Desensitized to dead bodies?

I wrote yesterday about the difficult choices news editors are having this week when it comes to how and whether to show dead bodies in Haiti.

Today, visual journalist Charles Apple looks closer at the choices newspapers are making, and considers whether there’s danger in making dead body images common?

For Day Three coverage, it seems a little late to go with body photos. Especially given the tropical climate in Haiti. After the coverage Thursday that focused on dead, dying and anguished, I’d prefer to see photos of people being helped or fed or cared for.

Of course, perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps there isn’t enough of that going on.

It doesn’t take long, it would appear, for us to become desensitized.

One of the other things that’s been interesting to note about news coverage is the difference in editorial philosophy between newspapers and newspaper Web sites.

Here’s an example from the New Orleans Picayune. Here’s the paper:

1001quakefridayneworleansla.jpg

And here’s the paper’s Web site ( click to enlarge):

web_site_nola.jpg

The top story is the New Orleans Saints game this weekend. Haiti coverage was limited to reaction to the disaster from Saints players.

The situation is somewhat the same locally. On the Star Tribune Web site, Brett Favre plays higher than Haiti, which is scaled evenly with the latest on fighter Brock Lesnar.

  • David

    Welcome to America, Bob, land of constant graphic violence.

    As long as the public doesn’t catch a glimpse of nudity *everything goes.

    *One exception, we won’t show images of our dead soldiers, would want to end a totally necessary war or anything.