The Miami Herald DEAD St. Petersburg Times, The Daily Courier
Before you begin the material on this page, you should have read chapters 8 & 9 in They Say / I Say and you should have completed the reading quiz. If you have not yet done this, please go back to the Lesson Checklist at the bottom of the Unit 5 screen and start over.
Photo by Vishal Malhotra
A recent news event produced stark headlines that we won’t soon forget.
HE’S DEAD The Miami Herald DEAD St. Petersburg Times, The Daily Courier
Bin Laden KILLED Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
KILLED The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Charlotte Observer
U.S. Forces Kill Osama bin Laden; Obama: ‘Justice has been done’ The Washington Post
BIN LADEN DEAD The Denver Post, The Plain Dealer
Headlines like these spanned the country, and the plain, to-the-point phrasing contained in them implied that readers everywhere would be of one mind: the news of this individual’s death has been anticipated and can be processed without complex emotion. The real controversy, however, arose when
the focus of the conversation shifted: Is it appropriate to show the photographs of this dead individual? On this point, the country was hotly divided. Emotions ran high. “It’s too morbid!” many cried, while others begged, “We need closure!”
I’m sure that, like me, each of you had a strong feeling of your own about whether or not these photographs should be published, and you had reasons to support your position. No matter which side of the argument each of us chose, I think the issue of whether or not to publish the photographs of bin Laden after he was shot highlights a larger, more interesting topic for an academic conversation that might contain questions like the following:
What function in American society does news photography perform?
If a photograph, by definition, simply captures a real-life (and factual) moment, then why does so much of the photography we see on the front pages of newspapers and news magazines trigger the profoundest of emotions?
Should this photography be so emotionally driven?
Are any images ‘off limits’ when they capture real life?
Think about how you would answer each of the above questions. Compose a paragraph discussing your response to the above questions, and post it in the Discussion Board assignment for this unit. Once you have posted your own paragraph, please respond to another student’s post.