Death by photography (5×8 – 12/6/12)

When to put the camera down, the bright lights of North Dakota, finances the gay way, the view from space, and forgiveness.


By now, we’ve all seen the story of the photographer who kept shooting pictures as a man tried in vain to get out of the way of an oncoming New York subway train. Why didn’t the man put down the camera and do something to help? In truth, however, it’s a question that can be asked dozens a time a week as humans continue to experience life through their cellphone cameras in hopes of the viral video.

But, as I mentioned a few days ago, it also stalks those responsible for telling stories others may want to avoid.

This picture won a Pulitzer…


Kevin Carter, the photographer who took it, killed himself.

We are, like it or not, in the age of citizen journalism. Should they be held to the same ethical standards as professional news photographers? BBC Magazine considers the question today…

“We’re going to be seeing much more of this because things like this are going to be increasingly covered, not just in photos but also on video,” says Dan Gillmor, author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People.

Pictures and footage taken by the public at disaster scenes such as those of the 7/7 attacks on London’s transport network were seen by millions.

It raises the question of whether ordinary members of the public have an obligation to start thinking about media ethics in the same way as the most experienced war correspondent.

But advocates of citizen newsgathering – who value the capacity of amateurs to get to places professional reporters often can’t – say it would be mistaken to hold everyone to the same standards as experiences veterans of the craft.


APM’s Marketplace has been providing several reports of late on the people taking part in the great oil boom in North Dakota. Its most recent production leads to the obvious question families have to ask: Is it worth it?

How much is North Dakota changing in the oil boom? This much. (h/t: Ben Chorn)



Maybe there should be more gay people in Congress.

CNN Money reports today on a Prudential survey that shows LGBT people are better at their finances.

Respondents not only reported significantly higher annual incomes — $61,500 compared with the national median of $50,054 — but they also carried about $4,000 less in debt than the average American and had $6,000 more in household savings. They were even slightly more likely to have jobs in the first place, with an unemployment rate of 7% versus the national rate of 7.9%, Prudential found.

A combination of factors play into this, said Michele Meyer-Shipp, chief diversity officer at Prudential. To start, LGBT individuals are generally well-educated, with more than half of respondents receiving at least a bachelor’s degree, and tend to live in higher-income areas, she said.

Slightly related: 60 reasons to be proud in 2012 (Buzzfeed). Chris Kluwe makes the list.

More economy: Nothing says “happy holidays” like the GDP.


Yesterday’s NASA Image of the Day was a thought-provoking keeper. Click it for the full-sized version, then describe below what you see here…


There’s a nice shot of Minneapolis-St. Paul (and Fargo and Duluth) at 1:27 in this piece from the space station…

Further Up Yonder from Giacomo Sardelli on Vimeo.

Things often look better at night.


Some people hold grudges against the little things; some people are capable of forgiving the big things.

Bonus I: It’s important to have a passion.

Cool Hunting Video Presents: The International Banana Museum from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

Bonus II: The Twin Cities have made the list of top 10 places to visit by Lonely Planet, whatever that is.

The St Anthony Falls Heritage Trail is a 2-mile path along the banks of the Mississippi River. Plan time for Uptown’s Bryant-Lake Bowl, an old bowling alley with seriously good food (think artisanal cheese plates).

But before we get carried away, American Samoa is on the list, too. This is American Samoa. And this is not an artisanal cheese plate.


The problem with getting national attention is sometimes it’s attention you don’t want. The New Yorker — people have heard of the New Yorker — suggests that the Twin Cities are heading for a reputation as cultural flyover country.

Bonus III: It’s former baseball player Tony Horton’s birthday today. How’d you like to be remembered for one thing? This thing, for example…

A few weeks after this hilarious moment, Tony Horton, who made it to the big leagues at age 19, tried to kill himself.


Minnesota’s latest economic forecast shows the state facing a $1.1 billion deficit in the upcoming two-year budget cycle. Today’s Question: How would you fix Minnesota’s budget?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Hurricane Sandy and the jobs report. Guest: Heidi Moore.

