Daily Telegraph takes heat for Virginia Tech article

Daily Telegraph logoThe Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia is taking heat from U.S. readers for publishing the photo of one of the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre and characterizing her as having “sparked” the killings.

The Telegraph published a note inside the online article in question, indicating the strong reaction to the piece. Firstly, let me commend the Telegraph for continuing the discussion openly online.

That aside, I found the tone of their article revolting. This line is particularly offensive: “THIS is the face of the girl who may have sparked the worst school shooting in US history.” [Bolded in original story.] Then, to make the matter worse, an editor at the Daily Telegraph then attempted to explain away the criticism as perhaps being “cultural confusion between the US and Australia.”

This is not the same situation as when a Daily Telegraph columnist derided a black athlete as being a “baboon.” Distateful as that column’s implications are, I just maybe, possibly might swallow that there is a difference in racial tensions and language between Australia and the United States.

This may have been a case of sloppy editing, or of not having enough sensitivity to an event because it happened in a faraway place. But plastering an innocent dead girl’s face on the Web and implying that she is somehow partially responsible for the massacre of more than 30 of her peers is no cultural confusion.

It is grossly irresponsible.

Author: Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is the Audience Development Manager at Tribune's Sun-Sentinel.com and OrlandoSentinel.com. Danny has been with Tribune since 2005 in a variety of editorial, digital and product development roles in Hartford, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He has also previously worked in the newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald.