Florida Student Newspaper Gets Flak For Racy Cover Photo
Posted by David Ozanich — 29 Mar 2011
The editors of the University of Northern Florida's student newspaper, the Spinnaker, have been catching some heat for publishing a racy photo as part of their cover story on the health risks of HPV and throat cancer. From the Florida Times-Union:
The article in Thursday's Spinnaker discussed recent findings that throat cancer is on the rise among people who contract the sexually transmitted disease HPV (human papillomavirus) through oral sex. But many readers thought the racy cover photo was distasteful and took away from the message of the story.
In the photograph, a fully clothed man is shown simulating oral sex on a woman sitting atop a stool and wearing only a red bra. Neither's face is shown.
The paper's editor, Josh Gore, defended the decision and said he felt the shock value was "minimal." Most of the complaints, Gore said, have been from UNF employees and people outside the university, not fellow students.
"We put this on the cover to show students that HPV is a real concern with oral sex," said Gore, who graduates in May. "I think this is a real important issue to touch on, and this is the way we decided to illustrate it."
I don't think it's so bad. I've seen much racier photos on the covers of magazines and newspapers (though I admittedly live in New York City where folks are a bit more desensitized to graphic imagery). And if it draws attention to a serious issue, what's the problem? Photography, at its best, should provoke a strong reaction. That's why newspapers publish photos, not just text. What do you think?