Bert Heyman wanted the photos of his son Chris Heyman's 2004 gun death to have an impact on the national debate over gun laws. "He wants every part of his son's case to matter," Huffington Post reporter Jason Cherkis told Poynter in a phone call. "It's almost like organ donation in a way."
But Huffington Post published the photos of the crime scene in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., at 2:08 p.m. on Monday, April 15 -- less than an hour before two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon. So on Friday, the site republished the story, with updated details about, among other things, the U.S. Senate's April 18 vote on gun background checks.
The photos aren't easy to look at, and The Huffington Post's article precedes them with a boldface and italic warning: "Note: The images below are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers."
A previous piece of Cherkis' gun reporting illustrated gun deaths with an interactive map. This one is different. "We didn’t really approach it from the angle of wanting to make sure it’s shareable and viral," Huffington Post Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim, who edited the article, said. "This a much more personal experience for a reader."