Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Journalism Ethics: New York Post Photographer Takes Picture of Man on Subway Tracks

Yesterday, December 4th, a New York Post freelance reporter, R. Umar Abbasi shot an incredible photograph of  Ki-Suck Han, a man who had just been pushed onto the subway tracks at New York's Times Square Station.  The photograph shows Han facing the oncoming train, reaching up to the platform but unable to get off the tracks. The New York Post published the photograph on its front page, accompanied by the headline, "Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die." 

Now, the incident has sparked a national debate, not only about why no one standing near Mr. Han tried to help him, but also about the ethics of taking and publishing this kind of photo.

Mr. Abbasi has defended his actions saying that he kept taking flash pictures in an effort to warn the train driver to stop in time. "It all went so quickly; from the time I heard the shouting until the time the train hit the main was about 22 seconds."

What do you think? Regardless of the actions of the photographer, do you think the New York Post should have published this photograph on its front page? Did the publication of this photo somehow convey a message, or was it just published for its shock value to sell newspapers?

For more news and different viewpoints on this case,  check out the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Post  and the New York Times,

You may also want to look at media codes of ethics or take a look at a post from the Poynter Institute on the ethics of this case.,

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