Hurricane Katrina Photo Part II

The individual who wrote the capture for the now infamous “finding” picture broke his silence today.

The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water – we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow.

looting, as defined by the dictionary is:

1. Valuables pillaged in time of war; spoils.
2. Stolen goods.
3. Informal. Goods illicitly obtained, as by bribery.

finding on the other hand, is defined in a way that makes it sound much more law abiding:

1. To come upon, often by accident; meet with.
2. To come upon or discover by searching or making an effort: found the leak in the pipe.

Taking property that isn’t yours without express consent, especially if it’s only feet away from a grocery store (which makes it obvious who the owner of the goods are) is still looting. Both definition 1 and 2 for looting 100% describe *both* pictures. The definition of “finding” doesn’t apply to either in the context of the caption. This is just like you can still be charged with armed robbery even if you don’t fire your weapon. Looting is looting. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin or what type protection the property owner had in place to protect their goods. You steal them in a circumstance like this (this really falls under time of war like anarchy)… it’s looting.

Yahoo Letter

Yahoo published the following in regard to this topic aknowledging it and explaining (although they didn’t write the captions, they just syndicate it):

To Yahoo! News readers:

News photos are an especially popular section of Yahoo! News. In part, this is because we present thousands of news photos from some of the leading news services, including The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Press. To make this volume of photos available in a timely manner, we present the photos and their captions as written, edited and distributed by the news services with no additional editing at Yahoo! News.

In recent days, a number of readers of Yahoo! News have commented on differences in the language in two Hurricane Katrina-related photo captions (from two news services). Since the controversy began, the supplier of one of the photos – AFP – has asked all its clients to remove the photo from their databases. Yahoo! News has complied with the AFP request.

Here are a few of the postings that have commented on the photo caption language:

Flickr

Salon

Romenesko

Gothamist

You can comment on the issue on this message board.

Yahoo! News regrets that these photos and captions, viewed together, may have suggested a racial bias on our part. We remain committed to bringing our readers the full collection of photos as transmitted by our wire service partners.

Neil Budde
General Manager
Yahoo! News

Update: added yahoo letter.