A journalist’s job is to document reality. Readers depend on us to report what we see through words and images and sometimes those images are tragic.
Sunday’s fatal accident on North U.S. 45 was a horrific event that impacted not only the lives of those involved, but the communities in which they live as well.
For better — or worse, we have become a visual society.
Many times if images aren’t documented by a media source, they are by individuals who may not take the scene or situation into account before hitting send.
A short while after the accident, the Effingham Daily News posted a picture of the accident on both its website, effinghamdailynews.com and our associated social media pages.
As journalists, we take careful consideration before publishing a photo. When faced with images or words deemed sensitive, there is thought and discussion that goes into what content is published and even where it is placed. At the end of that discussion, we have to ask ourselves whether the content is newsworthy.
In this case, we took careful consideration of the victims and their families and did not publish anything showing them or even the faces of those who responded. Rather, the photo is a tragic reminder of the awesome responsibility we possess as motorists every day and how a split second can alter our lives and the lives of others forever.
We were capturing the aftermath of such a moment that tragically took the life of a child, as well as severely injured those involved — and reporting on it.
We understand our content is not going to please everyone all the time and that is not our job. Our job is to tell the story — the complete story — as accurately as possible.
That guiding principle may not make us popular, but it will give us the respect of our audience who rely on us to report the news and that’s what counts.