If you are in the morning class, answer the questions about the picture here.
I think I would run this photo on the front page in Detroit since that is where the body was found. Maybe, if anything, it would make the more fortunate people of Detroit more aware of the homeless and want to help them in some way.
At first glance, I thought I wouldn’t run the photo, but after reading the article about it, I think the photo is necessary. Without it, the story doesn’t have near the impact. It talks of a man frozen in a block of ice that no one seemed to care about enough to thaw out and identify. Without the photo, he remains a nobody, just another statistic. With the photo, it gives him an identity.
Here in Lincoln, I don’t think I would run it on the front page of the Journal Star, but if I did it would most likely be a small refer to an inside story. The photo would be small but get a fair amount of play on an inside page because it could draw attention to the homeless of Lincoln. Later stories could take a local angle and go into detail of the shelters and soup kitchens aiding the less fortunate here.
The column by Jack Lessenberry for the Detroit Metro Times takes the viewpoint I mentioned early. He discusses the large number of homeless people in the city and says running the photo was a public service. It does draw attention to that large number and should wake people up and show them the reality they are living in, he said. He also names the man as Johnnie Redding making the image of his frozen legs come to life. Lessenberry says it could have been him, realizing this man had a family and a life and that he wasn’t just a worthless bum.
My initial reaction is that I would not run the picture. It is confusing and disorganized. Looking at it, I’m not sure what to focus on. It makes me ask more questions than it answers. Knowing the feet are part of a person who died is also disturbing. Even though the picture is unsettling, it isn’t the only reason I wouldn’t run the picture. Combing the abstract style and insensitivity to the vale of life warrants the picture’s absence from the front page.
After reading the story, I feel the picture is necessary to understand the essence of the story and the problem Detroit is facing. I would run the picture on the front page in Detroit because it seems congruent with the city’s culture. Perhaps it is important readers see how severe the city’s problems are regarding murder and people without homes. I don’t think the picture would be appropriate in the Lincoln Journal Star because its readers are far more sensitive to the value of life. The picture would be more disturbing in a community like Lincoln than in an urban area like Detroit.
I enjoyed reading Jack Lessenberry’s column, and I agree whole-heartedly. Although gruesome pictures are hard to run because the public doesn’t want to admit people are in need, sometimes – it needs to be done.
Going through the decisions in my head, I haven’t come to the conclusion that my decision is the right choice. It depends on the times, the people and the location. I would be more likely to run this picture in the Detroit News instead of the Lincoln Journal Star because it seems that Detroit readers might be more desensitized than Lincoln readers. Also the Lincoln Journal Star is more of a hometown, next-door neighbor paper versus big city paper where death tolls are more significant.
I would run it on Page 1 because whether readers like it, it’s a controversial subject that would get people passing by news stands to pick up the paper.
After reading the article, my mind is still set on running it on the front page of the Detroit News mainly because it’s location and controversy. I also think Jack Lessenberry was right on the dot about how this could have been any one. Johnnie Redding had a place to stay but no one knows how his life ended the way it did—facedown, frozen in water and garbage.
I would run the picture because while it is graphic and unsettling, it points out an important and prevalent truth in the Detroit community. While the language in the story depicts the scene well, the photo emphasizes it and forces readers to look closer.
The part that surprised me most in the article by Charlie LeDuff was that the man and his friends who found the dead body in the warehouse didn’t call the police, but continued to play their hockey game. To me, this drives home the message that seeing the homeless population in Detroit is a daily thing to some. It speaks volumes that a person can overlook a dead body to play a game and by not running this photo, I think The Detroit News would be doing be doing an injustice to its readers.
I would seriously consider running the picture, but probably not on page one. As the editor, I would rather run a mug shot of the person when they were alive, like many papers choose to run. Then I would run this picture with the story on an inside page. I can’t imagine a story that would warrant running this picture on the front page.
After reading the story, I still don’t think I would have run the story on page one. The reporter did a great job of describing the scene and the people while connecting it to larger issues than this one dead body. As the editor, I would continue to support running the picture on an inside page.
Even though I don’t know a great deal about Detroit, I wouldn’t run the picture on the first page in either city. The reporter, thankfully, did a very good job, and because of that, the picture definitely supplements the story, but it isn’t necessary to understand what’s going on. I understand that some might want to run it on the front for attention and to make an impact on readers who are only skimming.
As the columnist said, this picture is reality, and I understand that sentiment. It is an unusual story, one that deserves attention. To be fair, the picture is very honest, and as a journalism student, I certainly appreciate the unveiled view of the brutal truth. However, it’s difficult to give an absolute answer without seeing how the whole page would look put together and what other stories were running with such a depressing article, but I still can’t say I would have run this picture on the front page.
I would run this photo. My stance didn’t change after reading the article or the column. The editor at the Detroit News that decided to run the picture on page one made the right decision.
