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Latest News

LA Times: Why we ran the photo of the Syrian toddler

Khai Le

As editors, we are constantly asked to make judgments about the photos we publish that document the mayhem in our troubled world: Beheadings of hostages, machete attacks on villagers, gunfire sprayed through a shopping mall, body cam video from police shootings — much of the time, we decide our readers don’t need to be shocked and sickened with the violence swirling around us. A story is enough.

Then came the image of the toddler lying face down on a beach in Turkey, drowned when the rubber boat that would have carried him to possible refuge in Europe capsized offshore. Our Middle East correspondent, Laura King, urged us to pay attention to it. She quickly filed a story with as much as she knew about what had happened to the family and described how the image had begun to rocket across social media.

Should we publish the photo?