PhillyVoice Defends Use of Virginia TV Shooting Images

Editor: "I think the anger is kind of misplaced here."

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The PhillyVoice.com website came under criticism Wednesday after it posted images from the shooting of two Virginia journalists earlier in the day.

The images included a screenshot of the gunman as seen from the cameraman’s fallen camera — and, more controversially, a screengrab of a video taken from the gunman’s point of view, in which he aims a pistol at the unaware journalists seconds before shooting and killing them.

The website took immediate criticism on social media after posting this Tweet:

The response was immediate:

On Wednesday afternoon, Voice executive editor Matt Romanoski defended using the screenshots — noting he had not approved using the full videos of the killing. The images, he said, were used “to show the level of nuttiness involved in this” killing.

He said the decision to use the images came after a discussion among editors.

“I’ve been in this business a long time. A photo is worth 1,000 words,” he said.

Romanoski said some critics seemed to believe PhillyVoice.com had used the actual videos instead of screen grabs. “I think the anger is kind of misplaced here, because people are lashing out at the situation,” he said.

But some critics asserted even the screenshots were too much.

Romanoski said he was comfortable with the decision.

“If we posted the video, we should’ve been ashamed of ourselves. I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of by posting that photo,” he said, and later added.”Clickbait would’ve been to run everything involved, to show everything. That wasn’t the case.”

PhillyVoice.com was launched earlier this year, started by former Philly.com honcho Lexie Norcross and features a number of journalists who migrated from that site.

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.