Doctored Boston Photo: Should New York Daily News Have Edited Gory Picture From Marathon?
Was the New York Daily News out of line when it doctored a graphic photo from the Boston Marathon? (Photo: Reuters)
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Charles Apple, who currently works as the focus page editor for the Orange County Register, first noted the doctored Boston photo in a blog post on Tuesday. Apple noted that the Daily News and Boston Globe each used the same picture of a woman lying on the floor in the aftermath of the deadly bombing. However, the News version edited the photo to remove a gory image of the woman's bleeding leg. Instead, her pants appear to cover the spot where the injury was.
"Looks to me like somebody did a little doctoring of that photo to remove a bit of gore," Apple concluded in his blog post. "If you can't stomach the gore, don't run the photo. Period."
Ken Frydman, a spokesman for the Daily News, told Capital New York that his paper doctored the Boston photo to avoid upsetting those affected by the Boston Marathon explosions.
"The Daily News edited that photo out of sensitivity to the victims, the families and the survivors," he said. "There were far more gory photos that the paper chose not to run, and frankly I think the rest of the media should have been as sensitive as the Daily News."
Indeed, Apple noted that other papers, including the Newark Star-Ledger, used the picture on their front page. Others, like the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, used similarly graphic images. However, as Boston Magazine notes, several Facebook followers called out the Milwaukee paper for the gory, undoctored Boston photo.
Still, as Yahoo News notes, the National Press Photographers Association specifically tells its members not to doctor photos in a way that changes their meaning.
"Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context," the NPPA ethics code states. "Do not manipulate images ... in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects."
This doctored Boston photo is not the only controversy to come out of the media's coverage of the marathon bombing. Per the Washington Post, the New York Post originally claimed that 12 people had died in the Boston Marathon explosions, even after official accounts noted that just three people had passed away.
As Huffington Post notes, Time is posting a picture of a bloodied child on the cover of Thursday's special edition. Some will inevitably question whether the magazine should have chosen a tamer photo from the Boston Marathon instead.
More ethics questions arose after several media outlets, including Boston Globe, CNN and AP, reported that a suspect was in custody for the Boston Marathon explosions. These news organizations eventually recanted on this story. As Washington Post notes, the FBI then sent out a statement urging news organizations to express caution when reporting on the investigation.
Should the New York Daily News have doctored this Boston photo to make the image easier for readers to stomach? Or is this another example of shoddy journalism? Vote in our poll below.