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Was filter on photos of Seattle helicopter crash offensive?

Some twitter users questioned why the Seattle Fire Department published photos from a helicopter crash with a filter on social media. (Image courtesy Seattle Fire Department)

Taken from Wednesday’s edition of The Jason Rantz Show.

As news was breaking Tuesday over the KOMO TV helicopter crash, I was following the story in a way that is indicative of it being 2014. I had KIRO Radio streaming over my iPhone and I was scanning social media for the latest.

I was on Facebook. I was on Twitter. Twitter in particular has become such a great tool especially for media folks like me because we get instant access to politicians, to reporters, to anchors, to other talk show hosts and different accounts associated with Seattle PD, and other types of organizations. It really kept a lot of us up to date.

I follow the Seattle Fire Department’s twitter account and in this case, they were tweeting information as it was happening. It had photos posted at the scene of the accident. They were taken by the Public Information Officer who is basically the official in the organization that interfaces with various media outlets to make sure facts get out and to make sure any questions we have might get answered when it comes to something the department is covering.

After the events Tuesday, a blogger at Mediaite pointed out a few photos taken by Seattle Fire Department PIO Kyle Moore were published on social media with a filter. They had this tint to them. The similar type of tint you get when uploading photos with a filter on Snapchat or Instagram.

Some twitter users noted the use of filters on the photos in what was a pretty sensitive situation.

Moore told Mediaite he didn’t intentionally use the filter.

“I took the photos of the scene with my iPhone,” he told Mediaite. “During the chaos, I didn’t realize that the filter was on the pictures. The Seattle Police Communications Team alerted me to the filter issue and I changed it on the phone.

“I am going to be more conscious at emergency scenes to make sure the iPhone is in the proper filter setting.”

Does it matter that he used a filter?

He clearly felt he made a mistake and he thought it was bad. I totally accept that and we can move on and forgive him. But the bigger question remains whether or not this is offensive?

These PIOs, they’re not journalists, they’re PIOs. I don’t think photo journalists should be in the habit of putting up these filters, but these aren’t photographers.

So as long as we’re not sending the wrong message in these photographs, I tend to not have an issue with it.
If it’s an accurate representation of what happened other than the filter, I just don’t think it’s that bad.

I’ve yet to hear anyone tell me exactly why it’s egregious. I see on twitter that people are outraged, but no one is exactly telling me why they’re outraged.

Taken from Wednesday’s edition of The Jason Rantz Show.

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