Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: April 25, 2007

Photo was inappropriate

I genuinely believe that The Mirror does a great job in reporting the Federal Way news.

The Saturday April 21 paper’s front page is a particular masterpiece of layout, photos and articles. Having said this, I do not agree with your editorial and your defense of placing the photo of a delusional and out-of-control woman on the front page of the April 14 paper.

Yes, the situation was bizarre and the photo captured that, but in today’s world, a photo such as this not only reaches the thousands of people that your paper influences, but also potentially millions through the Internet.

Every one of us who prefer the dark side of the news you referred to in your editorial may have gotten at least a snicker out of the photo, but did this poor woman deserve such exploitation? She had not murdered anybody; she had not even robbed one of our local banks. I do not believe it was known when reported whether her predicament was caused by self-inflicted drug use or something she absolutely had no control over.

My point is this: Your paper has the right to report the dark side of the news; however, your paper and your publisher also have a responsibility to recognize when such news is inappropriate.

Your decision to print a large photo of this woman in distress, with her facial features fully shown so that anyone knowing her would recognize her, was wrong.

Your stated reason for this regarding the public’s preference for witnessing the darker moments of reality, quite simply, is no excuse.

Marilyn J. Kellogg, Federal Way

Shame on The Mirror

Count me among your readers who found the front page photo in your April 14 edition “tasteless and unworthy.”

If the event was worthy of coverage, a simple article would have sufficed. By publishing a photo of the woman’s hooded face, during the the most vulnerable moments of her life, you reduced the Federal Way Mirror to a tawdry tabloid rather than a respected community newspaper.

I find it troubling that your staff selected a front page photo that highlighted the face and stripped a community member of her dignity. Surely there were other photos that would have documented the moment, but protected the woman’s identity.

Was the cause of the woman’s behavior an adverse reaction to medication, evidence of mental illness, or some other factor? Your paper didn’t care. And shame on you for suggesting in your April 21 editorial that “value is measured by subjectivity, just like the public’s preferences for witnessing the darker moments of reality.”

The Mirror published the photo hoping an anonymous tortured face would sell more newspapers. You placed the photo on the front page, above the fold, so it would capture people’s attention. Do you disagree?

Had the woman been the mother, sister, spouse or close friend of your publisher, editor, reporter or photographer, the photo would never have been published on the front page or anywhere else.

In this case, you preyed on a defenseless face. Shame on you for suggesting otherwise.

Joe Gotchy, Auburn (Star Lake/Valhalla)

Newspaper should admit its mistakes

Double whammy! Not only did you debase an unbalanced woman with your overblown coverage, but when called on the carpet by the community, you chose to kick the woman when she was down by describing in great detail her disorderly conduct during the incident (Mirror editorial, April 21).

This, you say in the pablum you write in your defense, is news the community needs to see. I believe the community needs a newspaper staff that can be honest enough to admit it made a mistake and vow to be more diligent in the future.

Rita Keough, Federal Way

Please run for school board again, Evelyn

To the voters in Federal Way School District,

Wait until Evelyn Castellar joins the school board race before you post local election info on your fridge, as Bob Roegner’s column suggests (April 18).

Evelyn, please announce that you will run for re-election. The first four years are always a learning experience.

What matters is you listen to and act upon the concerns of parents in our district.

Let’s “git-R-done.”

Nancy Papineau, Federal Way

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