Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crossing the line in a life or death situation

By now you may have seen the New York Post cover photo of the man about to be run over by a subway train. The incredibly tasteless headline reads, "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die." And under that in big, bold capital letters: "Doomed"

What made this even worse is that so many news organizations either re-printed the photo or broadcast it on a newscast.

Shame on you all.

Have we become so desensitized, so lacking in decency that this horrific moment is shared with the world? This is stuff out of a horror movie, but it's real life.

Of course, after the fact, the photographer who took the shot has written a column about the experience, since he apparently got hammered by readers of the newspaper. In the middle of the column he shares the experience, how he saw what was about to happen and started running, how the camera wasn't even on the right setting and he just started shooting as he ran.

Really. Amazing how the photo was perfectly framed and in focus.

So put yourself in his position. You see someone about to die. Do you drop the camera and stop to help, even if it might be in vain, or do you keep shooting and bring it back to the newsroom for a lead story?

If you answered the latter, you have no business in this business. You're a vulture.

The photog in question may have been too far away to help. But he might have yelled for someone closer to offer assistance, might have dropped his gear and waved frantically in an attempt to get the motorman's attention. Maybe someone would have rescued the man, maybe the train could have stopped.

We'll never know. Meanwhile, the victim's family not only has to go through the grief of losing someone who died a horrible death, but they have to endure the fact that someone profited from it. And that so many news organizations are sharing the moment.

Put yourself in the victim's place. Someone just shoved you in front of a train. And you look up and see someone about to take your picture.

If you run this photo, you're no different than the man who shot it.


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