Sep 4, 2009

Picture of war

An Associated Press photograph of a mortally wounded Marine in Afghanistan has raised old questions about the appropriateness of publishing photos of American soldiers who are dead or dying.

The picture, taken by AP photographer Julie Jacobson, shows two Marines tending to Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard after he was hit in the legs by a rocket-propelled grenade. Bernard later died during surgery.

Jacobson said this to Editor and Publisher:
To ignore a moment like that simply ... would have been wrong. I was recording his impending death, just as I had recorded his life moments before walking the point in the bazaar ... Death is a part of life and most certainly a part of war. Isn't that why we're here? To document for now and for history the events of this war?
Editor and Publisher did a quick survey of the papers that did, and did not, publish the photo.

InDenver Times, the successor to the Rocky Mountain News, did not run the photo and explains why here.

The New York Times ran the photo on its Lens blog and explains why here.

The photo can be seen here.

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