AP’s poor photo choice
The Associated Press last week ran a story with the headline "Illinois prison guard gets 20 years for inmate beating death."
Right under the headline, AP used a photo – not of the convicted prison guard from the Western Illinois Correctional Center, but of the inmate -- a Black man who was viciously beaten to death while he was restrained and handcuffed.
And because numerous media organizations subscribe to AP, that same headline and image appeared on numerous websites. If all you looked at were the headline and image, you might assume the photo was of the correctional officer.
It was a poor choice, and raises an issue that’s been discussed among journalists for some time now – should mug shots be used in stories?
Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues. This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier and the students at student radio station The Dog: Jessica Martin, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and is news director of NEWS3-TV at WIU; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.