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 Post subject: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:36 pm 
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The story from Iraq today is an attack on foreign nationals, which resulted in some nasty stuff involving hanging charred corpes from a bridge:<p>Image<p>"Graphic"? Yes. But it's not a particularly good picture. Page one or not?


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:55 pm 
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I actually think it's a good picture. You've got the cheering Iraqi in the foreground followed by the dawning horror of what's in the background.<p>I have always been an advocate of showing graphic images of war, particularly elective wars that we started. If we are going to decide as a nation that we can break with the supposed tradition that democracies don't start wars, that decision should be made by an electorate that is unable to escape daily confrontation with what war does.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:03 pm 
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The photo seems far too busy to be called a great. I don't know if I should be looking at the upper part of the Iraqi's head or the dangling charred bodies in the background.
And, truthfully, it isn't all that graphic considering one likely would have to read a cutline before knowing what is going on.
Well, maybe that doesn't make it exactly *not* graphic ... but ...


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:05 pm 
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Tough call. I agree that it is not the greatest pic ever but at the same time it may be the least graphic way to graphicly show readers what happened. Were the bodies the foreground, I would not run A1 but with them in the background it might work.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:18 pm 
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I've always applied a different standard to photos than to other display items. A headline that makes a reader work to understand it is a bad thing. A photo that makes a reader work to understand it can be a good thing if the consequence of that work is making her think more deeply. I like this photo as an instance of the latter.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:33 pm 
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We ran the photo inside with the jump. I brought up the possibility of running it out front, but I didn't push for it, because it's not that compelling an image. We usually do our readers a disservice by shying away from "graphic" images. It's what's going on.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:40 pm 
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I admire you guys' ability to maintain some intellectual distance from what those pictures depict... the whole scenario makes me wanna get all medieval on someone's ass.<p>I realize that's the point; I just reserve my right to wretch at the sight of depravity.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:44 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by tom mangan:
I admire you guys' ability to maintain some intellectual distance from what those pictures depict... the whole scenario makes me wanna get all medieval on someone's ass.<p>I realize that's the point; I just reserve my right to wretch at the sight of depravity.<hr></blockquote><p>I'm a copy editor, not a commando.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:57 pm 
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We're running the gruesome pix as A-1 cereal-spitters. Not my call.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:16 pm 
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I note that the Washington Post is going with a different and perhaps more gruesome picture at the top of A-1.<p>Image


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:43 pm 
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We're using the first picture on the bottom of A1 well below the fold. We almost never run such graphic images (although sometimes we'll run something in black and white on an inside page) in our paper, let alone on A1.<p>But it IS the story. The celebrating crowd is gut-wrenching. And the emotional reaction to the photo for me was greater regarding the first photo, anyway, as it takes a while for the realization of what the background objects are to sink in. Adding to the emotional effect is that the bodies are those of civilians, not professional soldiers. The horror of the photo keeps growing as it all sinks in.<p>As a callous note, our press's photo reproduction is so awful that it's possible our readers won't be able to see anything, anyway. But I digress.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:46 pm 
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The Washington Post
FALLUJAH, Iraq - Four American civilians were ambushed and shot to death here Wednesday by insurgents, witnesses and U.S. officials said. Townspeople mutilated the bodies of two of the men, dragged them through the streets, suspended them from a bridge and burned them while crowds danced and cheered.
<p>Weren't the bodies burned earlier than that?<p>The New York Times
FALLUJAH, Iraq - Four Americans working for a security company were ambushed and killed on Wednesday, and an enraged mob then jubilantly dragged their burned bodies through the streets of downtown Fallujah, hanging two corpses from a bridge over the Euphrates River.
<p>Tie-breaker:<p>The Associated Press
FALLUJAH, Iraq - In a scene reminiscent of Somalia, frenzied crowds dragged the burned, mutilated bodies of four American contractors through the streets of a town west of Baghdad on Wednesday and strung two of them up from a bridge after rebels ambushed their SUVs.
<p>[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: SeaRaven ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 2:00 am 
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We should run graphic pictures of war because:
A) It's the truth.
B) In a democracy, telling the truth might convince the public that war isn't a video game and that people can kill and die in gruesome, hideous ways. And our telling of that truth might persuade the public to avoid war except when it's absolutely necessary and unavoidable. If we sanitize warfare, we're playing into the hands of those who would take such drastic action for capricious or greedy reasons. Let us know what we're getting into -- that's the essence of democracy.
(By the way, I find the WashPost Page 1 photo far more chilling and shocking than the more commonly used Page 1 photo of the charred bodies hanging from the bridge. Why? The grinning face in the upper left shows a mindless bloodlust that exists so far beyond reason that it makes me despair that there can ever be peace in this world. That is a sad, sad picture.)


