When to Run Graphic Images

While this New York Times piece by Christine Haughney doesn’t answer the question, it gives you some ideas to talk about.

It’s one of the most difficult debates in newsrooms – where is the line between a subject’s privacy and your readers’ need to see something? No one has an absolute answer for this, so you know. Every situation must be handled independently based on the information you have at that moment.

If it’s graphic and from an isolated incident, my gut reaction would be to say no. If it’s graphic and from a public or major incident, my inclination would be to say yes to publication.

There’s no way to have a policy in place to decide what gets run and what does not, but you can certainly have a procedure in place to analyze and discuss each situation.

If you’re in a newsroom, do you know how you would handle that conversation?

Mark E. Johnson

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