Wednesday, February 25, 2009

D is for Deliberate Decisions

This week’s blog is parlay to an assignment concerning deliberate decision making. These decisions must be in the sentences I write and in a group of controversial photos I would choose to run if I were an editor.

Thank goodness I just had an ethics course last summer at MSU and I would consider myself to be an ethical person. And so on to the photos. The thing about controversial photos is that one must consider who will be at the “breakfast table” in the morning. It’s all about audience.

Photo series - The suicide of Pennsylvania treasurer R. Budd Dwyer: I would chose to run the first photo and potentially the second, but the third and fourth are far too graphic to run in the paper. The fourth photo is completely unacceptable to be printed. The copy cat phenomenon is very real and when photos/stories about suicide are published, the suicide rate goes up, which is so sad. I think, ultimately, I would not run any of the photos and just a mug of Dwyer because I think the story could be told just as well.

Below are the questions asked of us and my answers follow:

Which of these photos, if any, would you publish? Why or why not? The only photo I would publish would be the boy grieving over his dog. The photo is not gory and the dog’s face is not seen.

What criteria do you use to make a decision? The message conveyed is one to pet owners and drivers alike, to be more careful. Unlike the other photos this one does not convey graphic images and human death.

Under what circumstances would you run the photos? I would run the photo small on the page so that it would still send a message, but not use this horrible accident to sell newspapers.

Consider whether the event happened locally. Does where or how you play the photo have any
bearing on your decision? If this happened locally many readers would probably recognize the boy and his dog, which would help to make the story have more impact. On the other hand, they would probably know the person who killed the dog as well, which could cause undue hostility, if the event was an accident.

Specify one photo that made you wrestle with your decision the most and talk about the many issues you wrestled with the most on making that decision. I did have a hard time choosing to publish this photo, because I don’t think the boy’s grief should be publicized.

I had a difficult time deciding about the Mardi Gras photo as well. I was so disgusted by the event and though the women’s face was obscured seeing her almost naked body being groped by so many men was so demeaning. I don’t think she should face further harassment by having this photo of her published. However, the men should be brought to justice for this horrible act. This photo sickens me.

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