A doctored photo from the Boston Marathon Bombing has people questioning the media’s responsibility to the truth vs. the public’s tolerance for gore.
The photo was taken by the Boston Globe‘s John Tlumacki and has appeared in several online and print publications. In the original photo, there is a gruesome wound on the woman’s leg.
New York Daily News doctored the picture of the woman’s leg wound and ran it on their cover wrap yesterday.
Pointed out on Tuesday by Orange County Register editor Charles Apple on his blog. “Looks to me like somebody did a little doctoring of that photo to remove a bit of gore,” he wrote.
While the Daily News faced the same conundrum all news outlets faced, ‘should you post the gruesome pictures of the Boston tragedy, or shouldn’t you?’ But, by altering pictures, you violate the photographers images.
You can see a closeup of the Daily New Doctored Photo here.
Yahoo News points to the ethic code for the National Press Photographers Association which states: “Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images… in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”
Charles Apple went on to say, “If you can’t stomach the gore, don’t run the photo. Period.” He also noted that, “The Newark Star Ledger used that same picture today on page one. But without the apparent manipulation.”
In one circumstance, the picture of Jeff Bauman Jr being wheel-chaired after the bombing, with his legs in a grisly twist of bone, nerves and skin and having cowboy-hatted Carlos Arredondo pinch one of the his stray arteries closed. While many media outlets chose to crop the photo at his knees, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic and Gawker opted to run the picture uncensored. It was given wrath on Twitter and a debate about media photo standards, but Atlantic communications director Natalie Raabe told Observer why they chose to run the image.
“We agree that this image is difficult to look at but believe that it is also a true depiction of the terrible nature of this story,” he said via email. “We were careful to prepare viewers for the graphic content, including a warning that entirely obscures the photo. The Atlantic also blurred the man’s face out of respect for his privacy, as the warning notes.”
Daily News spokesperson, Ken, Frydman, did comment on the paper’s decision to alter the photograph in a statement to Capital New York’s Joe Pompeo. “The Daily News edited that photo out of sensitivity to the victims, the families and the survivors,” Ken Frydman 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.”