When there is a general journalistic practice of avoiding publishing photos of dead bodies, what is the justification for publishing a photo of dead Dalton Gang members propped up for the cameras (“Don Henley’s upcoming visit spurs memories of SLO County’s desperados,” May 14)?
As I understand it, the main reason not to publish such photos is to avoid causing unnecessary distress to the relatives of the deceased, which does not apply here because the photo was taken in 1892.
But are there no other reasons? Do issues of taste enter into the decision at all? Or keeping the newspaper fit for consumption by children assigned current events homework that requires them to scour the newspaper?
This particular instance of a death photo cannot even be justified on the basis of news value, because the event occurred more than 120 years ago. When did Photos from the Vault devolve into Photos from the Crypt?
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Patricia A. Lipscomb, Nipomo