Covering Tragedy - Press of Atlantic City: Blog: A Photographer's View

Covering Tragedy

Newspapers are often criticized for their selection of specific photographs that we use. I’ve heard accusations that newspapers pick some photos to embarrass people, that we pick photos because they are sensational and graphic with no consideration for the people involved or our readers. Much thought and discussion goes into the photos selection process here at The Press. Is the photo an accurate representation of the person or event? Does it embarrass the subject? Is the photo too graphic? Does the photo capture the emotion of the moment? And does it accurately illustrate the story,? These are just some of the issues that are considered when selecting a photograph. The explosion at the Boston Marathon was a test of photo selection. Photos from that tragedy came pouring into our picture desk soon after the explosion killed several people and turned a joyous event into a disaster. Several images were general in nature, showing the overall scene. And then came the hard-hitting photos. We saw photos of runners and spectators covered in blood, screaming in pain. Our decision of how we wanted to illustrate this tragic and historic story involved documenting event without going with the most graphic images. It was interesting to see other newspapers the next day, and how they decided to document this story. It was a terrible thing and we should not draw back from showing it. But there are also different ways of capturing the chaos and injury without going for the jugular. We decided to stay away from the bloody images and use images that captured the importance of the story without making you want to turn away from the photos. We wanted to capture the historic nature of the story, preserve how terrible this act was, and preserve the dignity of the people involved You can see how other newspapers played the story at the Newseum website: http://www.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/default_archive.asp?fpArchive=041613. I welcome your thoughts on the subject and how we portrayed the story. Here are some of the images that were considered.

Images