Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Alessandra Sanguinetti On Editorial Responsibility

Over at the Magnum Blog, Alessandra Sanguinetti opened up a timely discussion on editorial responsibility.  Citing an image that recently appeared on the front page of the New York Times in which a group of Israeli soldiers sit leisurely in a rustic landscape, Sanguinetti questions the appropriateness (or usefulness perhaps) of a such benign image in light of the horrendous situation currently plaguing Gaza.  She explains:

"Israel has banned all foreign press from entering Gaza, but surely there must be images that are more relevant to the situation, as can be seen inside the paper.

Maybe I'm being picky, but knowing the power an image on the front page can have on the perception of events, I'd like to open a discussion on editorial responsibility: Why would a newspaper choose to represent a conflict of these proportions with this romantic image?"

Sanguinetti raises an important question regarding the functionality of editorial processes at major news organizations like the New York Times. There is an underlying lack of political engagement and accountability present in decisions to publish images that put forth a bucolic vision of tremendous suffering. It has become increasingly apparent that acquiring an accurate sense of the gravity of world events has become harder, harder to obtain.

What do you think? I'd love to hear people what all of you out there think about this issue of editorial responsibility.

Soldiers rested on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza during the three-hour cease-fire on Wednesday

© Moises Saman for The New York Times