SHOULD THE MEDIA PUBLISH PHOTOS OF GRAPHIC VIOLENCE?
There are several reasons why I think the Sun Times did the right thing. For starters, they went about it the right way. They didn’t rush the decision. They debated whether to run the photo internally and consulted people outside the newsroom. They made sure the victim had been identified and next of kin notified. They didn’t show the victim’s face, cropped the photo and required readers to click to see the photo. In short, the paper did its best to balance privacy rights against the public’s need to see what gun violence looks like.
Our country’s fascination with guns in part may exist in part because many of us have not witnessed the real, messy results from gun violence. If we only think in hypotheticals, our perception is likely skewed. It’s better to see what this looks like and then decide if we need to do more to promote gun safety. No matter how uncomfortable this makes us, it’s the best way to proceed. The Sun Times got it right.