Awareness Over a Pleasant Breakfast

As chapter 8 states, in journalism there is no longer a question of “do we shoot or do we not shoot?” It has now become a question of “do we post or do we not post?” The decision to take a picture or not, used to be simple but with an increasingly competitive media environment, there is added pressure in releasing controversial pictures. Furthermore, photojournalists seem to go by a general rule “Shoot. You can always edit later”. Additionally, there is always the fear that the content of the picture may too graphic to be published to the public yet is it worth sharing for awareness? All these factors make photo and video journalism a very conflicting and touchy topic.

There are many instances where pictures or videos can be edited or won’t tell the true story of a scenario. This makes the validity of pictures in doubt; however, I would like to think that the pictures of a professional have slightly more validity than that of an amateur. Since there is no actual way of being able to tell the truth, I appreciate the thought that journalists try to tell the story as to what they believed happened. Hopefully that means that they are telling the story as truthfully as possible and not in a way that would be more profitable for the journalists.

As to the “Post Toasties Test” or as others would call it, “the breakfast test”, I think it is a good method of deciding whether or not a picture should be published in the daily newspaper. If people find the picture too gruesome and horrific, the publishers should reconsider publishing it. Nonetheless, history has proven that publishing some of these pictures have actually lead to creating more awareness to the problem and it potentially leading to solutions. As the group that presented the case “Horror in Soweto”, it is really hard to handle publishing a picture to depict a negative situation happening around the world without any backlash as to how the picture was taken and questioning the photographer’s actions. Yet, the picture did bring attention to horrific events happening in South Africa, so in a sense, the photographers pictures, despite how he got the pictures, helped the bring help to the cause in Soweto. I feel like you could apply the Utilitarianism value to this situation, the photographer may have not helped out the victim photographed in his picture; yet, his picture did a greater good for the community. It brought awareness and help to the violence in Soweto.

Of course we all wish that our breakfast would be similar to that of Jay-Z, “your breastesses is my breakfast,” in Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love”, nonetheless, we don’t have that luxury. There will be times we are going to have to hold down our breakfast due to horrific pictures, but the intention and cause of their publication is for awareness. So hopefully our breakfast wont be ruined frequently, but I think it is acceptable and ethically right to publish these graphic pictures if they are intended to help a negative cause.