Why the Tulsa World published graphic front-page image of shooting suspect

Tulsa World/View

The Tulsa World published a front-page photograph Thursday of a shooting suspect lying face-down and bleeding following a shooting at the Tulsa County Court House. The image was captured by John Fancher, an employee of Tulsa City-County Library, who happened to have his camera with him at work and shot gripping photos of suspect Andrew Joseph Dennehy through the library's window.

"The decision to publish a photo that some may view as offensive or graphic was not taken lightly," Tulsa World Photo Editor Christopher Smith writes on the paper's photography blog. "While the situation is unfortunate, no matter how you look at it, the gravity of the situation would be difficult to communicate without the images."

The World paid the library to publish the images, Web Editor Jason Collington confirmed via email. In this video about Fancher, he describes his usual job as being "Buddy Bookworm's best friend" and says he prefers to photograph nature scenes.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the World was paying Fancher (not the library) for the photos.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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