Yes, it’s a graphic picture, but more importantly, it’s a real picture. Jack Lessenberry was harsh, but also truthful in his column when he said “This is reality, people; time to wake up and smell your society rotting.”
We can’t ignore reality. We especially can’t ignore news like this. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but people die. In this instance, people die and others don’t seem to care much at all. That is a problem. The way I see it, if this picture is what’s needed to drive the point home that yes, this is a problem, then that photo must be played and played big.
Would I run this on the front page of the Lincoln Journal Star? No. It would not be a local story, and thus not pertinent unless the article accompanying it focused on a nationwide spread of the same sort of apathy exposed in Charlie LeDuff’s article.
This sort of apathy merits very good reasoning for publishing such a graphic photo. I once heard my uncle refer to the Dallas/Fort Worth evening news as “murder-rape-kill” I can understand this sort of response to local news, given that the first 15-20 minutes of most local newscasts consists almost entirely of crime news. But, one can never entirely tune out, definitely not to the point of ignoring a dead body. It’s a civil responsibility not to. People occasionally need to be reminded of things like this.
Should a photo just as graphic show up on the front page every day? Not unless the photo is a call for change—a way to evoke a positive response in the readership. There are not many other reasons I can think of for arguing the necessity of such a picture.
While I think Lessenberry gets a little off topic at the end of his piece, I’m able to ignore that and agree with most of what he has to offer. Running this photo was indeed a public service.
I absolutely would have run this photo. Clearly, the body had been in its icy grave for sometime. It was not the body of a child and it was unidentifiable in the photo.
Last year, when this photo first ran, I remember seeing it. I was excited to see something different in the paper. Maybe I have a morbid fascination with something like this, but it’s news. Though Jack Lessenberry’s column was scattered and sometimes hard to follow, I agree that it should have been run. This photo, beyond being newsworthy, shares a sadder story about the city. People had seen this body. No one said anything. The person who was this body, had been dead for sometime, and obviously no one had looked that hard for him. The self-absorption and desensitization of the city are shown in this photo. Attention is brought to the homeless, the drug problems and the city and the unsafe accessibility of abandoned buildings.
Again, I would have run the photo. Again and again.
I’m torn as to whether I’d run the photo. On the one hand, as Jack Lessenberry’s column points out, it’s partially a public service to make the city see for itself how society is “rotting.” Sometimes, it takes photos like this to spur a sleeping populous into action.
On the other hand, basic human rights should lead us to believe that one homeless man shouldn’t have suffered the borderline indifference of LeDuff. This story was very much Johnnie’s obituary, and no paper with any sort of decency would run an obit along the lines of LeDuff’s piece. Still, at the same time, I think he acknowledged that the piece would be a microcosm of the larger problem and such a tone was necessary.
In the end, in Detroit, I think I’d run the photo both before and after reading the story. In Lincoln, I wouldn’t run it because it wouldn’t wake the public up about issues of homelessness and would fall more toward sensation. What I would have done differently in Detroit, though, is I would have waited an extra day or two to allow LeDuff to try to dig back through Johnnie’s history to give some background and a proper obit along with the public service.
I think issues of morality like this are some of the hardest for a newspaper to deliberate over. It has the simultaneous, opposing goals of being an objective medium and being fair and balanced. In situations like this, it’s only fate that one side has to take the slight defamation of character, Johnnie’s memory in this case, in a sort of sacrifice for the larger homeless community.
I would run the photo because it is news. The news may not be pretty, it may not be appropriate for all ages, but it is the news and it is not our job to censor what may or may not be appropriate for everyone. Yes, the photo is tragic. Yes, it’s hard to imagine things like that actually happening. Yes, that is a real person who had real feelings and now he is a media spectacle, but that’s the job of journalism, is to let the public know what is going on. The story that ran with it only shows more why it should have run. The fact that no one even stopped their hockey game to call the police or report the problem in a way symbolizes how some must feel that the city ignores its homeless and turns a blind eye to their fate.
The column I think had a good intention, but was poorly done, and the focus was a bit too extreme. I guess it could have been the columnist there, but although the newspaper industry might be declining, I don’t think columnists have resorted to sleeping in abandoned elevator shafts so I really don’t see this being a possibility to happen to him.
I’m very torn as whether or not to run the picture. Lessenberry is right; this is reality and people could use a wake-up call. On the other hand, children will see this picture. As if we don’t already have enough kids watching violence and gruesome images on the television. The picture reminds me of the picture of the dying soldier that caused so much controversy. Yes, it is good for people to see what is going on in every part of the world, especially with our soldiers. But, think of the families. Would you want a picture of your dying or dead loved one out there for everyone to see, and as a reminder to the sad death that happened upon that loved one? I for one would not want to see my brothers or sister dying or dead on the front page of the paper. Journalists are here to report the news, not horrify people with gruesome images of someone they may know.
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