Seattle P-I: Haiku Contest Was 'Bad Call' - But We're Still Not Publishing Photos! By Bill Hobbs | August 22, 2007 - 18:41 ET
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is apologizing for its decision to run a haiku contest about its decision to not run the photos of two men sought by the FBI for questioning related to possibly terrorist-related activities involving the Seattle-area ferry system
The paper's "online reporter" Monica Guzman writes on the paper's "Big Blog":
The paper's decision not to run photos of the two Seattle ferry passengers sought by the FBI didn't take long yesterday to become part of a widespread debate that provoked readers around the country.
It also spread throughout the blogosphere. While most blogs pointed directly to the debate, some made some poignant comments about the topic of yesterday's Daily Haiku contest, a topic that -- considering the sensitivity of the issue -- was probably not the best we could have come up with.
While the Big Blog mixes fun and news on a daily basis, in this case we undermined a serious issue and a serious debate, and made it seem as if we in the newsroom didn't acknowledge its importance.
So thanks to all the bloggers who pointed this out. We agree it was a bad call and will learn from the experience.
P.S. -- We're not going to pick a winner.
Seattle PI Continues to Refuse to Aid FBI in Terror Probe By Bill Hobbs | August 22, 2007 - 08:31 ET
The Seattle Times today has published the photos of two men the FBI wants to locate and talk to in regards to their suspicious behavior aboard several Puget Sound ferries in recent weeks, while the Seattle Post-Intelligencer continues to refuse to do so - even though the photos have now been widely published in the Seattle area and nationally via other media outlets and the blogosphere. As we discussed yesterday, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer offered a haiku contest related to the case , but refused to help the FBI locate the men by publishing their photos.
Today's Seattle P-I has a second story on the investigation, but again refuses to publish the photos even though, as its own story says, "The release by the FBI on Monday of photographs of two men who had been spotted in "suspicious" behavior on state ferries comes at a time when authorities are getting increased reports of unusual activity on the nation's largest ferry system."
The P-I elected not to publish the photos, citing civil liberties and privacy concerns, which editors felt outweighed the newsworthiness of the images. "We have no confirmation that these men's behavior was anything but innocuous, and to forever taint them by associating them with terrorism under these circumstances is not consistent with our policy," said David McCumber, P-I managing editor.
Ah, well, at least the paper's haiku contest is giving its readers a chance to vent about the situation, in the three-lines/5-7-5 syllables construction of a haiku. Six of the best so far:
Paper fails duty.
The Post Intelligencer
Our lives endangered
Editors -- BONEHEADS!
A magical place,
where 9/11 never
PI wants Haiku
To justify its dumbness