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Photo of the drowned Syrian boy, run it or don't run it?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by YankeeFan, Sep 4, 2015.

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  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    The photo of the young Syrian boy who drowned trying to reach Greece is one of the most heartbreaking thing you will ever see.

    There's been a lot of debate about publishing some of the ISIS photos, like the one of the Jordanian pilot being burned to death, and the Daily News decision to publish the photos of the Virginia murder, but I'm pretty surprised this is even an issue.

    Many news organizations in the United States decided to publish pictures of the dead child in their print or online editions, but they were divided over whether to show the more distressing, close-up images of the boy lying in the sand with his face partially visiblewhich attracted so much attention on social networks.

    The New York Times published a less jarring image that shows a Turkish police officer carrying the child away but conceals his face. Several other newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The Baltimore Sun, followed the same course of action.

    “We debated it, but ultimately we chose to run a powerful version of this photo because it brings home the enormity of this tragedy,” said Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times.

    The more jarring images appeared, though, in two major American dailies, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper, also published a close-up image.

    Kim Murphy, the assistant managing editor of The Los Angeles Times for foreign and national news, said there had been a consensus among the paper’s senior editors to show the boy as he was discovered, face down on the beach.

    “The image is not offensive, it is not gory, it is not tasteless — it is merely heartbreaking, and stark testimony of an unfolding human tragedy that is playing out in Syria, Turkey and Europe, often unwitnessed,” she said. “We have written stories about hundreds of migrants dead in capsized boats, sweltering trucks, lonely rail lines, but it took a tiny boy on a beach to really bring it home to those readers who may not yet have grasped the magnitude of the migrant crisis.”


    Here's the original image:


    Here's what the Times ran:

  2. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't have run it.

    And it makes me sick every time I see it. That's not easy to do.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    He's not pretty or blonde.

    I say run it.
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    That's the same reason many would say that it needs to run.

    I honestly find it overwhelming to look at, but it does bring greater focus to the problem.
  5. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    A lot of Canadian papers ran it. Like most, I find the picture absolutely heartbreaking, especially having a boy that age. It also turns out the boy's aunt lives in Vancouver and was trying to get them over here.

    Discussion up here is if this picture will galvanize people to do more for refugees. With an election going on the issue is front of mind for a lot of people.

    On a personal level I wrote my MP yesterday as well as donated money to 2 organizations that deal with refugees, one a national org and the other an ecumenical group that is trying to sponsor 2 families. I have also been trying to see what we can do to offer shelter in our home to a small family.

    I was very aware of the crisis but would not done any of it had I not been sparked by the picture. Previously Canada took in 65K Vietnamese boat people and that was driven from the people to the government.

    Right now there is a social media push to bring in 200K, am hoping that the govt can be pushed on this.
  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I was about to say that the family's application for refugee status had been turned down by Canada, based on a report I heard on the radio yesterday.

    But, in looking for a link, I learned that does not appear to be true:

    Canada has denied it received a bid for asylum from the family of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body was found washed up on a beach in Turkey.

    The aunt of Alan Kurdi earlier said his family's request for refugee status had been rejected, but later acknowledged it had never been submitted.

    Canada denies Alan Kurdi's family applied for asylum - BBC News
  7. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

    The group in Canada (which includes the sister of the boy's father) were trying to bring the family over but got caught in a huge loophole.
    Canada's response to refugee crises today a stark contrast to past efforts
  8. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    @YankeeFan Lost of early conflicting reports on it. The aunt apparently had applied for another brother but was in teh process of applying for this family as well.

    She had given her MP a letter to give to the Immigration minister asking for help for the family. The minister passed the letter on to bureaucrats.

    It has blown up for the Minister as he was on a CBC show where he was challenged on the refugee status and accused the media of ignoring the story. The host responded that they had done stories on the panel something like 32 times in 2 years. He came across really poorly and suspended his re-election campaign to deal with it. I don't know that it will be a sustainable election up here but right now lots of people calling for his (and the government's) head.
  9. HC

    HC Well-Known Member

    Like Chet, the photo affected me very deeply, especially as the child of immigrants. For the government then to offer citizenship to this man after he lost everything he was trying to save really pissed me off.
    Iron_chet likes this.
  10. This photo also drove home the point to Great Britain ... The government reversed its stance on Syrian immigrants.

    Cameron bows to pressure to let in more Syrian refugees

    Wonder what sort of photos - if any - it would take for people to rethink our Mexican immigration issue?
  11. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    If it had a lot of blood and gore, I wouldn't have run it.

    This was very upsetting, but I would have run it because it's perfectly emblematic of the disaster in Syria.
  12. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member


    The immigration department denied it offered citizenship afterwards, FWIW. Someday, I hope we get the real story on the whole situation.

    I believe in running the original photo. Don't hide what's really happening. And, there needs to be a lot more coverage of the war in Syria itself.
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