"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow

Crime photos: public or private? (Part two)

Journalists need to have photos or video footage to accompany stories. The use of photos and/or videos make the story more interesting, as well as easier to understand. The visual aids help the reader to enjoy the article. The visuals show that what is being reported on is real, it happened. But when it comes to a crime, which photos should or should not be included within an article? The visual aids help the reader to better understand and comprehend, but which photo is necessary?

I remember History of Journalism with Dr. Mark Kelley last semester; we studied about the Vietnam War, "The first televised war." The "real-ness" of all the footage captured was overwhelming for many of the viewers. I remember learning about how journalists were showing all the footage of the war right through to the television screens. The footage made it real, and it added to the stories. No longer was it just that the war was being reported about, but everyone was able to see what was going on. There was not a need for a mental image, because the actual image was being shown.

"Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam," Marshall McLuhan said in 1975 in what now is a famous quote about the war. Vietnam has been considered by many the first televised war. -- Associated Content

I think that in cases of crime and war, the gruesome footage does not need to be shown to everyone. In the case of the Seaworld trainer being killed by the killer whale, I don't think the video should be shown nationally.

As a journalist, I need to be able to have photos and evidence to show the reader/viewer/audience that what I am reporting about is real, and here are the photos to prove it. I am on the fence about the situation in its entirety, and I think I need to do more research. I feel like the ethics of the entire situation are subjective to what the story is about, what is being reported, and what the visual aids include.

I don't think a picture of a mangled corpse should be the photo next to an article, and I don't think video footage of a murder scene is necessary to show the reality of what occurred.

But I am still running through the "what if" scenarios in my head.
And I think the future of journalism is going to have lots more photos, and lots more videos. Not all these visual aids are going to be appropriate for the stories they accompany, but as it stands there is not a set of ethics that is followed by every newspaper, television station, or web site. I'll have more on this in a few days...

"In the real world, nothing happens at the right place at the right time. It is the job of journalists and historians to correct that."--MARK TWAIN

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