Last week, a photo ran in the Redmond Reporter (in the Feb. 7, 2020, issue) and on the websites of many of our Eastside publications showing an individual with a shirt that included offensive language and a divisively political message. Publishing a photo with that message was a mistake and is regrettable.
Our staff was not attempting to slip a message onto the front page of the Reporter. There was no intent or malice from the editorial staff. But still, there was a lapse in editorial oversight and the photo was printed.
The message and language runs counter to our editorial policies.
In news coverage we aim for accurate reporting of issues, not angry phrases. When we cover political division, we’re careful to focus on the nuances of political reporting to maintain our editorial credibility. That photo did not embody those newsroom efforts.
On our opinion page, we allow opinions. We do not, however, allow tactless and offensive language when expressing those opinions. That photo, based on our editorial policies, literally had no home in our publications because of the message on the shirt.
As we continue in our efforts to provide the highest quality professional journalism to our Eastside communities, we will need to be more mindful of what’s happening in a picture. The offensive shirt in the picture was not the subject of the picture, and for that reason it became background noise to all of the eyes that reviewed and approved the page for print. That’s unacceptable.
We can’t be blind to the background of the images we publish. And this, I believe, is not a mistake our present staff will make twice.