Shoot or Help?

When we talk about ethics in my courses, it’s a question that always comes up–if you’re first on a scene, do you help out or shoot? Where’s your responsibility?

As always, I frustrate my students with my most common answer. It depends.

For John David Mercer, a Press-Register photographer, the decision was easy–help. And he did. After seeing flames coming out the roof of a Mobile, Ala., hotel roof, he got off the highway, rushed to the hotel, told the front desk there was a fire and to call 911. Then ran to the building, pulled the alarm and pounded on the doors to wake people up and get them out of the building.

Then he shot photos.

Community first. Nice work, Mr. Mercer, nice work.

Mark E. Johnson

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