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EDITORIAL – Thoughts on a bad intersection and publishing accident photos

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE WAS A TERRIBLE COLLISION Friday at the intersection of Highway 5 north and the old Highway 5 that now serves as a back road to Heffley Creek.

Two people in an SUV were taken to hospital in critical condition.

I have two things to say about this accident. The first is that something has to be done about that intersection. Coming off the old highway and turning left, you have to gun it across the oncoming lanes to get into a merge on the other side. The sightlines are terrible.

I’ve done it many times and it’s enough to scare the crap out of anybody. The cheap solution is to close off the intersection; the expensive one is an overpass. Pick one.

The second thing I have to say is in response to those who have objected to the publication of photos of the accident.

I have a different view. There’s a long-standing policy — written or unwritten — among local media that they don’t publish photos showing the bodies of the victims of car crashes or other kinds of fatal incidents like fires or drownings, or of people in severe medical distress.

This is a good policy, based on sensitivity not only toward families and friends of victims, but to the public at large.

The practice doesn’t extend to the depiction of damaged vehicles or buildings. The media have a responsibility to report negative events as well as positive. They aren’t ghouls. They must do their jobs in a respectful way while including enough details to provide an accurate account.

Publishing photos of accident scenes but not of the victims is a compromise that isn’t made everywhere but it’s done here and I think it’s a good one.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6934 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Thoughts on a bad intersection and publishing accident photos

  1. Sean McGuinness // September 16, 2019 at 9:28 AM // Reply

    If people think it’s not important enough or too expensive to fix a dangerous intersection, then think about Humboldt.

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