The New York Daily News found itself in hot water on Wednesday after news broke that the paper had used a doctored photo of a Boston Marathon bombing victim as its front page image for Tuesday’s paper. The doctored Boston photo was reportedly edited to remove gore.
On Tuesday, the New York Daily News ran a bloody image of a Boston Marathon bombing sitting on the ground surrounded by blood. In the background of the image, another woman was lying on the ground receiving medical attention. In the New York Daily News' doctored Boston photo, the woman was not visibly wounded.
Soon after the New York Daily News ran with the image, Charles Apple of the American Copy Editors Society wrote in a blog post that the Daily News had ran a doctored photo. Apple noticed that the Boston Globe and several other media outlets had ran with the same photo of Boston victims, but there were some subtle differences between the two.
In the original photo, the woman in the background had a large open wound on her leg, however, in the Daily News' doctored Boston photo, the woman’s pant leg completely covered up the gory wound. Otherwise, the images are exactly the same, showing that the Daily News almost certainly doctored the Boston photo in order to remove some gore for its front page image.
“Looks to me like somebody did a little doctoring of that photo to remove a bit of gore. If you can’t stomach the gore, don’t run the photo. Period,” Apple wrote in the blog post.
On Wednesday, the New York Daily News responded to controversy surrounding its doctored Boston photo, stating that the paper manipulated the image in a deliberate effort to spare readers the sight of gore.
"The Daily News edited that photo out of sensitivity to the victims, the families and the survivors," Daily News spokesman Ken Frydman told Capital New York in a statement. "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."
While the New York Daily News claims that the doctored Boston photo was a proper response to the issue, typically, journalist codes of ethics claim that photographers should never manipulate images. For example, the National Press Photographers Association ethics code states that reporters should never misleadingly doctor photos.
“Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context," the ethics code reads. "Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects."