On Thursday, the editorial writers at The Boston Globe tested out if the pen is mightier than the sword, or in this case, assault weapon. The front page was an editorial titled, "Make It Stop," and below the fold, they depicted the damage a bullet causes when entering the body. The paper got national attention for the cover, with #MakeItStop trending on Twitter and coverage on various morning shows. But is it time to go one step further, and publish photos of the victims? Northeastern School Of Journalism Director Jonathan Kaufman and The Boston Globe Photographer Dina Rudick (@dinarudick) joined Jim to discuss.

Kaufman said that the Globe is trying to become part of the conversation on gun violence. "If they want to get their point of view across, this is how they do it," he said. He explained that in the past, editorial pages used to be serious and somber. However, recently papers like the Globe and the New York Times, have used the editorial section of the paper to be creative, and interactive. #MakeItStop tweets flooded Twitter, adding to the national debate and conversation on guns.

In the aftermath of mass shootings, photos of the carnage are left out of the media. Rudick said that the United States' media is "very queazy" about seeing blood and bodies on our screens and papers. She argued that "we need to think about the bigger picture." And added that this is more than gun violence and people getting shot, this is the result of policy decisions. She said that for "things of utmost social significance," photos should be released. She used the example of the Syrian toddler, washed on shore, as an image that is socially significant and attached to a larger issue. However, in the recent case of a 2-year-old drowned at Disney, she said the photo should not be released because there is no relation to that situation to a larger social concern. 

Kaufman also agreed that photos should be released, “I think one of the challenges for journalists is to say, ‘what are the standards that we as journalists can use in situations like this to show the right powerful picture?’” He said that the power of photography is that it makes you stop and look at one image. The striking image helps to cut through the noise of an often flooded news cycle. Rudick added that powerful pictures of the truth change the conversation.

However, Rudick was cautious about publishing photos of the Orlando victims without the consent of the families.

“Let’s say we went ahead and published graphic pictures of the victims in the Orlando massacre. I don’t think we should find pictures and put them out there. I think the right way to do it is, get the pictures and get the families’ sign-off.”

Journalists have to weigh the significance and think about what is the greatest good. 

In response to Jim’s point about consumers of media and news wanting a sanitized version of the news, Kaufman responded by saying, “The role of the news, in a situation like this, whether you’re the Globe writing an editorial or you’re a journalist trying to cover it, is to find the striking image... you need to cut through the noise, and cut through the people’s shutdown, and say you need to look at this photo because it can change how you look at the world.” Rudick closed by saying, “It’s not about being sensational, it’s about changing the conversation.”