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A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Presenting unpleasant realities in the news

 Below are a couple of comments we received on Facebook in reaction to the photo, above, of Travis Stidham spotlighted by a police helicopter, holding  a gun to his head just before he fatally shot himeself, ending the manhunt that began when he shot and wounded Lorain County Sheriff's Deputy Charles Crausaz on Dec. 12.  

Presenting unpelasant realities in the news often draws complaints from some readers. Below the complaints is the response I provided, explaining how we look at the question.

What's your opinion on how unpleasant news should be presented in the newspaper and online, or not presented. Click the red "Comment" link below this post to have your say.  -- Tom Skoch, Editor

I find it very unnessary to have a picture on the front page of Travis with a gun to his head. Don't you think his family and friends are going through enough as it is? Then to look at the paper this morning to see that. Little kids look and read the news papers. How would you feel if your child came to you at a young age and asked what that man in the paper is doing? I knew Travis not very well and I still don't like seeing this when I look at the paper and see that slideshow. Very unnessary!!! Rude thats all it
Melody Fox-Gallam very un caring and should be done differently.

    • The Morning Journal
      Our task is to report accurately on life, pleasant and unpleasant, so readers can have a better understanding of the world they live in daily. The photo shows the intensity of the manhunt, it helps to verify the police account of what happened, it shows why so many people in the area of the incident were frightened. It also captures the state Travis Stidham was in at the moment. It simply presents the facts of this incident. People can use this photographic knowledge to assess what happened, and maybe draw lessons from it that are helpful. We would do the community a disservice by hiding unpleasant realities from the public. Presenting facts for the public's benefit is our job. Deciding what children should see or not see is for individual parents to decide.


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