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VIEWPOINT: What would you decide?

Sandusky Register Staff • Aug 25, 2011 at 8:00 AM

A story published on Sunday left out what some in the newsroom called a key piece of information.

Bryan Jones was asleep on a couch in the living room of his parents’ home -- with a shotgun resting in his lap -- on July 11, 2010, when two Sandusky County deputies shot and killed him after a 20-minute standoff. Jones awoke to the terrifying light and sound of a flash bang grenade detonated by the deputies and was killed moments later, hit with five rounds.

An autopsy photo obtained by the Register showed that Jones’ arm was blown off when the two officers fired a total of 14 at him, nine of which were high velocity ammunition designed to do the maximum amount of physical damage when it hits a target.

Some members of the Register news team advocated that the newspaper should publish the autopsy photos online, with an explicit warning for readers about graphic content of the photos before they click to see the image.

Those in favor of the publish-with-warning approach said the photo best illustrated the death of Bryan Jones, and the indiginity of it.

Others argued that publishing the photo online – even with a warning – was offensive and sensationalistic, or at least might be viewed that way by some.

It’s an age-old question in every newsroom. Ultimately, in this instance, the editors chose not to publish the Jones' photo.

But the editors of Rolling Stone magazine, when faced with a similar decision, opted to publish graphic photos in print for its Sept. 1 edition, using two images that show the grisly deaths of three men at the hands of Mexican drug lords.

The question likely will surface again in the Register newsroom, and we want to know what you think.

Vote in the SanduskyRegister.com poll here. See the original online story here.

The above is an editorial Viewpoint published in Thursday's Register. The opinions of the Register Editoral Board, local columnists and readers are published six days a week on the Register's editorial page.

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