‘New York Daily News’ Criticized for Doctoring Photo of Bombing Victim’s Gruesome Leg Wound — Should They Be?

Editor’s note: some of the images in this post show graphic wounds. 

Photos coming in the wake of the violent bombing of the Boston Marathon Monday were graphic, showing not only a section of the town ripped apart but more grisly images of wounded victims. Many showed blood and some revealed bones and missing limbs. The situation raised ethical questions of what photos should be included by media organizations.

The New York Daily News decided to run a front page photo of one of the more gruesome injuries — except it doctored the photo.

The photo taken by John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe shows a woman lying in a pool of blood, her hand brought to her forehead in pain as she is being helped by another. If you look closely, the woman appears to have part of her leg missing with her shoe lying nearby. The rescuer seems to be applying a tourniquet above the leg to try and stifle some of the bleeding.

Here’s a look at the original photo:

(Photo: John Tlumacki/Boston Globe via Boston Big Picture Blog)

Charles Apple, an editor with the Orange County Register, called out the apparent altering of the photo, which shows the second leg photoshopped in, on the American Copy Editor’s Society’s blog. He credited Andy Neumann, a sports designer with the Louisville Design Studio, for first noticing it.

Here’s the doctored photo:

Front page of the New York Daily News showing the edited photo. (Image via Charles Apple/Copydesk.org)

As Apple put it in his post, “If you can’t stomach the gore, don’t run the photo. Period.”

Capital New York reported Daily News spokesman Ken Frydman saying the newspaper decided to edit the “photo out of sensitivity to the victims, the families and the survivors.”

“There were far more gory photos that the paper chose not to run, and frankly I think the rest of the media should have been as sensitive as the Daily News,” Frydman continued.

According to the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics, any editing “should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.”

TheBlaze did blur a photo earlier in the week of a similar gruesome leg injury (but did not Photoshop) after initially publishing an unaltered version.

This story was updated to correct that it should be “grisly” not “grizzly.”

(H/T: Yahoo! News)