Friday, March 16, 2007

180 degrees from today

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Earlier this week I was searching through the bound editions of The Gazette Telegraph in Colorado College's special collections when I came across this 1957 front page. The headline read "Hit-Run Car Kills Aged Woman Pedestrian on Downtown Street" and the photo shows a policeman and two other people hovering over the dead woman. Blood is coming from the woman's nose and mouth into a pool behind her head. You can see clearly her identity. I was shocked. As a photo editor today, I would never run this picture. The photo doesn't tell the story well. It's just disturbing. The thing I find interesting is this photo ran in an era when television wouldn't show married couples sleeping in the same bed or a graphic murder on a police show. Today people are killed every five minutes on primetime TV. But today newspapers rarely run a photo like the one I found. Don't get me wrong. There are times when we should run a graphic photo. When the news value is that important. Even if it's going to upset readers. That is if they are upset for the right reasons. An example: When the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, we ran a picture of someone falling to their death. I knew some readers would be upset. And many were. We all were. But the news value was important enough to run it. It helped tell the story of a tragic day in U.S. history. Let me know how you feel about this topic.

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