As with any type of news, there is a line that separates accurate, informative news and graphic, insensitive news. It is up to the reporters, editors, and writers to decide when or if that line has been crossed. But how does one define what is acceptable or what is too graphic? Obviously, everyone has their own viewpoints and standards as to how news should be presented and it especially varies from culture to culture. What is appropriate in one country may be completely offensive in another. What may be viewed as heart-wrenching may also be viewed as disturbing. It is a constant battle to find the “happy medium” that provides both in-depth news and respect for the circumstances and parties involved.
This issue is a problem for not only pictures and videos, but for written work as well. Sometimes too much detail and personal information can come off as intrusive and disrespectful. Then again, if not enough information is provided, audiences complain about vague and unreliable news. As with visuals, written or spoken work must reflect what information is relevant and important and what information is trivial and unnecessary. Writers and speakers must take into consideration the circumstances and people involved. They must picture themselves in the situation and determine the consequences of how certain information and visuals would affect the parties involved. Would it provide comfort or would it provide grief? Would it be respectful to the parties involved or would it be too inquisitive? These are the questions that must be taken into great consideration.
Granted, as avid viewers and readers, we want the most out of our news. We expect accurate, in-depth, relevant information on the local, state, and international levels. We do not like surprises and secrets. We want every bit of information available, so that we can make our own opinions. We fail to realize, however, what this may mean for the integrity of the news and our respect for others around the world. We must remember that we are all humans, trying to maintain a balance in the world. News stories and organizations are no different, striving towards that “happy medium.”