Professional Journalism, Dead Bodies and West Boca News

Every once in a while we write an article that touches a nerve and we get angry criticism. Recently it was over the dead body found in Logger’s Run.
One of the criticisms that irritates the most is the accusation that it’s unprofessional to show the body or anything close to it. Of course we’re not professional journalists. We’re still learning and we will make mistakes. This wasn’t a mistake.
Two recent incidents show how major “professional” media handle similar situations. They don’t hesitate to show dead bodies.
The New York Times, which is often perceived as the elite of all news media, showed the video of Kevin Ward being killed by Tony Stewart’s car.

The video shows the collision and Ward’s body laying on the track afterward. We’ve seen this video countless times now on all major media including the network news, ESPN and more.
The other prominent incident was in Ferguson, Missouri. Various media showed the body of Michael Brown laying in the street after he was shot, such as Reason Magazine. The local Fox News affiliate there showed the body covered with a sheet, but with blood clearly visible.
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Update: In late 2014 the Associated Press ran the below image of a dead body floating after the Asian Airlines crash:
ap-dead-body


The Robin Williams suicide was also covered in great depth, with major media (including the LA Times) reporting how he did it. There have been other suicides over the past several months that we were notified of but did not report. We chose to report the one in Logger’s Run because it closed a road. The public had a right to know what caused the road closure.
While we disagree with the complaints, we did take the criticism seriously. The discussion led us to research the issue and in particular we carefully read guidelines for reporting on suicide from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
We will continue to use our own judgment in deciding what stories to report and what pictures and/or video to use. If we think there’s a concern, we will include a warning. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. We certainly welcome polite and constructive criticism. But stop telling us it’s unprofessional. If it tells the story more effectively, we will use it. That’s what professional news media do.

The West Boca Tornado – Photos

Update – A reader sent us a video of the tornado:


tornado-cain
Several readers sent us photos of yesterday’s tornado in West Boca. We’ve assembled the best of them here. The picture at top is taken from Cain Boulevard (runs west of 441 from Boca Chase down to Glades).
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It is our normal practice to keep readers anonymous when they submit tips or photos to us, unless they request credit or to be identified. None of them asked so for now they’re anonymous.
Here’s a shot from Mission Bay:
tornado-mission-bay
From South County Regional Park:
tornado-south-county
The image quality isn’t great, but this one was from near West Boca High looking over the Everglades:
tornado-west-boca-high
The next two had no location identified:
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From Saturnia Isles:
tornado-saturnia-isles
And here’s our favorite. We like it because the sign seems odd in the context of the tornado:
tornado-welcome
A couple readers sent us videos but we weren’t able to get them to work. Hopefully they’ll resend them to warren@westbocanews.com.

Flooding and Fire; But No Famine or Pestilence Yet

flooding
Via Palm Beach Fire Rescue we have a report of flooding in southern parts of the county (see above). However, we were just out in areas around 441 from Palmetto Park Road down into Coconut Creek and did not see any significant floods. There was some standing water in front of Logger’s Run Middle School and on Ponderosa by the gas station, but we’ve seen much worse at those locations. We did not see any other problems.
It may be worse as you go east. A reader sent us this shot from near Palmetto and Powerline:
palmetto-powerline
Also we saw a report of a garage fire:
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San Germain Avenue is north of Palmetto Park Road and west of Powerline, not too far from Del Prado Elementary School.

Mother & Son Arrested – Carousel Circle

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A reader reports that a mother and son were arrested earlier today in the Carousel Circle neighborhood. You can see the boy in handcuffs in the pictures above and below.
kid-cuffs
The Carousel Circle neighborhood is behind Shadowood and the Glades library.

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We do not have names for either arrestee and will probably not get a name for the child. We may be able to identify the adult later.