It was just a five by seven photograph in the top corner of Page 3 in the Jan. 29 edition of The Temple News.
There was a fresh faced young woman dressed warmly to fight the cold on Market Street during a rally held by protesters in support of Palestinians.
There was another woman in the photo, a step ahead and a touch off-centered. She had short black hair, and held a sign in her hand.
Nic Lukehart, a photographer for The Temple News, caught the image clearly, with those black, painted letters on poster board: “Zionism = Racism.”
Many of our readers, particularly those in Temple’s Jewish community, took offense with our running of the photograph.
But, understand, there are thousands of years of dispute and conflict tucked explosively into a corner of the world so small that it has spread elsewhere. To the United States. To Philadelphia. To Temple. We’d be remiss to ignore that reality.
The sign didn’t then and doesn’t now reflect the perspective of The Temple News. We are, like all newspapers, a forum of discussion. It isn’t our responsibility to avoid controversy but to report the events and perspectives that happen around us.
When one of our reporters quote a source, those thoughts, of course, aren’t our own. We run commentary pieces on Page 5 of our weekly print edition and more online, all of which reflect the opinion of their individual authors.
Yet, we received a handful of letters from individuals and organizations criticizing our decision.
“I was outraged to see this oversight,” wrote senior market major Eugene Shevertalov. “Which to me represents the view held by TTN and its staff in regards to this political issue.”
Of course, it didn’t. We are a staff of more than 20 in addition to more than 100 contributing writers. We strive to host a news staff of different backgrounds, ethnicities and political perspectives.
Certainly it isn’t our intention to upset any of our readers, but in no way will we stop our practice of reporting on news that affects the broad Temple community, whether it is by what you read, hear or see.
If there is blame to be had, it is that the article that the photograph promoted online didn’t make it there immediately. The article, which covered the rally, is there now, but the delay unexpectedly hurt many of our valued readers. For that, we apologize.
Still, we stand by our decision to run the photograph. We stand by our coverage. Tell us what you think. The best part of this controversy was hearing from even more readers than we normally do.