Gardner Flanigan: Apology needed
June 6, 2013
As I picked up the Steamboat Today on Tuesday morning, I was instantly disappointed at the lack of judgment and compassion your editors chose with their need to show the picture of children overcome with grief at Asher's memorial. You had such an opportunity to share a visual image of our community coming together to celebrate the life of a remarkable child.
I am sure in some circles there will be a discussion of good photo journalism — perhaps the Pilot & Today finally caught the moment of grief that all in our community have shared this past week — but I would disagree. Good photo journalism should be aligned with good journalism. And if anyone read the article that Tom Ross wrote (Well written, Tom. Thank you.) you could correctly conclude that the photo and the article were two entirely different stories, and I simply do not believe that is good journalism.
I don't know where this decision was made, but it was a poor decision. This isn't New York City or Boston or London. This is Steamboat Springs. And this is a free newspaper. You had the singular opportunity to help our community make sense of a senseless event, and you chose to sensationalize a small moment of an otherwise uplifting celebration of Asher's life at the expense of the children who knew and loved him best.
I not only believe you owe Mike, John and his sons an apology, I believe you owe our community an apology for overstepping the boundary of respectful and decent journalism.