The New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan explained why the Times left a photo up despite complaints.
Sullivan earlier reported, as iMediaEthics wrote over the weekend, that the photo, which showed a Palestinian woman whose son killed an Israeli soldier, was a bad call as the main image for a story on the soldier’s killing. She reported that Times foreign editor Joseph Kahn and assistant managing editor for photography Michele McNally both said the photo was not a good choice.
iMediaEthics wrote to Sullivan Friday asking why the photo remained on the website given those admissions. Sullivan declined to comment on our question, e-mailing us that “It’s not my practice to comment for publication, on specific issues, other than in my blog posts and columns.”
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On Monday, however, Sullivan blogged about the photo and complaints about the photo still being published. Times associate managing editor for standards Philip B. Corbett explained why the Times left the photo is publishd online. He also addressed accusations that the Times is biased.
Corbett stated that if the Times were to remove the photo it would be changing the Times’ archive, and that such unpublishing is against the Times’ policy. Corbett wrote:
“My colleagues and I frequently receive requests to alter or delete published material from our archive, for a wide range of reasons. We explain that our policy is not to do so. Other than for factual errors, if we routinely went back into a story published days, weeks or years earlier – rewriting, re-editing, adding or deleting photos or other elements – pretty soon our archive would cease to be an archive at all.”