Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Camera in Hand

Trey Smith

Some of the journalists in the vicinity of the explosions at the Boston Marathon yesterday are being criticized for doing their jobs. Whether the journalist utilized pen and paper, cameras or audio equipment, many have come under fire for snapping pictures of the carnage or interviewing bystanders and not rushing to the aid of victims. It is a tough position to be in and, in my opinion, there is no one right or wrong answer.

On the one hand, for the sake of the ongoing investigation AND history, photojournalists, in particular, record what is taking place before, during and after a tragic event like this. Their still photos and video footage can make a real difference in trying to track down whoever is responsible for this crime. In addition, as memories fade, it is their pictures and footage that keeps this piece of infamous history alive. It is far easier for the public to remember such atrocities when there are pictures of record.

On the other hand, regardless of a person's profession, we each have a responsibility to each other. I certainly can understand how a victim writhing in pain might feel animosity toward someone who, instead of providing aid and comfort, stood over them snapping pictures.

Here's the way I look at it. If there are sufficient first responders available to see to the dying and wounded, I have no problem with a journalist recording the action as it takes place. If there are not sufficient others to aid the victims, then the journalist should cease being a journalist simply to become one human being aiding another.

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