Beyond the pale?
  • Beyond the pale?

And would you have run it like this?

The photo is the one taken December 3 of Ki-Suck Han an instant before a subway train struck and killed him in New York City. A drifter had pushed him onto the track, and in the few seconds before the train arrived no one stepped forward to try to lift him back onto the platform.

R. Umar Abbasi, a freelance photographer, took the picture—shooting as he ran toward the oncoming train, he said, hoping the flashes would alert the engineer—and the New York Post gave it the royal treatment. “Despicable,” said a tweet collected by BuzzFeed. “Staggeringly tasteless,” said another tweet. “Sickening,” said a third.

In the eyes of journalists, the front page raised fundamental questions about journalistic ethics—the photographer’s and the newspaper’s. If you were a photo editor would you have run the photo? asked New York journalist Ken Sweet on Mizzoumafia, a Listserv shared by journalism graduates of the University of Missouri. And even more to the point, if you were a photographer on the scene “and you had the chance to possibly stop that tragedy from happening, would you? Or, if you knew it was hopeless—or possibly hopeless, what would you have done?”

“Not just the photographer, but where were the other people on the platform?” someone responded. “The photo is newsworthy, but I don’t think it could have been run in good conscience given that no one was helping the man up from the subway.”