. Although it may be controversial because there is a dead man in the photo, the picture lets the reader know what is actually happening and gives insight into the emotions that the identifier was feeling at the time. Over the weekend, I read an article in Paste magazine about photographer Arthur “Weegee” Fellig, who photographed many dead people in New York with his speed graphic camera. His subjects included murder victims and people who died in fires. One of the photos he took was of family members tortured reactions as one of their kin died in a building fire. His photo caption for that picture was something along the lines of, “I cried when I took this picture.” So although graphic and painful images aren’t always ones we want to see, many of these deeply move us more than words alone could.

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