Pressing issues don’t usually present themselves for easy visual representation other than millions of tiny black words on thin gray paper. Finding the right image takes up at least thousand of those words. Not only does it emit words of its own, hidden in the blend of colors, if it’s good, the image brings to voice words of those who see it.
In November 2009, two girls were hit by car as they crossed the intersection of Broadway and Burr. This wasn’t the first time lives were put at risk crossing this exact street and, this time, it attracted concern. (See “Pedestrian Peril” in the December 2009 issue of the Logos for the full story and Page 1 this issue for an update.)
At the time of the accident, former Logos Photo Editor Nick Baker was working on a satirical piece for his independent study as an English major with a minor in photography. Nick used manipulated and staged photos to illustrate his tale. One of those photos, the photo reprinted above, appeared on the Front Page of the December 2009 issue in order to illustrate the severity of the dangerous intersection.
The nature of the illustration probably generated the most discussion of any Logos issue in the past four years, and I am proud. Some comments commend our decision. Some say we are insensitive. In relation to the passing of pharmacy student Michael Gres last September, we did consider the sensitivity of the subject but felt it could not prevent us from reporting current news.
Some refused to support the paper. Admissions, for example, declined to hand out the issue at a Campus Visit Day. To the campus I say this: The decision to print this photo illustration was made by an entire staff, consequences are considered, and a decision was made to draw readers to news. Controversy is never the goal of journalism. Yes, I do admit, the photo illustration is graphic. But you looked. And then you read. And now you know.
E-mail Melissa Hernandez here.