The Daily Cougar editors’ decision to publish a photograph of a man shot to death at the University of Houston on the front page on Monday, February 9, made angry readers question editor’s judgment to run the photograph.
But to analyze this we need to understand that photos have a different resonance in which the factor of shock is implicated.
The impact a photo can provoke on people is surprising, which at the same time amplifies meaning.
Readers quickly let the newspaper know that they did not appreciate the intense reminder of the previous day’s event.
Showing a body is in taste bad and insensitive to the victim’s family , some said.
There are cases where photos have been published on newspapers and created a debate on whether they are controversial or not.
In 2004, CBS showed photos of iraqi prisoners tortured in the prison of Abou Gharaib.The publication of this images caused various soldiers to go to jail, which manifested the conflict between military publicity and the respect of human dignity.
Interestingly enough, this pictures show tragic scenes, which show reality no matter how monstrous it is.
But is it necessary to see homicide photos to know what it’s going on in our environment?
Are this images raising awareness or creating the contrary effect as we stay shocked by the horror they transmit?
On the contrary, many photographers get awarded for taking dramatic photos. Such is the case of a UH journalism graduate Adrees Latif, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for the photograph of a wounded japanese filming a demonstration at Myanmar.
Despite the fact that students found the photo to be offensive, the newspaper left some of our readers an indelibly correct reaffirmation that security on campus needs to be taken seriously.
“I think that it served a point, this was a serious incident and it brings reality to those who think safety is not an issue on our campus,” French senior Daniela Gomez said.