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 2:41 am 
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Los Angeles Times Editor John S. Carroll said that after considerable debate, "we decided not to use one of the grotesque photographs on Page 1. Instead, we chose to convey the nature of the event by means of headlines and a photo that is not so distressing. Los Angeles Times)<p>***Way to go, John. Let's edit by fear of offending someone.***<p>CBS was sent reeling earlier this year by a public uproar over its Superbowl halftime broadcast, in which pop star Janet Jackson bared a breast.
On Wednesday, the network's news program electronically blurred some of the most gruesome images from Fallouja and a reporter said in a voice-over that the images were "so horrid, we chose not to show you" the worst of them.
<p>***My uncle is sick, but the highway is green.***<p>[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 2:42 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by ShiningPath:
We should run graphic pictures of war because:
A) It's the truth.
B) In a democracy, telling the truth might convince the public that war isn't a video game and that people can kill and die in gruesome, hideous ways. And our telling of that truth might persuade the public to avoid war except when it's absolutely necessary and unavoidable.
<hr></blockquote><p>I agree with your post. But no matter how I personally feel about the war, for me, the main reason to run such a photo is because it is news.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:09 am 
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Image<p>This one leaves no doubt about what's being poked at but isn't as good a news photo as the others because it doesn't include any context. It might as well be of people who came across a plane-crash victim.<p>[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:27 am 
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Before the navel-gazing begins on Romenesko in a few hours, let's remember that the "story'" is not that newspapers did or did not use gruesome photos. Discussion of that is best left to editors in the newroom and in forums such as this one.<p>[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:50 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
CBS was sent reeling earlier this year by a public uproar over its Superbowl halftime broadcast, in which pop star Janet Jackson bared a breast.<hr></blockquote><p>What kind of asshole would cite Jackson's TV titillation as a reason to "shield" viewers from the stark reality of dead American civilians being desecrated by gleeful Iraqi mobs? <p>That prick gives yet another definition to obscenity. WTF! Please tell me this didn't get into any paper, anywhere. This is an April Fool's joke, right?<p>I am going to be sick now....


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 10:02 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by grouch_in_training:
<p>I agree with your post. But no matter how I personally feel about the war, for me, the main reason to run such a photo is because it is news.<hr></blockquote>
Agreed. Running those gruesome photos is not a political act. It's simply good journalism. And while I'm agreeing with everyone, Testy Copy Editor No. 1 is absolutely correct in saying that articles about what TV networks and newspapers did with the story is best left to websites such as this.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:24 am 
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Newsdesigner.com is keeping track of who used what.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:12 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by SeaRaven:
The Washington Post
FALLUJAH, Iraq - Four American civilians were ambushed and shot to death here Wednesday by insurgents, witnesses and U.S. officials said. Townspeople mutilated the bodies of two of the men, dragged them through the streets, suspended them from a bridge and burned them while crowds danced and cheered.
<p>Weren't the bodies burned earlier than that?
<hr></blockquote><p>The tie breaker? My eyes. The bodies hanging on the bridge are obviously burned.<p>[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: grouch_in_training ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 1:14 pm 
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Toronto front pages:<p>Star -- Burning car. Locals celebrate. No visible bodies.
.
National Post -- Burning car. Blackened corpse visible.
.
Globe and Mail -- Iraqis stare at camera and cheer. Charred bodies visible hanging from bridge.
.
The Sun -- Janet Jackson performs in New York. No visible breasts.<p>[ April 01, 2004: Message edited by: canuck ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:12 pm 
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You should really listen to TCE before putting something on the wire Sadly, the folks at AP did not.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 3:41 pm 
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I think news stories and public analysis about the coverage are justified. It's an important topic. I see no reason to pretend that journalism is not a subject worth reporting on.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 4:02 pm 
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Run the picture, or don't run the picture. Just don't make a major production out of it.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 4:50 pm 
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Here's another good place to see who ran what: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/default.asp?page=3
(my paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, went big on A1 with the photo at the top of this thread)


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2004 5:28 pm 
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Now, why can't we take photos of flag-draped coffins rolling off airplanes, again?


