Doctored Boston Photo: Why Did the NY Daily News Alter The Gory Photo?

By Philip Ross on April 17, 2013 5:46 PM EDT

doctored boston photo
This is the image that ran on the front page of The New York Daily News' on Tuesday. The image was altered to cover up the broken leg of the woman lying down. (Photo: New York Daily News)

The doctored Boston photo used by The New York Daily News on the front page of its paper on Tuesday highlights a conundrum many news outlets face in the event of a tragic event: Some images that come out of a horrendous incident are too grisly for print. But should they be manipulated?

Capital reports that the photograph that the New York Daily News ran was shot by John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe. It shows a woman lying next to a pool of blood on the sidewalk near the marathon's finish line. In the original image, above and top, the woman's leg is severely damaged with what looks like a gaping hole below her knee.   

Like Us on Facebook

In the doctored Boston photo used by the New York Daily News, above and bottom, the woman's leg is intact.

Why did the Daily News alter the gory photo? Should it have doctored the image?  

'Out Of Sensitivity'  

Charles Apple, editor at the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif., was the first person to draw attention to the doctored Boston photo in one of his blog posts.

"Looks to me like somebody did a little doctoring of that photo to remove a bit of gore," he wrote in a post, in which he included both the original image and the doctored one, and a close-up of the manipulated portion of the photo. According to Apple, one of his followers of his blog pointed out the doctored image to him.

The National Press Photographers Association, an organization based in North Carolina that provides resources for photojournalists, includes a Code Of Ethics on its website for photographers who work in media.  

"Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context," it reads. "Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects."

Capital reached out to the New York Daily News for comment.

"The Daily News edited that photo out of sensitivity to the victims, the families and the survivors," Ken Frydman, a spokesperson for the newspaper, told Capital. "There were far more gory photos that the paper chose not to run, and frankly I think the rest of the media should have been as sensitive as the Daily News."

You can see the original image here.

Making Of An Iconic Image

The Daily Mail reports that the woman in the foreground of the doctored Boston photo is 31-year-old Nicole Gross, a fitness instructor and triathlete from North Carolina who was at the Boston Marathon to watch her mother compete. She sustained multiple injuries in the blast, including a broken leg, fractured ankle and a severed Achilles' tendon, according to The Daily Mail.

News agencies around the world have used the image of Gross, propelling her into the spotlight as a kind of fateful icon of the Boston Marathon bombing. Her expression, marked by complete disorientation and shock, is emblematic of the nation's initial response to Monday's tragic event.

Gross' sister, 29-year-old Erica Brannock, also suffered serious injuries during the explosion, and had her leg amputated. Both Gross and Brannock are reportedly recovering in one of Boston's hospitals.

Another iconic photo circulating after Monday's bombing shows a young man, identified as Jeff Bauman, Jr., being taken away from the bloody scene in a wheelchair. The image, shot by Charles Krupa for AP, shows a hoary-faced Bauman being wheeled away. Most of his leg is missing, with just a bone protruding from skin that looks like dirty, ripped canvas.

Many news outlets cropped the photo before running it, but some, like BuzzFeed and The Atlantic, showed the photo in its entirety -- although The Atlantic chose to blur out Bauman's face.

"We agree that this image is difficult to look at but believe that it is also a true depiction of the terrible nature of this story," Natalie Raabe, the communications director at The Atlantic, told the New York Observer.

The New York Observer points out that other publications, like The New York Times, did not run the gruesome image of Bauman.

"I'm not opposed to showing blood and, on rare occasions, a dismemberment, if it's integral to telling a story," James Estrin, a senior photographer at the Times, told the Observer. "I'm not sure the graphicness advances the story."

Read more:

Pressure Cooker Bombs Photos: FBI Release Images Of Boston Marathon Explosion Device

Boston Marathon Explosion Injuries: What Are Victims Being Treated For?

Carlos Arredondo: Meet Boston Marathon Explosions' Cowboy Hat Hero [VIDEO]

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)