The Press: Shoot First

I rushed into the hospital and saw this woman crying. I knew it was a good picture, so I took it. Then I found out who she was, and why she was crying. You don't get the same kind of picture if you ask first.

That was how Joe Martin, Philadelphia Inquirer photographer—off duty at the time—got a picture of tragedy (see cut). All over the U.S. last week, editors made room for it, and readers paused to stare at Mrs. Vera Blackson, whose two children had just died in a fire.

Many who thus paused, like guilty intruders upon her grief, felt...

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