John Harte’s blog
The photojournalist shares the in-depth story of the Hart Park Lake drowning photo, taken when he was 27 years of age.

Photographer Charged with Interfering with Rescue Efforts
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press tells how John Harte was charged during a rescue attempt in a canal in 1994 for not following warnings to stand behind a gate. The case was thrown out in 1995.

Deciding What to Show and When
Poynter’s Aly Colon examines the complicated question of whether or not to show bodies in the media in this 2003 article.

Victims of Violence
Professor Paul Martin Lester of Cal State-Fullerton wrote this chapter in the 1999 version of Photojournalism: An Ethical Approach. It examines the history of taking pictures of victims of violence and assesses how ethical this practice is.

Documenting Tragedy
This December 2012 NPR program on the ethics of photojournalism resulted from the New York Post publishing a freelance photo of a man trapped in the path of an oncoming subway train. Contains the transcript and audio link.

Whose Photo Is It?
Columbia Journalism Review questions the ethicality of publishing photos of wounded, and later deceased, U.S. Marine Joshua Bernard’s photos in 2009.

Whose Photo Is It? – Photograph
Link to the AP photo of Bernard suffering from fatal wounds.


Photo of Tragedy is a Prize Mistake
This 1985 archival article by Bob Greene of the Chicago Tribune said Harte’s photo epitomized everything that is wrong about photojournalism.

What Is News?: The Answer Is Not Blowing On A Whim
Paul Martin Lester and Deni Elliott wrote this 2003 column in News Photographer examining what makes news and uses the case of Edward Romero’s drowning as an example. Looks at the ethics of the decision to publish.

Anger at CBS Use of Diana Photos
The family of Princess Diana was upset that CBS News used pictures of her at the 1997 Paris crash scene for a 2004 follow-up story on the British inquest into her death.

When Does The Media Cross The Line Of Newsworthiness To Exploitation?
This transcript of a CNN program, after the photos of Saddam Hussein’s dead sons were published in 2003, examines whether the media crosses the line when it shows pictures of dead bodies.

Woman Fired for Photo of Flag-Draped Coffins
NBC News 2004 report on Tami Silicio, a Seattle resident working on contract at Kuwait International Airport.  Her picture of flag-draped caskets ended up on the front page of the Seattle Times. She lost her job over it.


When Privacy and Press Rights Collide
Photojournalist Paul McMasters recounted in 1999 why printing death photos is important.

Powerful Photograph Offered Chance to Tell an Important Story
Mike Fancher, Executive Editor of the Seattle Times, shares about the decision to publish the photos of flag-draped coffins and why it was the right decision.

Why We Must Show the Dead
How the decision to publish is made, and why it is important to show the dead in the news from The Guardian’s Eamon McCabe in 2001.

A Closer View of Death
More on what is published and what is not, why some pictures must be published and some are deemed too graphic.

NPPA Home Page
The home page of the National Press Photographers Association. Includes link to News Photographer magazine.

Related Topics

The New York Post and the 2012 Train Photo
North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufekci, a defender of photojournalism, debates the decision by the Post to run the photo of a man pushed onto train tracks.

The New York Post Cover
The Huffington Post recaps the story with a picture of the cover.

TV Reporter and Cameraman Shot and Killed Live On Air
The Daily Caller story about the August 2015 death of WDBJ’s Alison Parker and Adam Ward as they were doing a live broadcast.

Media Struggle with How to Handle Video of On Air Shooting
CNN Wire and Fox 31 in Denver summarize reaction by media outlets to using the video of the WDJB shooting.

Death of a War Correspondent
How does the media respond when this picture is one of their own?


Mother and Daughter Fall from Fire Escape
Gallery of photos and story about a 1975 tragic attempted fire rescue. The photos were published in the Boston Herald.

Drowned Baby Picture Captures Week of Tragedy in Mediterranean
Reuters reports on the death of a migrant baby in May 2016 and how the picture is being used by Sea-Watch to persuade European authorities to ensure safe passage to migrants.

The Psychological Impact of Terrorism Coverage: Creating a Prozac Nation?
This 2003 Poynter article from Bill Mitchell discusses whether repeated viewing of disturbing images such as those of Sept. 11 and its aftermath can result in clinical depression.

Ethics or Aesthetics?
A Cal State-Fullerton course website that examines cases involving newspapers and photojournalism regarding privacy and the right to know.

Internet Sets Images Free
This 2003 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article examines the Internet’s release of what news media withholds.