When domestic violence causes the death of one or both of the people in a relationship, the local media spotlight usually picks up the tragedy. But the reporting usually reveals little about the painful history that preceded the violence.
Gunfire. Children flee their school, looking for police, medics or parents. Instead, many run straight into the arms of reporters primed with questions. What should journalists know about the youngsters they try to interview at moments of crisis?
David Handschuh, staff photographer for the New York Daily News, had just returned to his office when his editor told him to go to Littleton, Colorado. Six hours after watching the event unfold on television, he was at Columbine, covering the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
One by one, students ran from Columbine High to escape the terror caused by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. As teen-agers wandered outside the building, some appeared dazed and confused — shocked by the killings of their teacher and friends. Others cried and wept, unable yet to comprehend the horror of what they or others had witnessed.
Photographs convey the emotion of a tragedy, but the images may serve to wound as well as to heal. Such was the case with news photos used after the Columbine shootings in April 1999. How do we judge pictures that take us closer to the grief and shock of people whose lives are directly touched by violence?