Letter to the Editor

What's a newsworthy photo?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Respect or rights? Which comes first? Are your rights greater than those who are hurting? Are your rights to get the news greater than those in the story? When you cover a story that involves a fatality, do you once consider the human aspect on the other end? In your rush to capture the news you surely must overlook the sadness and solemnity of the actual event to justify your own actions of clicking the camera.

I hear newspaper and television reporters say, 'we have rights to be here.' Yes, I do believe you have rights to cover the story. But, along with those rights should come respect and honor. The victim's family has rights also.

The young man who lost his life on June 5 on 395 North had his life ended all too soon in a tragic accident. His parents had to face the ultimate truth. Their lives were changed in that one instant when they were notified that their son had lost his life in that horrible scene that was captured by your photographer and placed on the front page of your media's publication. Did you for one second put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, 'what if this was a photograph of my child's accident scene?' I doubt that you did.

Unfortunately in this day and time, a death scene is invaded with media vultures that vigorously impose the public's right to know mentality and totally ignore the family's right to privacy and dignity. Respect for the family and honor of their feelings MUST come before sensationalism. We need to remember our human values of respect and honor and to have restraint and knowledge of when to step aside rather than invade a private tragedy for a "newsworthy" photo. Shame on your photographer, the editor and your publication.

Andy Combs Salem