5 questions to ask before publishing graphic images

As scenes of the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine make the news and flash across social media, here’s something to revisit from Poynter’s Kenny Irby. Last month, Irby wrote a piece with some advice on showing graphic images.

There will be obvious questions about showing death and trauma. Should you show the faces and identify the dead? Where should those images be published, if at all? What are the alternatives? How many photographs should be used and how long should they remain on the screen or be posted?

Different organizations make different decisions, Irby wrote. Here are five tips from that piece.

Whenever journalists are faced with covering conflicts and violence, it helps to consider your ethical compass:

  • What is my journalistic purpose?
  • What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider?
  • What are my ethical concerns?
  • Who is the audience — and who are the stakeholders affected by my decision?
  • What are my alternatives?

Here are some courses from Poynter’s News University that deal with related issues:

– Grappling with Graphic Images

– Don’t Get Fooled Again: Best Practices for Online Verification
– Getting It Right: Accuracy and Verification in the Digital Age (Use this code, 14JET100, to enroll in either of these NewsU courses for free.)

– Trauma Awareness: What Every Journalist Needs to Know

The following Webinars are also available for free replays:

How to Keep Misinformation from Spreading

–The New Ethics of Journalism: A Guide for the 21st Century

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