Second hour: Calvin Trillin, longtime staff writer at The New Yorker, the deadline poet for The Nation, and author of several books. His newest is “Dogfight: The Presidential Campaign in Verse.”

Third hour: Guy Kawasaki on self publishing.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Environmental activist Bill McKibben & oil executive John Hofmeister, speaking at the Commonwealth Club of California about carbon pollution and climate change.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Photojournalism and ethics. The cover of the New York Post shows a man on the tracks moments before an oncoming train ends his life. Now, the photographer and the editors who ran the image are at the center of a controversy over media and morals. Plus, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse on the fiscal cliff.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – One of the most dangerous cities in the nation fights rising crime and accusations of union-busting. NPR will report that Camden, New Jersey police can barely keep up with the city’s rampant crime, and the city says it cannot afford the police union contract.. So the entire police force is being disbanded and replaced with a cheaper force the whole county can share.

  • Robert Moffitt

    #3. “Maybe there should be more gay people in Congress”

    According to news reports, there are five openly gay members in the House, and one in the Senate. You might say the House has 5.5 gay members — newly elected Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is bisexual.

  • V

    At first glance, I read “Further Up Yonder” as “Further Up Yours.” Now that would be a message to all humankind.

  • vjacobsen

    Re #1- Try to get the public to consider ethics? Right. Ethics these days only consists of asking the question, “What’s in it for me?”

    Re #3- Well, it’s a picture of Sandy bearing down on the East Coast, but I don’t know what to say about it.

  • Greg W
  • John P.

    //Twin Cities are heading for a reputation as cultural flyover country

    I love my classical music, but I can see that my adult children and their peers have little interest despite plenty of exposure in childhood. The audiences I see for the orchestra seem tilted heavily towards the old and well-to-do. That is a prescription for irrelevance. I am not sure that a symphony orchestra is a measure of what is “flyover country” any more.

  • Kassie

    I think part of the reason that the classical music crowds tilt old and rich is their price. I can see the Doomtree Blowout for $15 and get right up front, or I can get a terrible seat with a blocked view for the MN Opera for $35. SPCO has done a lot to bring down their prices, which I really appreciate, but is that part of what has lead to the lockout? I’m not sure.

    The two orchestras and the opera aren’t the only world class musicians in town anymore. As someone in my mid-30s who loves all music, including Classical, the orchestras are competing with the local music clubs for my money, but I don’t think they see it that way.

  • Karine

    There’s a movie called The Bang Bang Club, based on the story of Kevin Carter and his fellow combat photographers in South Africa. The theme of the movie centers around the internal conflict of journalism objectivity and helping the people they’re photographing. The story of the picture he took that won the pulitzer is a main part of the story. I think the movie is worth watching and it’s available on Netflix!

  • boB from WA

    RE #4 – Damn we use a lot of energy.

  • Bob Collins

    It’s a business model without equal. Clubs make their money on the booze. People go to hear the acts and maybe meet someone, too.

    The MN Orchestra/SPCO is never going to be able to compete with that business model.

    It’s about the music. But, then again, it has nothing to do with the music.

  • Chris N.

    I thought Lonely Planet was a pretty popular travel guide. Is it really that obscure? I mean, yeah, it’s not the New Yorker. If you’ve ever gone on a trip outside the country, though, I would put odds above 80% that you’ve heard of it. Maybe that’s still a pretty small slice of the population.

    Thanks for the tip about the NASA picture and video. Never gets old, looking at the little blue dot.

  • Kassie

    It is a business model without equal, and it is failing. I think the orchestras would have a lot to learn from the music clubs. I almost always get a drink when I go to the orchestra because it is a night out. I want to have fun, as well as see great music, but the Minnesota Orchestra is just so damn stuffy. SPCO shows at the Ordway are too. I feel bad talking in anything but a hushed voice even in the lobby.

    Ultimately, orchestras are nothing more than cover bands. What would the great composers think of a situation where society listens to live music like we do today, in clubs, drinking, having fun, singing along to their favorites, except their music which is now only available to the elite acting as if it were 100-200 years prior? Except for music nerds, there is no joy. It isn’t fun as we normally define fun. It isn’t social. And it costs a lot to experience all this. The model needs to change.