January 9, 2015

We’ve heard a lot about the U.S. news organizations that aren’t running political cartoons or covers from Charlie Hebdo depicting the Prophet Muhammad. But some news organizations are running them. Here are a few, and why:


Julia Turner, editor-in-chief, via email:

Our role is to help our readers understand news as it breaks. Part of what American readers in particular wanted to understand today is what sort of magazine Charlie Hebdo is and what sort of work it publishes, and so we chose to feature some of its controversial work as part of our coverage. We ran the images with context on when they were published and what the response was, all of which was useful for readers seeking to comprehend this story. We also opted not to obscure images of the work that appeared on posters and magazine covers in news photos of events today in Paris—again, because our readers want an unobscured view of what’s going on.

The Washington Post

Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor of The Washington Post, spoke with Erik Wemple about why a Hebdo cover ran in the opinion section:

“I think seeing the cover will help readers understand what this is all about.”

The Dallas Morning News

The paper ran some of the covers in print on Friday. Viewpoints and points editor Mike Drago wrote about why:

Yes. More speech. That’s why we’ll run those covers — offensive though they might be to some — in tomorrow’s newspaper. It is a small gesture as compared with the courage of those who died yesterday in Paris, who continued publishing even after threats and firebombing. They had armed security in the office. But as the Washington Post Editorial Board noted this morning, the Western media needs to stand up in the face of violence.

As many have said, free speech ain’t free.

The Huffington Post:

Via email from a company spokesperson:

The Huffington Post published the images because they are newsworthy and relevant to this tragic event. It’s our job to present all important facets of the story to our readers.

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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