Magnum’s Alessandra Sanguinetti on Editorial Responsibility

By Beacon Staff

New York based Magnum photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti asks the simple yet important question (in regards to the current conflict in Gaza), “Why would a newspaper choose to represent a conflict of these proportions with this romantic image?”

The question arose in regards to a Moises Samen photograph printed on the front page of the New York Times (here) in January 8, 2009, in which soldiers rest on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza during a three-hour cease-fire. Sanguinetti said, “On that same day, January 7th, while these soldiers rested, 30 corpses were found under the rubble of a bombed building in Gaza, among them four starving children next to their dead mothers.”

The question is an important one, not only in covering conflict, but with any kind of coverage. Read Sanguinetti’s full blog (here) and pay close attention to the comments. The origional New York Times story can be found (here). Was leading with the photo the right decision? Does it tell us something more about the war than showing the horrible? Does it lead to a misunderstanding of the situation? Does it work with the story and the headline “Israel Resumes Attack After Pause for Aid Delivery”? Or is it, as one commenter suggests, “pure speculation to imagine or suggest what the soldiers in the photo are thinking or why the newspaper decided to use this image. Mostly such speculation mainly shows our own prejudices.”