The tragic death of the man pushed onto subway tracks in Manhattan on Monday spawned a nationwide debate on journalistic ethics thanks to the New York Post’s decision to run a front-page photo of the victim, taken moments before his death.
While the Post drew criticism for its choice of cover image and headline (which read “Doomed: Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die”), plenty of people also questioned the actions of the freelance photographer who took the picture: Why didn’t he try to save the fallen man instead of documenting his demise?
The photographer in question, R. Umar Abbasi, recounted his version of events for today’s Post cover story, and later made an appearance on the Today show to defend his actions. “People think I had time to set the camera and take photos, and that isn’t the case. I just ran toward that train,” he wrote in the Post, explaining that he had been trying to use the camera’s flash to get the train conductor’s attention, not capture the moment. “The sad part is, there were people who were close to the victim, who watched and didn’t do anything. You can see it in the pictures.”
Post reps have not responded to Adweek's requests for comment.