What would you do?

A recent New York Post cover has prompted many to question the moral gray area of journalism.


You have a photographer who has a photo of a man dying in front of your eyes and it is ready to print on your front page.

Do you run it?

The image captured by the freelance photographer of Suk-Han.

Last night, New York City native Ki Suk-Han took part in one of the most common New York practices- he stood and waited for the subway. An altercation occurred and Suk-Han decided to step in and break it up between the few people involved.

The men involved in the scuffle shoved Suk-Han and he fell below to the subway track with an oncoming train making its way through the subway tunnel.  An ending of such dismay was inevitable as Suk-Han was killed by the subway train.

A freelance photographer was there at the scene along with 18 other bystanders that night in the subway. The photographer had a camera and his journalist senses kicked into high gear and a story was born at that very moment.

The story was about a man being run over by a subway car and it was on the front page of the New York Post. The heading said, “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die,” and at the bottom of the page in big bold letters it read, “DOOMED.” If you want to check it out yourself, visit their site here.

After it is all said and done, the brief second before Suk-Han fell to their death, a photo was shot of not one person trying to help him.

Do you run it?

Many alternatives could have been decided upon that could eventually have further minimized any danger and reputation threatening actions against the newspaper.

They could have run the photo, but changed the headline. Another action included burying the story in the middle of the newspaper and getting rid of the photo entirely.  Is there a right answer in this situation?

When Robert Budd Dwyer, former Pennsylvania politician, committed suicide at a public press conference in 1987 and WPXI in Pittsburgh aired the whole video, including his shot to the head with a pistol, their reputation was buried for 10 years.

A moral and ethical grey area for journalists exists in the world today.  The definition of right or wrong and black or white doesn’t bring a realistic situation to journalism.

A past professor taught me that journalism isn’t a business to make friends in. It is all about reporting the news and if you hurt someone in the process, sympathizing will help the problem, but at the end of the day you had a job to do.

In a class of about 18, a dynamic range of answers and alternatives to the New York Post headline were given and it made me think. Is there truly a right answer?

So I ask again, you have a man about to die from a running subway car and the photo is already taken and ready to print.

Do you run it?