TITLE

Images of Horror From Fallujah

AUTHOR(S)
Perlmutter, David D.; Major, Lesa Hartley
PUB. DATE
June 2004
SOURCE
Nieman Reports;Summer2004, Vol. 58 Issue 2, p71
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This article discusses the ethical issues that journalists had to consider in dealing with images from the killing of U.S. civilian contractors by Iraqi terrorists on March 31, 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq. The horror was caught on camera. Within hours, Fallujah video footage and photographs were made available to the world's newspapers, magazines and television newscasters. Almost as quickly, in nearly every U.S. newsroom, a debate on whether and how to handle these images began. Importantly, the process of addressing these quandaries was not kept secret or restricted to insiders. Many news outlets editorialized their reasons for using one image rather than another, and media columnists and commentators throughout the country expressed their views about these decisions on air or in print. What the U.S. citizens saw from Fallujah was determined by their news source. The New York Time ran on its front page The Associated Press photo in color, which included the clearly visible bodies with celebrating Iraqis in the foreground. Meanwhile, the Washington Post ran a cropped version on page A11 of the Ali Jasim (Reuters) photo with a smiling boy in the foreground. For the major television networks, decisions were visible in the editing. Not one network newscast showed the most graphic images, at least initially, without cropping, blurring or using long shots of the gruesome details. Many people don't appreciate that journalism is a messy process, not a conspiracy. When editors and reporters make public their debates about what is news, their humanity is revealed, even more so when they admit error. Readers and viewers get the opportunity to listen in as editors say, with sincerity, how much they care about the reactions and opinions of those they serve. INSET: Digital Photography and News Images.
ACCESSION #
13532578

 

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