Friday, August 24, 2012

Depictions of violence in the newspaper

As you've no doubt heard, a gunman went on a rampage at the Empire State Building in New York City today. The New York Times' website currently has this vivid photo on its front page:

I cannot recall ever seeing such a frank depiction of violence in a newspaper. I assume this is a considered editorial decision to show the actual, bloody results of gun violence.

ADDED: Meanwhile, 19 people were shot last night in Chicago.


  1. I do not recall one either. However, that may be a reflection on our relative youth. During the Vietnam War, the Times ran a picture of a young girl being burned by napalm. It won a pulitzer prize.

    Similarly, Eddie Adams won a pulitzer prize for his photograph of a Viet Cong prisoner being shot in the head.

    There may be other examples. It is interesting to note that the two examples I could think of are both war photographs.

  2. If you go back to the '40s and earlier, you'll find many such things; crime photography was very popular. As a child (in the 60's) I recall some pretty gruesome pix in the news now and then. CBS televised, during the Biafran Civil War, the captur of some poor guy. Then on camera one of his captors knifed him to death.

    I'm not sure sanitizing the news has been helpful or not.


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