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Photo of Red Sox fan killed by police
Jane Tyska, Photographer
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 4:40 PM on 10.23.04
->> I'm sure some of you have been following this... Here's a link to the front page picture:

Porter, a writer and editor, raises some good points in the commentary on his site.

I have not seen the actual paper and the details of the photo are hard to discern from the above link, though I hear it was not a Herald staffer who shot the pictures. AP also moved an image apparently from a bystander, slugged BX101.

Here's a larger version and additional commentary:

Wonder why police on scene weren't rendering aid here? The poor girl didn't die until later in the hospital. Perhaps that happened seconds after this picture was taken, but you wouldn't know it from looking at this one image. To me this is another example of why we should edit carefully to tell the story in the most truthful way possible, but I'll bet this is one of just a few frames on someone's point and shoot.

Here's the apology by a Boston Herald editorial director:

I know the papers I work for probably wouldn't have used the picture out of sensitivity to family and friends. I agree with Porter, it's news and it's public, but I think handling it in a more sensitive way would have been the answer.

Perhaps the Herald could have run a grief shot out front that wasn't as graphic, and run this one inside in b&w? It's juxtaposition to the "Go Sox" teaser above on the masthead is a little jarring to say the least. To me it diminishes any serious message they were trying to send with the picture, but tabloid style can be that way. (No offense to my Boston colleagues who I used to know when I lived there)

Link to Herald reader's letters:

Here's another debateable topic, Mayor Menino's restrictions on bar owners after the incident:

"Instead, bar owners agreed to a series of restrictions, including not allowing patrons to line up outside to wait to get in, not allowing bars to become overcrowded or patrons to drink too much, and not allowing television crews to do live shots from inside bars. Authorities were worried that live television coverage of bar patrons encourages people to act out as they play to the cameras."

Next thing you know they'll be saying that about still coverage...
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Omar Vega, Photographer, Student/Intern
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 9:06 PM on 10.23.04
->> Jane,

That’s what happens when police officers act irresponsibly. America can’t have both worlds, Disneyland and reality. It’s reality. If society gets offended, oh well. Ok, an image of a child being raped should not be taken or ran! GO HELP! Why should we sensitize the reality? The photographer didn’t kill that young girl, the officer did. The general public should ask why it happened, what went wrong, what’s going to happen to the officer, how may we help the family, how may we prevent this from occurring again, rather than blaming the messengers. The presentation of the front cover needed some assistance by eliminating the “GO SOX” headline, to isolate the impact of the tragedy.

The image did exactly what it was intended to do, depict reality. It’s the same argument about the war on terrorism. People get killed in all wars, so why aren’t we seeing the images of reality? Many war photographers take the images that show reality, but many publications chose not to run it. I agree with the paper running the image. I disagree with the Boston Herald editorial director for apologizing. By apologizing to the public, readers will feel a victory. How will the paper react to another tragedy that occurs locally, nationally, and internationally? “We should edit carefully to tell the story in the most truthful way possible”; the kill was killed by an irresponsible police officer; the photographer did a superb job on getting there on time to photograph the incident.

About the bars, 1st Amendment violation, Ok, there privately owned so it’s at the discretion of the bar owner. Who does the mayor think he is by proposing such restrictions? What does “overcrowded” mean (10,20,50,100 people-2 people below the fire code)? So you can’t line up outside, what about clubs in the area? Who’s going to enforce these brainless restrictions (Bar owners, bar tenders, a bouncer)? How much is “too much” to drink (5 beers, 20 beers, 20 shots)? The more the customer drinks more revenue. Bar tenders already take these restrictions into consideration during operation.


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Daniel Bersak, Photographer
Boston | MA | USA | Posted: 10:09 PM on 10.23.04
->> Hi-

Though I do not wish to comment publically on my images, I will say that if any SportsShooter member has questions for me, feel free to contact me through my member page on the condition that if I reply, it won't be redistributed, printed, or otherwise used. It has been a strange few days for me.

Anyway, back to the ball game. It's too cold for baseball here at Fenway, and the third base coach is in my way... 7-5 Sox in the 5th.

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Billy Suratt, Photographer, Photo Editor
Russell Springs | KY | USA | Posted: 11:09 PM on 10.23.04
->> Daniel,

If you or anyone else involved in a traumatic incident such as this ever needs somebody to talk to about your experiences, please feel free to contact a member of the NPPA's Critical Incident Response Team.

They're not professional counselors; they're journalistic peers trained to provide the support you need.

The service is free, totally confidential and available to all photojournalists whether they're NPPA members or not.
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Jane Tyska, Photographer
Oakland | CA | USA | Posted: 11:43 PM on 10.23.04
->> Omar,

I'm with you on depicting reality, that's our job. I constantly wonder why Americans have such an appetite for violence in TV and movies but cringe when reality appears on the front page of their newspaper. But corporate media seems to prevail, and unlike papers abroad, we get squeamish about showing this stuff. It's come up for me often and is frustrating to all of us.

I didn't mean to say that the photo of the girl should not have run, I think it was just the way that it was played on the Herald's front that made it seem gratuitious to readers, again because of the tabloid nature of the paper. Thinking it through some more, I'll bet if I people saw that picture on the front of the NY Times, the feeling may have been different. Would have been interesting to see the various play nationally and internationally had the picture moved on the wire.

And I definitely agree that the editorial director shouldn't apologize, that sets a bad precedent. I posted that for informational purposes only, it doesn't mean that I agree with the Herald's decision. If it were my kid, I'd want everyone in the world to see what the police did. Nonetheless, it's easy for the family to deflect their anger on the photographer and the media.

I was just throwing it out there about moving a different kind of image from the scene that could also convey the sense of tragedy, such as a friend reacting emotionally near the girl while she lay on the sidewalk, etc. and maybe running the other image secondary or inside. But I suppose that's a moot point because if there was a picture like that, it probably would have moved. This is a good example of why it's good to think things through before you post.

I just now re-loaded the page and saw Daniel's post, apologies for assuming a bystander shot it. Kudos to you for moving the picture, you did the right thing. How it's played afterwards is out of your hands. It's an important picture. The fact that so many people were upset by it proves that point. Good luck-
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Omar Vega, Photographer, Student/Intern
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 12:43 AM on 10.24.04
->> Jane,

Ooops...your right... :)


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John Cordes, Photographer
Orange County | CA | USA | Posted: 3:49 PM on 10.24.04
->> The photo does remind me of the Kent State photo from the 1960s and how different would the National Gaurds version of the events at Kent State be without the photos? PHOTOS ARE IMPORTANT for the truth to get out.

I think the family of Victoria Snelgrave will be better off in the long run because Daniel Bersak did what I would have done, his job.

This case will of course be in front of a jury and the Police will say what they will have to say and sometimes its abit different than the facts. The bottom line is the jury will see a young girl with her life slipping away on a cold night on a cold sidewalk. Strong stuff and it is why I got into this buisness in the first place, to make a difference.

Thanks Daniel for reminding me of why I wanted to be a photographer. It was never about money, it was always about showing the truth, I had forgotten that.
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Thread Title: Photo of Red Sox fan killed by police
Thread Started By: Jane Tyska
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