I had a bit of an odd experience this week. Early Monday evening (about 7:00 p.m.) as I was putting together the photos for the next day's paper we heard that there had been a shooting at the Brian Coyle Center (a community center) not far from the West Bank area of campus. Another editor and I drove over to try to piece together what happened. Two men were shot (non-fatally) in an apparent drive-by and the remaining occupants were locked inside until the police finished investigating. The situation was a more than a little surreal for me, it was a year and a day to the date of one of the most memorable stories I've covered for the Daily. I had just started as an intern about two weeks before when around 1:00 a.m. I got several calls and texts from my then editors saying a student had been shot outside of one of the dorms across the river from mine. The two incidents were completely unrelated in almost every other way, but bore eerie similarities for me.
This week has been kind of a reminder how gritty life can be, with a spree of robberies around campus and ending with the apparent suicide of a University student who was being investigated for distribution of child pornography. That story led to a tense controversy about the Daily's online publication of a difficult but mesmerizing photo.
I understand why we pulled the photo [direct link] from the website, it had become a distraction from the real story at hand (at least in the online comments). Personally I think it presented how gritty and ugly our world can be, something important for those living in an environment so detached from that reality (like a college campus). Photojournalism has the power to convey beautiful images but also the responsibility to bear out truth, no matter how unpleasant.