Christopher J. Ortiz
Every day in newsrooms across the country, a group of editors
sits down and decides what will run in the following day’s
newspaper and what won’t.
Every day, these editors make decisions on what stories readers
will read and what images they will see.
Thursday’s New York Times front page showed the burned corpses
of American civilians hanging off a bridge. This was after the
bodies had been dragged through the streets.
Is there a difference between the corpse of an Iraqi and that of
The editors of the Times sat in a newsroom and consciously made
the decision to place that image on the front page.
Readers may question decisions made by the media and end up
arguing or supporting each decision.
Many readers may feel these images degrade those who were
killed, or that the decision to run the picture in one of the
country’s largest newspapers leaves those people without
This is the problem with ethics, and especially media ethics:
There are no absolute rights or absolute wrongs. Decisions editors
make upset some readers almost all the time.
But hopefully editors are making the decisions in the best
interests of the readers. They may hope that running a gruesome
photograph makes more of an impact than a straight news story
would, but we don’t have the answer.
We can only hope the decision-makers in newsrooms weigh the
consequences of their actions and take the significance of those