A young man hangs himself at his home and a local photographer is passing by when family members find the body. The photos show the distraught family members and the face of the hanged victim. The partially cut rope still looming over scene in the background. The horror. The grief. The calls to the Almighty. And finally the resignation and acceptance of the truth that the son is not only dead, but that he has taken his own life.
The next day the photos appear on a local blog. The family is horrified, but the blog owner refuses to remove the photos. They are news he says, and news is the business of his blog.
Each of us who sits at an editor’s desk whether in our bedroom at 3 in the morning or professionally in an office, makes decisions every day about what stories will be covered and in what depth.
The editors of the Nation News did not show the photos, but did a story. We chose to show a photo that is probably the least controversial of the lot.
David Crichlow at CaribPix.Net decided to publish an entire series of photos. That is his choice, and aside from certain photos where society has a wider interest in prohibiting their distribution (ie: child pornography), the choice should be up to Mr. Chichlow.
We are sorry for Helen Foster and the family and friends of her son Shawn Foster. No doubt Mr. Crichlow feels sorry for them also. No doubt at all about that.
But Mr. Crichlow is in the news business – and no matter at what level or how large or professional his organisation is, he has a right to determine what he will publish.
CaribPix.Net – Barbados Death Photos
The Nation – Mum: Take Them Off
Photo credit for above (grieving family member with covered body): CaribPix.Net
The photo is copyright David M. Crichlow. We have used a portion of the photo under the fair-use doctrine as it is the centre of discussion.