'Time' Cover of Terrified Child From Boston Marathon Is Completely Tasteless

Rant 17

cameraTime Magazine is famous for their provocative photos, but this week, the cover is that of a bloodied 3-year-old, crying in terror (and what appears to be pain) after the horrific Boston Marathon bombings. It may be prize winning, moving journalism, a la Nick Ut’s horrific photo of the naked 9-year-old Vietnamese girl running from the napalm attack on her village or the 1943 shot of a young boy in the Warsaw Ghetto, but does that make it right?

As a mom I say no. Hell no. Whatever the journalistic power this may have, the private anguish isn't worth the price. This child's photo maybe could have been used inside the book, but with so many powerful photos coming out of those initial moments after the blast, why was this one chosen?

I'll tell you why. It's this right here. It's this discussion. Time knows print is dying and they will do anything in their power to get attention. So here I am giving it to them. But mostly it's to say shame on them.

Good photo journalism tells a story and there is a story here. The anguish on this tot's face is moving. But there were so very many moving photos to come out of that day. There were so many editorial choices to be made. And yet this is the one they made?

It seems fairly obvious that they wanted attention. They wanted controversy. Just like they did with their Mom Enough cover last year. But at what cost?

That is the question every journalist ought to ask him or herself before running with a photo like this. Does this inform the public? Yes. But so would many other shots. Does this hurt someone? Well, let's see ... do they have permission from the parents? Are the parents injured? Do they know this photo was taken at all?

This child belongs to his mother and father, not the public. We do not need to see his grief or anguish or pain. But Time Magazine thinks we do.

I am all for information when it's important and it tells us something we need to know. But this? This is just gratuitous. It exploits for exploitation's sake. And it's pretty appalling.

Do you agree with running this photo?


Image via Marco Gomes/Flickr

boston marathon, terrorism


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nonmember avatar Shandeigh

The photo made me absoulty break down in tears as my son is also three. There's no reason to exploit that poor little boys pain to sell magazines.

Megan... MeganJune03

Everyone needs to do an internet search of Time Magazine covers for the OKC bombing (which was 18 years ago today).  There is a firefighter holding a baby, cradled in his arms and covered in blood. This (Bostons cover) is not the first time a child has been on the cover for something like this and it sadly will not be the last.

jena32 jena32

I agree with Megan.  I was just up the street from the Murrah Building when it happened.  Although it may not be right,  this latest photo on Time isn't the first or the last.

nonmember avatar Kristi

Good grief, it doesn't exploit the child. This photo screams out the emotions played out that day. Terror. Heroism. Shock. It rolls so many emotions up into it that it was a great choice to help sum up the God awful event. Does it sell magazines? Yeah, it will. But it also helps tell the story.

Mary Catherine Chartrand

What happened in Boston was real. People were scared hurting, terrified. A picture tells a thousand words.

Robcat21 Robcat21

I think the picture was horrible, and terrifying, and emotional- just like the the whole Boston bombing. I don't feel like the picture exploited the child. I feel like it helped tell the story and make it real for those of us lucky enough to have been safe at home. A picture is worth a thousand words...and I think Time got it right this time.

kassy129 kassy129

It's a photo.  It struck a chord, and that's a good thing.  I have a 3 year old son too, and all this photo  did was make me feel more.  I think it was a thought provoking photo, and there's really nothing wrong with it.  If the child had died, it would be in bad taste.  Calm down people!! 

Bloom... Bloomie79

It's a classic hero picture, it tells a very real story, and magazines need to sell it's a basic part of the business model. Nothing inappropriate that I see.

kisse... kisses5050

 Baily Almond was the little girl held by the fire fighter if I remember correctly... and if I do... that in itself is reason enough for covers like these...

nonmember avatar Zach

This photo makes me feel a whole range of emotions: sadness, rage, hope, etc. I don't think there's anything wrong at all with using this photo as a Time cover. It correctly conveys all of the emotions of the day.

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