Frontier Former Editor

September 13, 2006

A phone call

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frontier Former Editor @ 6:03 pm

At 5:15 p.m. today, I got a phone call from the family of an 18-year old girl who died in a car collision Monday.
I’d written the story bare-bones from the state trooper’s account, and jumped the story to an inside page with a black-and-white photo of the two cars – no blood or bodies; just the wreckage.
At the time, I told myself it was newsworthy and important to tell that someone died in a type of collision all too frequent in this area – driver runs off side of road, overcorrects and runs into obstacle/oncoming vehicle/off other side of road. One of my neighbors lost her daughter in a similar accident last month, and I hold this hope that someone might get the message from reading and seeing the danger.
For five minutes, two family members cursed me, accused me of upsetting the girl’s mother, and promised that they would be there to take photos when my child gets in a car accident.
The cursing progressed. I said that I couldn’t continue the conversation if that’s how it was going to continue. I knew from how things were going that there wasn’t a thing I could say that even would begin to address their concerns. They got more upset. Finally I told them that I couldn’t argue with them and that I would have to hang up.
I still think I did the right thing in running the photo. I don’t feel particularly satisfied or smug about it, and I didn’t when I laid out the page.
I don’t expect sympathy or agreement. If you have an opinion, feel free to say what you think.

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