The New York Daily News is coming under fire after publishing a cover showing the murder of two television journalists in Virginia.
The pair — Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27 — were shot and killed during a live broadcast on WDJB-7 TV on Wednesday. Images of the graphic shooting quickly spread nationwide, and later, the alleged killer uploaded his own video of the attacks.
It was those images — from Vester Lee Flanagan, the alleged shooter who later took his life — that the New York Daily News picked for the paper’s cover image on Thursday. A series of photographs from a first-person perspective showed the gunman with his arm extended and a handgun pointed toward Parker. A second picture shows him firing a round, and the third shows a stunned Parker after being shot.
The New York Daily News sparked controversy even before the paper hit the press, tweeting an image of the graphic shooting on Wednesday evening.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) August 27, 2015
The backlash was almost immediate, including an angry tweet from Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffery.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) August 27, 2015
Others tried to remember the victims of the Virginia shooting in a more positive way. Several people shared pictures of Adam Ward and Alison Parker, who were close outside of their job.
— Angela Morabito (@Bear2theRight) August 27, 2015
The footage used by the New York Daily News itself was controversial. Flanagan reportedly waited until Parker went on the air to ambush her, filming the attack with his own camera.
He later bragged about it on Facebook and Twitter, but his accounts were soon suspended. His video found its way to the internet, but was taken down on several sites, including YouTube. Flanagan crashed his car while fleeing from police, then reportedly took his life as police closed in.
But as the Huffington Post noted, most media outlets decided against using Flanagan’s video of the Virginia shooting that the New York Daily News featured on its controversial cover. Many others even decided against showing the station’s own footage of the shooting, which included a shot of the alleged gunman walking forward as he fired at the pair.
[Image via WTOP]