I just don’t know

As a designer, I am always conscious of the ‘less is more’ rule and even more conscious of the implications of imagery and it’s appropriate use.

Tragically last night six students and their teacher were swept away in a storm surge torrent down a small creek. A most tragic event which will touch many many people and one which will afford a lot of media attention.

I am always uncomfortable with many of the images that the media uses for articles. In NZ we have two major competing news organisations which both operate major online versions of their companies. This morning both have equally awkward images as lead photos for their stories.

This was from the Herald web site. Of the two images I possibly have greatest difficulty with this one. We know someone has died, we know they come back in body bags, we have seen enough body bags to know this image in our mind. The media will argue that it is in the public image to see this, I would argue the above, we know enough of these events to picture someone’s poor child coming out of the bush in a body bag. We are very desensitised to these images these days, we know them, and this is someone’s child that could possibly be afforded a little more dignity.

As for the other news organisation, Stuff choose to run an image of a clearly distressed student of the school, possibly a friend, classmate etc. Although not immediately as shocking, I find this equally as invasive, as this is a very private moment for that child and that school. As much as we claim national tragedies (and it’s nice to know we share this grief), this is still a private moment.

I would have preferred a different option on both occasions.

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