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 6:52 am 
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Newsdesigner.com reports that of the 163 front pages displayed on the Newseum site:<p>118 ran no pictures of bodies on the front page.<p>45 ran pictures of charred bodies in some form on the front.<p>33 led the front page with pictures of bodies strung up or burning.<p>63 led with a photo that had no bodies in it. Of these, 7 ran a smaller, secondary picture of bodies.<p>35 ran no pictures of the event at all on the front page. Of these, 9 also ran no story.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 8:40 am 
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Image<p>I know the New York Post doesn't count, but since when are slaughtered sheep strung from bridges?<p>[ April 02, 2004: Message edited by: blanp ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 9:34 am 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
Image<p>I know the New York Post doesn't count, but since when are slaughtered sheep strung from bridges?<p>[ April 02, 2004: Message edited by: blanp ]<hr></blockquote><p>"The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," said resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. [sic] (NY Post)<p>Quotation marks on Page 1 would have helped. A bit.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:13 pm 
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Breakdown by circulation (top 20): <p>USA Today -- front-page charred corpses
Wall Street Journal
New York Times -- front-page bridge photo
Los Angeles Times -- Iraqis dancing atop a burned car
Washington Post -- front-page charred corpses
New York Daily News -- different SUV photo
New York Post -- front-page bridge photo
Chicago Tribune -- front-page bridge photo
Newsday -- burning SUV with "graveyard" leaflet
Houston Chronicle -- burning SUV with "graveyard" leaflet
Dallas Morning News -- burning SUV with "graveyard" leaflet
San Francisco Chronicle -- front-page bridge photo
Chicago Sun-Times -- burning SUV with "graveyard" leaflet
Boston Globe -- burning SUV with "graveyard" banner
Arizona Republic -- Iraqis dancing in front of burning car
Newark Star-Ledger -- burning SUV with "graveyard" leaflet
Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- burning SUV with "graveyard" leaflet
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Philadelphia Inquirer -- front-page bridge photo
Cleveland Plain Dealer -- burning SUV with "graveyard" leaflet


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:18 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Tom:
<p>"The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," said resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. [sic] (NY Post)<p>Quotation marks on Page 1 would have helped. A bit.<hr></blockquote><p>My question remains.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:52 pm 
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I feel compelled to post this.<p>Millions of people seem to be of the belief that newspaper editors wait for "liberal" news to come over the wires so they can drop it onto a page and force their left-leaning views on the reading public.<p>The depth of thought given to this thread's rather sensitive issue says what's obvious to us but falls on their deaf ears: that's a load of old crap.<p>And I'm proud to be associated with you who give due consideration to what "fair and balanced" really is.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 1:38 am 
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My husband is a civilian worker in Iraq. It disgusts and appalls me that the efforts being made to help the Iraqis have resulted in this. They appear to be like a pack of wild dogs and I am rapidly losing sympathy for them . There is nothing but hatred depicted in photographs of these people.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 2:57 am 
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Keep in mind that the attacks took place in an area that was one of Saddam's former strongholds, and many there were the losers in the regime change. In other words, the attackers have an ax to grind. Lumping those scum together with all Iraqis is unfair. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis deserve our continued sympathy for what Saddam did to them and their country, and they appreciate our being there.<p>[ April 04, 2004: Message edited by: Gary Kirchherr ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 1:35 pm 
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As long as you keep making posts like that, your calls for the rest of us to refrain from political posts will ring rather hollow, Gary. The first two sentences of your post are appropriate context, but after that you got a little, dare I say, shrill.<p>And n.b.: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=3&u=/ap/20040404/ap_on_go_pr_wh/running_on_iraq


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 1:52 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by KBRwife:
My husband is a civilian worker in Iraq. It disgusts and appalls me that the efforts being made to help the Iraqis have resulted in this. They appear to be like a pack of wild dogs and I am rapidly losing sympathy for them . There is nothing but hatred depicted in photographs of these people.<hr></blockquote><p>I wish for nothing but safety for your husband. There is no excuse for such brutalities.<p>But let us not forget: This was a war of our choosing. We invaded their country and bombed their cities. No matter how evil one's government, being invaded generates natural and uncontrollable rage. <p>We weren't asked to do this by anyone -- indeed, we were asked NOT to do it by a great majority of the world -- so it's arrogant to call the people of Iraq ungrateful. It's exactly that attitude that infuriates the world and makes us a target for terrorists.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:17 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Gary Kirchherr:
Keep in mind that the attacks took place in an area that was one of Saddam's former strongholds, and many there were the losers in the regime change. In other words, the attackers have an ax to grind. Lumping those scum together with all Iraqis is unfair. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis deserve our continued sympathy for what Saddam did to them and their country, and they appreciate our being there.<p>[ April 04, 2004: Message edited by: Gary Kirchherr ]<hr></blockquote><p>It's true that the Sunnis in Fallujah have an ax to grind, but it's also evident that many Shia and Sunni all over Iraq hate the American occupation. An NPR reporter interviewed a number of residents of Baghdad after the murders to get their reactions. Half thought the Americans got what they deserved. Most of the rest said it was OK to kill the Americans, but the corpses should not have been mutilated. What is the evidence for the claim that there is "overwhelming" support among Iraqis for our presence?


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 8:35 am 
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I am surprised but not astonished by this thread that casts more light than heat on the matter.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:05 am 
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I'm wondering. Did any paper run a split photo?<p>Part one: Photo of charred corpses and cheering Iraqis.<p>Part two: Still from the video of the U.S. soldiers who cheered when they shot (for a second time) a wounded Iraqi lying on the ground reaching for a gun.<p>I suppose the headline could be something like: Say one thing, do another.


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 Post subject: Re: It's not always so simple
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:57 pm 
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This one the other day had less circulation than the charred corpses, but made A-1 in the Post and, presumably, the Philadelphia paper. I would guess that people complained about it.<p>Image


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