Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Little Sack of Horrors

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Little Sack of Horrors

Article excerpt



The images were hard to miss on the Sept. 15 front page of The Detroit Free Press. At the top, 7-month-old Miracle Jackson's tiny smile peered out at the camera with the innocent look only an infant could muster. Directly below, however, a much larger, much more gruesome photo appeared -- a medical examiner holding a plastic bag that contained Miracle's murdered body. It looked like someone returning from the 7- Eleven with a loaf of bread.

As you might expect, many readers (the photo also appeared on the Web) were not pleased. And they let the paper know it. Executive Editor Robert McGruder had to pen a Page One letter to readers defending use of the photo.

"The picture was a shock to some," he told E&P. "Some people said the way [the body] looked in the bag dehumanized it."

Nearly 200 phone calls, e-mails and letters were directed to Free Press editors, ranging from one that called use of the photo a "disgusting lack of ethics" to another saying it reduced the baby to "kitchen trash. …

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