Friday, September 23, 2005

So where's the photo?

The Patriot-News is explaining why it ran a photo of a drug suspect making an obscene gesture after his arrest (or, as Romenesko gently put it, "flipping the bird.")

We thought very carefully about whether we should publish the photo, knowing it had the potential to offend. Here is what we saw: a photo of two men being led away for what could be many years behind bars if convicted, having possibly ruined their lives. Yet it appeared to us that these two young guys -- charged with manufacturing a deadly drug -- were taking their arrest as funny, a moment for rude humor rather than remorse.

We believed that this photo powerfully drove home the true impact of drugs.

So wrote Executive Editor David Newhouse. Super. A strong, principled reason, one that I could really get behind -- if I could see the photo. So where is it? There's no link to it from this column and, when I pull up yesterday's story, nothing there either.

So is the Patriot-News so strongly principled that it's decided to protect the public after all?

Here is where traditional thinking undermines you on the Internet. The difference is that unlike seeing the photo in the paper over my Wheaties, on the Net if I don't want to see the photo, I don't have to click through to it. But if I wanted to see what all the controversy is about, the paper is sending the subtle message that either I'm not mature enough to see it and make my own decision or that it's too weak-kneed to back up that principled opinion with the actual goods.

Neither is a winning strategy.


At 9/24/05, 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But your point is well taken that they didn't make it possible to find the link to the photo in the story about the photo.



Post a Comment

<< Home