Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reporter involvement with subjects

Hello everyone,

Sorry this took a while to get up, I lost the invite for the blog post. Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful and amazing break with your loved ones.

To do a quick recap of my presentation, I talked about reporter involvement in subjects, specifically the case of Kevin Carter, a South African photojournalist who took a controversial photograph during the 1993 famine in Sudan. Carter, and colleague Joao Silva had only been on the ground for 30 minutes when Carter heard a whimpering coming from a nearby clearing. Upon investigation he discovered a young girl in critical condition. She was so weak she had lost control of her legs, and was attempting to crawl to the nearby village, where a food center had been set up to feed victims of the famine. A vulture landed behind her, and Carter instinctively snapped a few frames of the girl. However, rather than helping her, Carter instead waited for 20 minutes and then chased the vulture off, leaving the girl. He sat under a tree and cried. His reason for not having helped the girl was because photographers in the region at the time were not supposed to touch famine victims, for fear of spreading disease. The photograph won Carter the Pulitzer Prize, but he took a barrage of criticism in the wake of the award. Sadly, the guilt of having taken the photograph, as well as the backlash he received for it was too much for Carter. In June of 1994 a depressed Carter committed suicide in his car.

Carter was someone who had seen a lot of violence and gore. He previously had covered the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and had photographed many things there from shootings, to public executions. He had suffered from depression in the past.

A few questions to consider:

Do you think that Carter should have helped the child? Or do you think that his job was to merely cover, but not actively help victims of the famine? Another thing to think about was that the girl he photographed was one of hundreds of other people in similar situations Carter encountered that day.

How involved should journalists be with their subjects?

Do you think we have an obligation to be journalists first? Or do you think that people are more important than pictures or stories?

This is just some food for thought for you guys. I hope you enjoyed my presentation.



1 comment:

  1. I believe that Carter did the right thing. In that situation, the massive amount of suffering due to the famine needed to be conveyed to the world and he was supposed to show the gravity of the situation. I can certainly see the opposing point of view, but where do we draw the line as journalists? We are supposed to remain as separate from our subjects as much as possible and I think Carter must have been overwhelmed and torn emotionally during the intensity of that moment.