On September 14, 1989 a man entered a printing company named Standard Gravure and killed nine people, including himself. The shooting spree in Louisville, Kentucky was covered by the Louisville Courier-Journal who decided to include in the front page story, a photo of one of the deceased victims. The front page photo had the victim on his back with his face clearly visible for all readers to see. The killer was a former employee on disability leave named Joseph Wesbecker who was being medicated for depression. He entered the printing press company with an AK-47 assault rifle and within 30 minutes he had killed eight and injured 12 before taking his own life.
[...] It showed the position that the man died in and although it was considered by some to be graphic, it gave the readers a face that they would possibly associate with the negative effects of gun violence. The family and friends though, were affected greatly by the picture and even filed a lawsuit claiming mental harm and invasion of privacy. They were affected by the publishing of their loved one's murdered body when he had no possible way of denying that his photograph be taken. [...]
[...] After the photo was used, Hawpe published articles making it clear to the public the reasons why the paper chose such an action. Some positive feedback followed that included the widow of another man killed in the incident who lent her support to the paper through a personally delivered letter. The widow, Sarah Wible, wrote: would want people to remember that my husband died violently- senselessly- and I don't want anyone to forget it. (Hughes p. Hawpe was questioned about whether he would have printed the photo again considering the public's reaction. [...]
[...] They understood that initially the decision would cause conflict but it would bring attention to an important issue. Decision The editors of the Courier-Journal did not make the right decision by printing the photo. The families of the victim along with others affected by the incident were harmed by the blatant image of death with a face to match. The editors used the man for the purpose of a larger issue but some readers may have not gathered that from the story. [...]
[...] The photograph may have not been necessary to be included for the story, but the editors thought such a photo was important for the story along with national debates on automatic weapons. The principle of harm to others is used as the photograph may have harmed the family and friends who knew the murdered man, along with readers who were disturbed by such a graphic picture. While the picture may have mentally harmed readers and family, some may think that it was necessary and newsworthy to accentuate the article. [...]
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