If you’re from Memphis, then you know how gripped the city was during the shootout in West Memphis last week. It was a terrible and strange moment. Its beyond my little voice here to express how horrifying or tragic it all is. So far, there aren’t any real concrete explanations. Its just a great big violent mess.

Adding to the already confusing nature of the story is the uproar over the use of a  photo on the front page of the body of the gunned down 16 year old involved. Its use erupted into debate on the Commercial Appeal comments section.

I don’t find its use to be outrageous or beyond the pale or unethical. Its just a very morose picture wrapped up in a terribly violent story. I don’t envy the decision the staff at the CA had to make.

If it had been my call, I probably wouldn’t have run it. Maybe that makes me a coward or a hack, I don’t know. I just know that my gut reaction was not shock about the tragedy of it all, but a wonder about what context it added to the story.

Its arguable that it added fist-like impact to a story that was hard to convey without seeing the violence clearly.

I get that.

I just don’t know and I think that’s the important thing to remember. None of us do. Media outlets, even ones that seems so monolithic from the outside, are made up of people making individual and collective judgments about what’s important.

It is not easy. It is not simple and this again proves that it damn sure can be a messy and gut wrenching process.

Good luck guys.


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Filed under Media, Memphis

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