It’s been a typical Thursday night in the newsroom; at 7 p.m., the editors were mostly silent, editing stories and laying out pages. The Diversions page had already finished and Opinion was in the final stages of layout when assistant opinion editor Maria Romas said, “Guys, I think tomorrow’s cartoon is too offensive.”
“What is it of?” I asked.
“It’s Jesus being shot in the head.”
What ensued was a newsroom-wide discussion about whether to run the admittedly controversial cartoon, which depicts what would happen if Jesus were resurrected today. The answer, according to cartoonist Ben Stryker, was that he would quickly be called a Zombie and shot in the head.
Ultimately, after heated debate over whether the cartoon crosses the line, the editorial board chose to pull it, especially considering it would have run on Good Friday. (Full disclosure: The Diamondback has gotten some heat in recent years for running cartoons deemed offensive).
The incident presented an interesting discussion on journalistic ethics; because it was running on the opinion page, we had every right to publish it. But because part of a journalist’s duty is to “do no harm,” we chose to pull it.
So, we’d like to know what our readers think. Did we make the right decision? Would you have let the First Amendment triumph and run the cartoon?
— Lauren Redding is a junior journalism major and editor in chief of The Diamondback