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  • Last modified 3533 days ago (March 18, 2009)

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It's a fine line

Sometimes there’s a fine line between news and too much information. It’s a tough call for an editor to make.

Take for instance a recent photograph on the front page of a regional newspaper. It showed a dog caught in an animal trap. The photo was graphic, showing gruesome details of the dog’s death. The editor was making a point — this was a horrible way for a dog to die, which could have been prevented. Was that photo necessary in all of its graphic detail? Maybe.

Typically, a photograph can tell a story better than words.

It is interesting that 75 to 100 years ago, it was common to pick-up a newspaper and find blood and guts in front page photos.

None of us probably remembers first-hand but I remember as a child seeing old posters in museums of fugitives being hanged. Remember the now-famous photographs of the James Brothers when they were killed by authorities? Or the Valentine’s Day Massacre? Graphic photographs are not anything new and continue to be controversial.

Sometimes a newspaper is guilty of sensationalizing a tragedy.

Those of us making these decisions will continue to strive to make the best ones we can.

*****

There is an interesting e-mail making the rounds, written by a man supposedly from Arizona. My sister in Hays sent it to me.

The letter was addressed to President Obama. Here is part of it: “Thank you for helping my neighbors with their mortgage payments. You know the ones down the street who in good times refinanced their house several times, and bought SUVs, ATVs, RVs, a pool, a big screen TV, two Wave Runners, and a Harley. But I was wondering, since I am paying my mortgage and theirs, could you arrange for me to borrow the Harley now and then?”

Legislators have had convincing arguments for supporting bailouts, particularly of large corporations. We still have not been told where exactly all of these trillions of dollars are coming. We know the answer — they’ll come from us in the form of taxes. But I want to hear a legislator say that so I can say, “We’re already taxed to death. You think there are problems now, wait until more businesses close and more people need financial assistance.” Now that is going to be trouble.

*****

My better half and I were driving in rural Marion County, trying to get photos of the elusive flock of bald eagles. In recent years, there have been sightings in Marion County by the county lake and reservoir. We have been keeping an eye on a huge nest in a hedgerow on the east side of Sunflower Road, south of Marion. On Sunday we tried to get as close as we could to the nest which has to be an eagle’s nest because of its size.

So, we’re still looking for the shy predators. If anyone has seen these birds on a regular basis, please let me know. I’m also open for suggestions.

— susan berg

Last modified March 18, 2009

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