Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Would You Do if the Decision Were Yours

A campus group holds a rally to promote opposition to Prop 8, the California ballet initiative that would limit marriage to the union of a man and a woman/rescind the right of gays and lesbians to marry -- and just how the proposition is described is itself a matter of controversy.

At the rally two same-sex USF students stand on a platform before a large crowd and declare that they were married the morning of the rally at San Francisco City Hall and that they are so grateful that their families were there and are in the crowd right now to show their support. And then the two kiss.

Would you:

1) Take a photograph or ask your photographer to take a photograph?

2) If the photo is taken, no matter whether you took it or requested it, would you use the picture in a Foghorn story? If the choice is not yours, how would you advise the person who does make the choice? (You are respected by all.)

3) If you choose to use it or if the choice is made to use it, how would you choose to play it or advise how it might be played?



Lauren said...

1) I would take the photograph, and ask my photographer to capture the photo as well. Between the two of us were bound to get a good picture. A picture speaks a million words- the couple is there to show their love for one another, and this photo captures the essence of their argument. I would do the same thing if it were a straight couple just for the fact that it makes the story more powerful and real.

2) I personally would use it in the Foghorn. I mean, its reporting the news and them showing affection for one another is probably going to be somewhere in the story... it's a good photo. Why let it go to waste?

3) I think it's a newsworthy story and it's relevant since the photo is of two USF students (right?).

Sara said...

I've never had a journalism class in my life! Here's my answer anyway.

1) Take the photograph

2) This one is tricky, but you gave us a lot of info to work with. My first reaction is to use the picture only with permission from the couple. In a world where being gay still has consequences, it is best to make sure that each member of the kissing couple is amenable to being outed in the school paper.

If for some reason it was impossible to contact the couple, then in this instance I would go ahead and print it, but only because of some of the details of the situation. First, they kissed at a public event on campus, so it is possible that most of the student body already knows. Second, their families were present at the rally, which means that you're not in danger of outing anybody to his mama. All in all, you're probably not announcing anything that the couple doesn't want announced.

3) Play it any way that doesn't paint them as the "other."

Damn I miss school...

jaadatepe said...

I'd take it because it's newsworthy.

I'd also take it just because it's a wedding, and is thus an interesting subject to me, a person who has never taken wedding photos before.

I'd use it in the Foghorn. It's big news!

And finally, I'd write a story that states a simple fact: it's the business of individuals how they wish to live their life, and who they want to marry, say hi to, give money to, etc. I.e., if it doesn't hurt anyone else, it's your business if you want to do it. Gay marriage certainly hurts no one, unless one is so self-centered, irrational, and maladjusted that they decide to let the completely irrelevant actions of other perturb them.

That said, it is a pretty freaky image to me, but more power to them! Its freakiness is all the more reason to include it. People need to get used to it. The only reason it's freaky is because of that great big closet.

Land of the free, remember?

Legalize drugs, too. They're still putting users in jail, can you believe it? Ridiculous -- it's the land of the free!

Katie said...

Definitely take the photograph and publish it. Considering that we're referring to a San Francisco-based newspaper, I would imagine there'd be more outrage if it wasn't published than if it was.

It's credible news and might possibly ruffle a few feathers--both good things.

Benice said...

I would definitely use the photo. The Foghorn has done several stories about same sex couples and gay rights before and during my time when I worked there. Considering the situation and the fact that it's two USF students, it would be foolish not to use the picture. You have two USF students who were able to get married due to a monumental law. That's a big deal even beyond the world of USF. If the editor didn't use it, I would worry about their judgment making skills.

Laura said...

I would also take the photograph. The picture would be perfect as it represents the story, which I feel is newsworthy. I would use it in the Foghorn as well, being that this is a big and current topic and they are USF students.

Aileen said...

Personally, I would take the photograph. Not only because it involves USF students but because it's newsworthy enough due to the fact that we live in a city where gay marriage is a big topic right now. In addition, I feel that our community at USF is already aware of such happenings in the city so including a picture would only help bring out the message of the article more clearly.

caitlindee said...

1) Absolutely. The two men in the photograph are there because they want to publicize their partnership and their support for the No on Prop 8 campaign. Ethically, there's nothing wrong with that. As far as controversy goes, all the more power to put the picture up! You want it to be eye-catching and I don't think we need to worry about the homophobs who may find the photo offensive because we're only showing off what actually took place at the event-- it's factual.

2) Yes, I would use it in the Foghorn, but then again, I don't think the school should interfere with the paper just because it's a private institution. If someone was skeptical about submitting it, I would encourage them to publish it, but I'd also want them to be comfortable with that decision. So, it's ultimately up to their personal journalism ethics to do so.

3) I guess the ideal way to "play" it would be to use it as a snapshot from the event without incorporating any positive or negative input. Still, since the story will most likely focus on the No on Prop 8 "side," the journalist will already be interviewing individuals at the event won't support the ban, so the whole feel to the story will be a little left winged.

Jacqueline Williams said...

1) I would take the photograph
2) I would use it in the Foghorn, this picture is part of the story and if they can have a story written about the commitment they are making to each other and their names are being used in the story then whey shouldn't the picture be used as well.
3) This a very newsworthy story.

laura_p said...

1) Take the photo! Take lots of photos! You can never have too many photos.

2) I would definitely use the photo. I think if the people did not want their relationship to be public, they would not have announced their marriage and shown their affection in such a public display. Furthermore, any actions done in front of an audience are considered public events that are fair game for the newspaper.

3) I would stand by the choice and hope the couple was happy about it. Hopefully showing their affection would be a positive thing for the community to see and would not be taken negatively by anyone.

Audrey said...

I would take the photo and also have a photographer get shots as well. Its newsworthy and would make a great addition to my story. Its also a big event and there are bound to be many others who will take the same photo and use it if I don't. I would publish it only with the permission of the subjects, since I don't know their circumstances and they may have a reason for not wanting it in the paper. As they are standing in front of thousands of people, publicly declaring their dedication for one another, I can't seem to find a reason why they would have a problem with it but you never know.