Graphic Or Merely Indecent

Jeff Sonderman at Poynter has a great roundup of essays that grappled with the NY Post photo that I discussed in my last post.

The sociologist Zeynep Tufekci articulates a simple and persuasive method for determining when a journalistic photo is provocative, graphic and ultimately in the public interest versus one that is merely indecent and there to grab attention.

In sum: if the event is one-off and rare in nature, if the subject of the photo is not representative of an ongoing tragedy with many other victims, and if there is a split-second decision in which taking of the photo and trying to save the victim clash, that does not qualify as a graphic photo whose taking, purchasing and publication serves public interest and consequently what New York Post has done is crass and indefensible—and also indefensibly insensitive to the victim’s family.

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