The Ethics of Graphic Photojournalism: an Analysis of Nora Ephron's Argument

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About this sample


Words: 548 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Words: 548|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Photojournalism is a critical component of modern-day journalism, providing visual representation to the stories covered by reporters. While the use of photographs allows for powerful storytelling that can evoke emotions from readers, it raises ethical dilemmas, especially in the case of graphic photos. The ethical considerations surrounding the use of graphic photographs are brought to light in Nora Ephron's "The Boston Photographs." This essay analyzes the article's argument regarding the ethics of graphic photojournalism.

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Ephron's article argues that the use of graphic photographs in journalism is justified, and the public has a right to see them. She uses the example of photographs published in the Boston Globe depicting a woman falling to her death from a burning building. The argument portrayed in the article suggests that the photograph has a profound effect on its audience, making them question their morals concerning the ethics of graphic photojournalism.

Ephron's argument is founded on the premise that the photographer's duty is to present the truth, even if that truth is graphic. The article argues that the Boston Globe's decision to publish graphic images is a necessary aspect of journalism that allows for an unvarnished and accurate depiction of events. Ephron presents her argument compellingly, suggesting that censorship of photojournalism is unlikely to be enforced and that it is only fair to give the public the full story regardless of its nature. Moreover, Ephron emphasizes how graphic photographs force a reaction from people and ultimately lead to more significant conversations about fundamental issues such as freedom of speech, personal liberties and press freedom.

However, Ephron's argument raises several ethical considerations that cannot be ignored. Photojournalism and graphic images often involve capturing private moments of distress and suffering, which can lead to a compromise of a person's dignity and leave them vulnerable to further harm. Ephron only takes into account the public's right to information but somehow disregards the individual or their families who might have suffered the loss.

Moreover, Ephron's reliance on the public's right to knowledge also questions the photographer's intentions behind taking the photograph. Are they taking it for public knowledge? Or for personal advantage? This leads to one of the primary ethical concerns of graphic photojournalism about whether the photographer is exploiting someone else's pain for their journalistic reputation. Ephron's argument does not consider the possibility that some photographers might manipulate images to mislead or create narratives that are not entirely accurate.

Another ethical consideration raised by Ephron's article is that of the vulnerability of the audience members who view the graphic photographs. The impact of graphic images on viewers cannot be overlooked, with long-lasting emotional effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression. The ethical implications of exposing vulnerable people to graphic images can not be overlooked.

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In conclusion, Ephron's article highlights the ethical dilemmas that surround graphic photojournalism. Though she suggests that the use of graphic photographs is justifiable, through her argument's various premises - including relying solely on the public's right to information, disregarding the dignity of affected individuals and their families and their right to privacy - she overlooks several ethical concerns. To resolve the ethical concerns surrounding photojournalism's use of graphic images, photographers, journalists, and media outlets need to discover more ethical and morally sound practices that respect everyone's dignity and privacy while fulfilling the public's right to information.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Ethics of Graphic Photojournalism: An Analysis of Nora Ephron’s Argument. (2024, March 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“The Ethics of Graphic Photojournalism: An Analysis of Nora Ephron’s Argument.” GradesFixer, 07 Mar. 2024,
The Ethics of Graphic Photojournalism: An Analysis of Nora Ephron’s Argument. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
The Ethics of Graphic Photojournalism: An Analysis of Nora Ephron’s Argument [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 07 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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